Luke Tournier earns his first chuckwagon world championship

Luke Tournier pushes out of the opening barrels in a heat in the chuckwagon derby at Calgary Stampede. LYLE ASPINALL QMI AGENCY

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Like any good coach, Luke Tournier relied on his all-stars.

They delivered.

And they carried the Duck Lake, Sask., driver to his first world championship.

Tournier wrapped up the title Sunday in Rocky Mountain House, finishing with 1,282 points, which was 104.5 ahead of second-place Gary Gorst.

The 53-year-old said he started to pay attention to the world race about a month ago.

“Maybe around Strathmore, I started thinking maybe I should focus on this,” Tournier said. “I always want to win everything, but I never focused on trying to win the year-end.

“I would always focus on the next show coming up. And once I had enough points gathered (to qualify) for Calgary, I would start driving new horses.

“But I shortened the bench and only drove horses that I knew were good and would work. That’s why we were so consistent.”

The two-time Rangeland Derby champion’s previous best finish was in 2007 when he was third, but he’s been inside the top 10 in 13 of his 14 seasons on the WPCA circuit.

Tournier had son Quaid and Chance Flad as his outriding crew for almost the entire season.

Flad won his third consecutive world outriding crown with Rory Gervais finishing second.

“The outriders did a great job,” Tournier said. “Full marks to them.”

Tournier won tour stops in Bonnyville and Dawson Creek, B.C., on his way to the world title.

Meanwhile, Chad Harden (Ja-Co Welding & Consulting Ltd.) laid down a day-money run of 1:15.75, which moved him to the top of the aggregate standings and giving him the Battle of the Rockies title.

Harden had outriders Cole Somerville, who picked up his first-career WPCA show title, and Kale Lajeunesse chasing his wagon.


Luke Tournier Wins First World Chuckwagon Championship, Chad Harden Claims The Battle Of The Rockies

Left: WPCA GM Tom Barrow (L) Presents 2016 World Champion Chuckwagon Driver Luke Tournier (R) With A New GMC Truck Courtesy Of Summit Fleet.

Right: 2016 Battle Of The Rockies Champions
Ja-Co Welding & Consulting Ltd. / Spartan Controls Outfit

(L-R): Outrider Cole Somerville, Driver Chad Harden, Outrider Kale Lajeunesse
Photos By Ed Wittchen

There was a lot on the line on day 4 of the Battle of the Rockies in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta. Two world champions would be declared, as well as the 2016 Battle of the Rockies Championship would all be determined in a pressure packed Sunday afternoon in Rocky Mountain House.

Luke Tournier won his first career World Chuckwagon Championship by 104.5 points over Gary Gorst. Defending World Champion Kurt Bensmiller was third, Codey McCurrach was fourth and John Walters placed fifth. Chance Flad captured his third career and third consecutive World Outriding title as well.

In the chase for the season ending Battle of the Rockies championship, a day money run gave Chad Harden, driving the Ja-Co Welding & Consulting Ltd. outfit, and outriders Cole Somerville and Kale Lajeunesse, the run they needed to emerge as champions of the 2016 Battle of the Rockies. It’s the first show win for the former Calgary Stampede Champion since taking the Bonnyville Chuckwagon Championship in 2010, and the first career show win for outrider Cole Somerville.

Harden captured the 2016 Battle of the Rockies after posting the best 4-day aggregate time of 5:04.28. That put him exactly a one-half second in front of runner-up Gary Gorst, followed closely by newly crowned World Champion Chuckwagon Drier Luke Tournier. Cody Ridsdale and Jordie Fike split fourth and fifth overall in the season ending event.

On the day, Chad Harden was tops with a 1:15.75, from barrel number 2 in the seventh heat. Kelly Sutherland was second, with Kirk Sutherland, Gary Gorst and Jordie Fike rounding out the top five on the afternoon

Equine outfit of Excellence winners included “CUJO” of Colt Cosgrave’s outfit on Right Lead, “GUAGE” of Doug Irvine’s outfit on Left Lead, “TOMMY” of Gary Gorst’s outfit on Right Wheel, “DORCHY” of John Walter’s outfit on Left Wheel, and “WINO” of Codey McCurrach’s outfit and “BROCK” of Luke Tournier’s outfit were the champion Outriding Horses.

Congratulations to the 2016 World Champions, driver Luke Tournier and outrider Chance Flad, and many thanks to all the corporate partners, broadcast partners, support staff and chuckwagon fans all along the 2016 WPCA Pro Tour. Enjoy a safe and prosperous off-season, and we will see you all in 2017.

Billy Melville