Another Sutherland hits Stampede track

Chuckwagons: Dayton Sutherland makes his out-riding debut in Calgary

By: Bruce Campbell

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jul 16, 2014 11:08 am

Sixteen-year-old Dayton Sutherland gets out of the infield in his inaugural trip as an outrider at the Calgary Stampede on July 13. He was penalty-free.
Sixteen-year-old Dayton Sutherland gets out of the infield in his inaugural trip as an outrider at the Calgary Stampede on July 13. He was penalty-free.
Jordan Verlage/OWW

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At an age when most youths are learning how to parallel park, an Okotokian made his debut at the biggest stage in the chuckwagon circuit.

Sixteen-year-old Dayton Sutherland out-rode for his father Mark at the Calgary Stampede on Sunday.

“Even though I kept telling myself: ‘It’s just another race,’ but there were a lot more people watching and yeah, I was nervous,” said Dayton.

In front of 20,000 yahooing fans, Dayton had to throw ‘the stove’ – a small orange barrel — into his dad’s wagon, hop on his horse, turn the barrels and then gallop pall mall so he was within the required 150 feet of dad as he crossed the finish line.

When the horn blew, Dayton jumped into action.

“I’m thinking: ‘load that stove because the outfit is taking off,’” he said with a chuckle. “My horse kind of threw his head up a bit. I was able to wave my hand in front of his face to make him shy away from the barrel.”

Dayton was a bit behind coming out of the infield but was able to catch up to dad’s wagon.

Mark won the heat and was penalty-free. Dad had no qualms about his Stampede rookie outrider.

“I wasn’t worried at all — Dayton has rode for me for two years,” Mark said. “He has lots of confidence. When the outfit started, he threw in the stove and rode well.”

The veteran driver didn’t worry about his son being within the required distance.

“I didn’t even look back,” he said with a laugh. “I know he is good.”

Mark knows about the pressure for riding in a chuckwagon family. He was an outrider for his father, 12-time Stampede chuckwagon champion Kelly Sutherland.

Dayton is in his second-year of out-riding. Last year, he had about 30 trips, including chasing the wagon of grandpa Kelly during his winning of the Strathmore Heritage Days races.

While it was Dayton’s first Stampede race on Sunday, it wasn’t his first trek around the track.

Dayton was an outrider for the demonstration trip for the first few nights of the Stampede — when there is only one wagon on the track — before heading up to ride at an event in Lloydminster.

When he got back to Calgary on Saturday, things were in place for his Stampede debut that next day.

“I figured dad wasn’t in the dash and they aren’t running for points, so I asked him if I could ride,” said Dayton, who is going into Grade 11 at Foothills Composite in the fall.

Mark’s usual outrider, veteran Casey Knight, gave up his spot so Dayton could ride in Calgary.

“He was great,” Dayton said of Knight. “He realizes the new guy has to get in — he was new once too.”

Dayton’s mom Dina Sutherland’s watched with excitement from the second turn when Dayton made his inaugural Stampede run. She was proud, not anxious.

“It’s exciting,” Dina said. “I get choked up. Things have fallen together (for him) this year. I have no doubt that he will be one of the best outriders on the grounds someday.”

However, her fear factor might go up a notch in the future.

“Once he starts driving my worry factor might go up a level,” she said with a smile.

“No, I am not nervous. He is like Mark. He is a thinker and has the ability to slow things down and not get carried away.”

Dayton is hoping to get a trip or two when the wagons roll into High River July 17-20 for the Guy Weadick Races.


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