Vern Nolin Moves Back Into First Place After A Day Money Run On Night 4 Of The GMC Rangeland Derby

Vern Nolin - Back In First Place After Night 4 In Calgary
Photo By Carol Easton

It was a rainy night in Calgary as night 4 of the Calgary Stampede GMC Rangeland Derby ran on Monday night. In what has already been an exciting show, Vern Nolin took his second day money in 4 days and now regains the lead in the overall aggregate standings.

From barrel number 4 in the 9th heat, Nolin, driving the Denton’s Canada LLP Outfit posted a time of 1:13.43 and was the top wagon on the night by 28 one-hundredths of a second over Mitch Sutherland. Jason Glass placed 3rd, while Rick Fraser, who had some misfortune on night 3 came back to grab 4th place on the night even with a one second penalty. Evan Salmond completed the top five on the night.

With a four-day total of 4:57.84, Vern Nolin regains top spot in the overall aggregate standings, 55 one-hundredths of a second in front of 2013 GMC Rangeland Derby Champion Jason Glass. Day 3 overall leader Gary Gorst drops down into third, Kirk Sutherland sits fourth with defending champion Kurt Bensmiller in fifth place overall. Mitch Sutherland, Darcy Flad, and Luke Tournier make up the top eight after night 4, with Evan Salmond and John Walters right behind in 9th and 10th respectively.

The Richard Cosgrave Memorial Trophy, symbolic of the Calgary Stampede aggregate winner will be declared after 8 nights on Friday, July 15, and the top 8 in the aggregate on that day will go into “Semi Final Saturday.” The top 4 times from the two semi-final heats on semi on Saturday on July 16 will go into the winner-take-all championship final heat. The winner of the final heat will be declared the 2016 Calgary Stampede GMC Rangeland Derby Champion.

Live coverage of day 5 of the 2016 GMC Rangeland Derby can be heard starting at 7:30 on Tuesday, July 12, 2016 on Rural Radio on SiriusXM Channel 147, Country 99 at 99.7 FM out of Bonnyville, and AM 700 The Light out of Calgary. Television coverage can be seen on SHAW TV starting at 11:00, and live on CBC and Sportsnet One all ten nights starting at 8:00pm.

Billy Melville


Mud-loving chucks team pulls Nolin rig to top of Rangeland Derby standings

More from Scott Fisher

CALGARY, AB -- Vern Nolin easily takes the win of heat nine on day four of Calgary Stampede's GMC Rangeland Derby, on July 12, 2016. -- (Crystal Schick/Postmedia)

Whoever is in charge of the laundry probably wasn’t a big fan of Monday’s rainfall.

But Vern Nolin’s horses had all kinds of fun sprinting through the mud and pulling the Dewberry driver to his second day-money run of the week.

Nolin zipped around Barrel 4 and then sloshed his Dentons Canada LLP rig around the water-logged Half Mile of Hell in 1:13.43.

“They run well in the mud,” Nolin said. “I think maybe it has a lot to do with the way we train.

“I like lots of muscle pulling my wagon.

“Sometimes it doesn’t show on a harder track, but they’re strong and they can pull through the mud.”

Most drivers would prefer a nice, dry track to work on but Nolin said he’s OK with the odd wet trip.

“I don’t mind it at all,” the 43-year-old said.

“It’s something we have to deal with and you get better with experience.”

Nolin’s big run carried him to the top of the Rangeland Derby standings at the halfway point of the qualifying process.

He’s posted the fastest time of the night off Barrels 1 and 4 this week, showing great depth in his barn.

“That’s a young wheel team,” Nolin said of his short-barrel outfit. “I just put them together.

“They’re basically first-year horses.

“They’re big and strong and I won Saskatoon with them this year.”

Nolin leapfrogged Gary Gorst (Burnet, Duckworth and Palmer) and brother-in-law and two-time defending Calgary Stampede champion Kurt Bensmiller (Tsuu t’ina Nation) to get to the top rung.

If he holds onto that lofty perch for another four nights, he’ll drive off the stage in a new GMC truck as the Richard Cosgrave Memorial Trophy winner as the aggregate champ.


Mitch Sutherland (Manteo Group of Companies Ltd.) was second on the night, stopping the clock in 1:13.71, followed by High River’s Jason Glass (Birchcliff Energy) at 1:13.75. Tough-luck driver Rick Fraser (Mavericks Chuckwagon Team) overcame a nerve-wracking spill the previous night to post the fourth-fastest time with a 1:13.77. That would have been a day-money run if not for a one-second penalty for starting ahead of the barrel. Evan Salmond (Schneider Electric; 1:13.78) rounded out the top five.


Troy Dorchester (Cystic Fibrosis Canada/CARSTAR), as usual, has another hard-finishing outfit.

The 2012 Rangeland Derby champion has opened it up in the fourth turn the last few nights.

He thundered down the stretch on Monday night to nip front-runner Doug Irvine (B&R Eckels Transport Ltd.) by .12 of a second at the wire.


Most of the drivers will have new dance partners beginning Tuesday night.

A re-draw, based solely on running times, was hald after four nights of racing.

The new quartets will compete until Friday night when the aggregate competition wraps up in prior to Semifinal Saturday.


Catch all the action on Sportsnet One, Shaw TV and on radio at AM700 The Light and 147 RURAL Radio on satellite (WPCA crew) and AM910 (CPCA crew).