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Driver fined $10K, disqualified after 3rd horse in Calgary Stampede chuckwagon races dies

chad harden

Chad Harden, 2009 Rangeland Derby champion, has been disqualified from the Calgary Stampede after the death this week of a horse, meaning he won’t be invited back to compete again. (CBC Sports)

A driver has been fined $10,000 and disqualified from the rest of the Calgary Stampede after a horse died in yesterday’s Rangeland Derby, the third death involving horses competing in the chuckwagon races. 

The fine follows an independent chuckwagon safety commission review of the incident involving driver Chad Harden, in Heat 7 of the race, where Evan Salmond’s lead horse hit the guard rail and stumbled to the ground at Stampede Park.

Stampede management said in a statement that Harden, of Thorsby, south of Edmonton, got his wagon in the way of another driver, causing the third wagon that belonged to Salmond, whose hometown is Hudson Bay, Sask., to hit the rail.

“The Calgary Stampede has a zero tolerance policy for preventable accidents and injuries, and the care and safety of the animals that participate in our events is our highest priority,” the organization said in a statement.

Video of the incident appears to show a chuckwagon team colliding with Salmond’s team, causing the crash.

Graphic warning: this video may be distrubing to some viewers.

Warning: This video contains scenes some may find difficult to watch. A driver was fined and disqualified from the rest of the Calgary Stampede after a horse died in a chuckwagon race Thursday. 1:36

Salmond was not injured. His other three horses sustained minor injuries.

A disqualification from the remainder of the Calgary Stampede means Harden won’t be invited back to compete.

Harden is a third-generation, veteran chuckwagon racer and 2009 Rangeland Derby champion. At the 2012 Calgary Stampede, he lost three horses when his wagon tumbled. At the time, he called their deaths devastating, and said the animals were part of his family.

In the other two incidents involving horses that died after competing in this year’s Rangeland Derby:

“With the death of two horses on previous nights of racing, this has been a difficult time for us and the greater chuckwagon community,” the Stampede said in the statement. “Seeing injuries, despite the best and safest conditions possible, is hard. Knowing an injury was avoidable is much harder.”

The Stampede’s roots can be traced to 1886, when the Calgary and District Agricultural Society held its first fair.

The 2019 Stampede began July 5 and runs till Sunday.

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