Luke Tournier pushes out of the opening barrels in a heat in the chuckwagon derby at Calgary Stampede. LYLE ASPINALL QMI AGENCY
Luke Tournier is in the driver’s seat.
Figuratively and literally.
Tournier, after winning last weekend’s Bonnyville Chuckwagon Championship for the second straight year, is sitting atop the WPCA world standings.
If he’s still perched there in three weeks, he’ll have added his first world championship buckle to his already-stuffed trophy case.
“I guess it’s another notch in your belt,” Tournier said. “It doesn’t pay as good as the Stampede.”
And the Duck Lake, Sask., driver should know.
He won a pair of Rangeland Derby crowns in 2005 and ’07, cementing his status as one of the best barrel-turners in the history of the sport.
His current outfit isn’t quite on the same level as the all-star hook that dominated the Stampede a decade ago.
“It’s a nice outfit, but we’ve been staying clean,” Tournier said. “They’re good but maybe not quite as explosive.
“They run and they turn so they have a little bit of both.
“That Four Barrel outfit pops off there once in awhile. I think we had second day money (in Bonnyville) off four, so that helped.”
After finishing in fifth spot on Semifinal Saturday – missing out on a spot in the dash by .46 of a second – at the Stampede a couple of weeks ago, Tournier has turned his attention to the world circuit.
He brings a 45-point lead over Vern Nolin into this weekend’s Strathmore Heritage Day Stampede (Friday-Sunday at 7 p.m., and Monday at 1 p.m.).
Son-in-law Logan Gorst sits 80 points back in third spot.
Tournier has never topped the world charts since jumping from the CPCA in 2003, finishing fourth twice (2004, ’10) and inside the top-10 on 11 occasions.
The 53-year-old has also managed to mix in a few new horses along the way, replenishing his barn depth.
“I used a horse on right lead, for the first time in his life, on the third night (of the season),” Tournier said. “The left wheelers are both brand new horses.
“So we worked a few new ones in. We have a mix of both.”
Tournier (Bumper to Bumper) will kick off the Strathmore show on Barrel 1 on Friday night as he looks to lock up his second Heritage Day Stampede crown (2008).
And that first elusive world title.