When Kevin Gareau is competing in a chuckwagon or chariot race, his mind is dominated by two simple words: “Go fast.”
© Herald photo by Matt Gardner
Prince Albert Professional Chuckwagon & Chariot Association president Kevin Gareau stands by his chuckwagon just before Sunday’s championship race.
The president of the Prince Albert Professional Chuckwagon and Chariot Association (PAPCCA) took some time out of preparing for the organization’s championship race on Labour Day weekend to shed some light on his love of the game.
“You have to enjoy everything about the sport,” Gareau said. “It isn’t something that you can just pick out your favourite things here and there. It’s the whole combination. Of course the horses are … the main thing. It’s the love of horses, I guess, that draws everybody to this sport. You have to enjoy the training them, the feeding them, the whole aspect.”
Racing is in Gareau’s blood. He first got involved with the sport because his father was a chuckwagon driver. Though a fun pastime for his family, he understands the need to maintain attention at all times.
“You always have to be alert and awake and focused on what you’re doing, because if you lose focus it’s like anything else. (If) you’re not doing what you’re supposed to be doing, the potential for mishap is always there.”
Gareau races both chariots and chuckwagons, but has a preference for the latter.
You have to enjoy everything about the sport. Kevin Gareau
“It’s just more going on,” he said. “It’s a different type of control. You’ve got the four horses instead of the two and making the combinations to make them work is always tricky too. So it’s just … more challenging, I guess.”
At the time of writing, Gareau was sitting in second place among his fellow racers at the championship. Ranking is based on a point total: For every race a driver competes in, they accumulate points based on their performance.
The wife and daughter of Gareau’s predecessor Arsene Pilon, co-founder and first president of the PAPCCA, were on hand Sunday to present a trophy to the championship winner.
As the racing season winds to a close, the PAPCCA will close out the year with an awards night, dance and banquet on Oct. 27. Looking back, Gareau conveyed the their gratitude to the community.
“A great big thanks out to everybody who supported us: The association throughout the year, the Exhibition board in Prince Albert, as well as the ones out where the schedule takes us.”