World Champion Chuckwagon Driver
Central Alberta Chuckwagon Champion 1976
14 Chuckwagon Racing Wins
in Wetaskiwin, Garry Dorchester was the eldest son of the legendary Tom
Dorchester and grew up traveling the professional chuckwagon circuit
with his parents and siblings. During his relatively short thirteen
year career as a chuckwagon driver from 1966 to 1979, Garry won fourteen
races, a Central Alberta Chuckwagon Championship, a World Chuckwagon
Championship and placed inside the top ten in the world standings nine
times, a pretty impressive record.
As a teenager and in his
early twenty's Garry worked in lumber camps and on oil rigs in the
winter but still spent his summers traveling the chuckwagon circuit with
his parents, helping his dad and competing as a pony wagon driver.
Garry didn’t really show too much interest in driving a chuckwagon. That
changed in 1964 when his father was hurt while racing during a stop in
Ontario. Garry filled in and caught the bug for driving. At age
twenty-three, it was a late start for a driver but with his father’s
outfit Garry won three Ontario stops. Garry started driving his own
chuckwagon outfit in 1966 and had a respectable rookie year finishing
the season in eighth place in the world standings. In his second
season, Garry won two races, was runner-up at the Calgary Stampede and
finished the year in third place in the world standings.
Filling in for his Father, Garry Catches the Bug
for Driving a Chuckwagon and Wins Three Races
1968, Garry’s third year
on the circuit, was a banner year as Garry won both the Calgary Stampede
and the World Chuckwagon Championship. The 1968 Calgary Stampede was
special for the Dorchester family as it was the first time that four
Dorchesters would compete at the Rangeland Derby in the same year.
Garry joined his father, Tom, and brothers, Dennis and Dallas, in the
event and although Garry was the last of the four Dorchester's to make
their first start at the Stampede, he was the first Dorchester to win
the coveted championship.
Dorchester Hall of Famers Garry, his Father Tom, Brother
Dallas - Calgary 1965
First Dorchester to Win the Rangeland Derby
During his career, Garry
won Championships in Rimbey (1967, 1973), Handhills (1967), Calgary
(1968), Armstrong (1969), Cloverdale (1971, 1972), Winfield (1971),
Chilliwack (1972), Stettler (1974), Wainright (1974), Coronation (1976)
and Sundre (1979). In 1976, Garry won the “Belvedere Award” for being
the highest point driver for the 1st half of the season receiving a
Corny Martens bronze. Following his victory in the Calgary Stampede in
1968, Garry made ten more appearances at the Rangeland Derby placing in
the Top 10 Overall five times and winning the consolation race in 1974.
Inducted Into Stampede's "Pioneers of Rodeo"
In 1998 Garry was honored
by the World Professional Chuckwagon Association with their ”Special
Tribute Award” and in July 2011, he was inducted into the Calgary
Stampede’s “Pioneers of Rodeo”, reinforcing that he is indeed a living
legend in his sport.
During the winter months
Garry was active with the Lakedell Agricultural Society and was a avid
curler. Garry retired from chuckwagon competition in 1979 and took a
fifteen year absence from the sport. When Garry’s son Troy began
driving on the pro chuckwagon circuit in 1993, Garry and his wife Dauna
became the support crew for Troy’s outfit. The two continue to brighten
the chuckwagon area with their sense of humor, good nature, smiles and
support. Garry also helps Troy with spring training and breaking new
Throughout his chuckwagon
career, Garry competed with a sense of skill, energy, emotion, courage
and commitment. His record, achievements and awards in the sport of
chuckwagon are indeed worthy of his induction into the Wetaskiwin and
County Sports Hall of Fame.