Injured Stampede chuckwagon driver says 'it's part of the job', vowing to saddle up in 3 to 6 weeks
A chuckwagon driver is in good spirits but still in hospital after breaking his clavicle at the Calgary Stampede during the GMC Rangeland Derby on Tuesday night.
Obrey Motowylo was run over by his own rig when it tipped and he fell out, just as the race got going.
He required medical attention and was taken off the track by ambulance. Hospital officials in conjunction with the Calgary Stampede say Motowylo is also being tested for possible back injuries.
The accident happened during the eighth of nine heats, when the veteran chuckwagon driver was leading the race and rounded a corner, Stampede spokesperson Kristina Barnes said Wednesday. A video of the race shows the fall.
"With three other wagons coming around and a lot of people not knowing about that fourth wagon being stopped, I guess the initial reaction was to make sure the person on the ground was safe and then get that wagon stopped," she said.
Outriders, one of whom was Motowylo's own son, were able to stop the horses. Other drivers offered to calm down and water the horses, Barnes said. The Stampede is looking into whether the horse reins got caught up in the wheels.
Officials moved the veteran driver off the track as he would have been in the path of the other three rigs as they raced toward the finish line about a minute later.
Motowylo is a father of two who runs a farm and a ranch northwest of Red Deer. A chuckwagon veteran, he now in his 15th season of racing. In last year's Calgary Stampede championships, he placed second overall.
Another chuckwagon racer, Codey McCurrach, was set to drive Motowylo's wagon in his stead on Wednesday. Motowylo received no time for the missed race on Tuesday.
Barnes said the chuckwagon drivers are a close-knit group, with strong relationships with each other. Since Motowylo's injury, she said they've been stepping up to help.
"There's always an element of danger but this kind of thing is very, very uncommon. The drivers, they never want something like that to happen, especially for themselves but for their animals," Barnes said.
"So they're always driving as safely as they possibly can but occasionally these things happen. It's very, very rare, though."
Barnes said the Stampede has medical teams, veterinarians and security personnel onsite in case of any emergencies.
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With files from Nelly Alberola.