BY ZACHARY CORMIER
Lacombe’s Jack Stott has been around the world of pony chuckwagon racing for a long time.
Now in his 47th year on the circuit, the patriarch of the storied Stott racing team has seen his fair share of wins and losses behind the reins.
“The season hasn’t been that great this year. Not as good as last year, anyways,” said Stott of the 2016 season so far. Normally in the top 10 on the Alberta Professional Chuckwagon and Chariot Association (APCCA) at this time of the year, the Lacombe resident currently sits in 30th place with 194 points.
Stott’s struggles continued last week when he took part in the prestigious Red Deer Motors North American Pony Chuckwagon Championships at Westerner Days.
“Red Deer wasn’t that great of a show for me this year. We’re starting out some new horses. I had one horse that wouldn’t work properly up there that should have,” said Stott of the show.
Still the season hasn’t been a total loss for the 65-year-old, who posted his first win of the season in TeePee Creek a couple of weeks ago.
“It’s just a re-training program more than anything,” Stott remarked about his current team of horses, who he broke and raised himself.
Despite the difficult road he’s faced so far this year, Stott is still having fun doing what he loves to do, driving chucks.
“When you get everything hooked up and get out there then you get your adrenaline rush and then everything’s good,” he said, adding that having the ability to race and travel with his family is also pretty special.
“My kids drive wagons, too and then I’ve got my grandkids driving mini wagons. That pretty well keeps me going now, trying to help them out,” remarked Stott, who has two daughters, one son and a son-in-law, who race pony chucks professionally. He also has several grandchildren participating in the mini chuck races.
“It’s been a good thing for the kids because none of them have been in trouble yet, touch wood,” he laughed.
Stott was introduced to racing by his father at a young age.
“Back 47 years ago my dad used to drive the Klondike Stage Coach in Edmonton. He drove that for about 10 or 12 years. And then him and some buddies of his used to drive chariots at the spring rodeo,” he recalled of those early days.
The chariots themselves weren’t anything fancy, just made out of a half a steel barrel with 14-inch tire wheels, but they were still fun to drive, he said.
“That’s how that got started and that’s pretty much how I got started.”
Now Stott gets to share that experience with his own family, something he said is pretty special.
“There’s lots of families out there and the kids all gather and they have fun.”
The Stott family extends well beyond the race track, too. In all, the patriarch and his wife, Tidge, raised 10 kids.
“That’s a good question,” laughed Stott when asked how he balanced life on the chuckwagon circuit with raising his family.
In the early days, he said, the family travelled together, although half of the kids were more of the city type.
“My first wife was killed in a car accident and we had five kids. Then I married another lady, a woman who had five. Her kids were more the city type, they didn’t really get involved with the horse thing with us. But when they were young they all travelled with us. The other ones, well like I say they were born doing it,” he recalled.
Now all of the family that still race chucks travel together, hauling their 22 head of horses all across the province to compete in the sport they love.
“We’ve got two liners that we haul the horses and the wagons on. Then we’ve got two holiday trailers,” Stott said, adding that amounts to a lot of quality family time on the road.
“We run probably up to 45 days a year and we’re together about that many days.”
When he’s not on the road, Stott enjoys filling his spare time building chuckwagons.
“I built all of our chuckwagons. I’ve<span clas