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In 1st event after 6 horses died, Stampede chuckwagons return with new safety measures | CBC News

In 1st event after 6 horses died, Stampede chuckwagons return with new safety measures | CBC News

Chuckwagon races are well underway at the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth,” and organizers say they’ve implemented new measures intended to boost the safety of the event.

Calgary Stampede spokesperson Kristina Barnes said the most obvious change will be on the track in the number of wagons. 

In previous years, four wagons would compete in each heat — that’s been decreased to three wagons this year.

“That’s the one thing people will notice as they’re watching from the stands and on television,” Barnes said.

Custom-built delineator arms have also been added to the track to create a buffer between the wagons and the rails.

“In the past, people would’ve seen some pylons out on the track. So we’ve replaced those with these arms that slide out for the races,” Barnes said.

“If there is contact between them and a wagon, they are made to swing back and break on the side of the rail. So not a trip hazard, but just to create that extra space on the track.”

Ferrier Nolan Cameron shoes a chuckwagon horse in the barns at the Calgary Stampede in 2019. The Stampede has introduced new measures it says will promote safety in its chuckwagon races. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

The Rangeland Derby chuckwagon races return to this year’s Stampede after missing the past two years — in 2020, after the entire Stampede was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and in 2021, as organizers cited safety issues.

The chuckwagons have long been controversial among animal rights groups in Canada and the United States.

In 2019, the last time the derby was held, six horses died. That matched the second deadliest toll in the Stampede’s history.

The return of the event led some animal rights groups to push back.

Stampede spokesperson Kristina Barnes stands next to new custom-built delineator arms, intended to create a safety zone on the track. (Marc-Antoine Leblanc/Radio-Canada)

When Kevin Costner was announced as parade marshal for this year’s Stampede, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, called on him to step away, citing the event’s history that reportedly includes the deaths of more than 70 horses over the years. 

“Reducing a few of the dangerous aspects of the race is like cutting only one ear off a dog instead of two. It’s better than nothing but not good enough,” PETA said in an emailed statement on Tuesday. 

“The only way to stop horses from being hurt and from dying is to stop using them, and PETA joins every animal protection organization under the sun, and kind people across Canada, who want these reckless, barbaric races simply to end.”

The Stampede has repeatedly said the safety of animals and people is its No. 1 priority.

“As always, we welcome PETA for a direct discussion regarding our animal care practices,” it previously told CBC News in an email.

Drivers happy to be back

Kris Molle, a professional chuckwagon driver, said he’s excited to be back at the Calgary Stampede, even despite the changes.

“It’s definitely more exciting with four wagons, but it’s definitely going to be more room on the track to manoeuvre,” Molle said. “For safety reasons is the reason why they did it. So try it this year is all we can do.”

Molle said that in his view, chuckwagon races are no different than any sport when it comes to safety.

“You have your incidents. We have to take the precautions necessary to continue to improve to get better and safer. That’s with any sport,” he said.

Professional chuckwagon driver Kris Molle says he expects the Rangeland Derby will still be a good show even with recent changes intended to increase the safety of the event. (Marc-Antoine Leblanc/Radio-Canada)

The Stampede said it is undertaking an effort to do enhanced veterinary inspections, and pointed to ongoing studies at the University of Calgary focused on chuckwagon races.

Researchers at the university are trying to find ways to reduce the chance of horse injuries by studying track conditions and how they impact the hooves and bones of horses while galloping at full speed. Sensors were placed on horses’ hooves, cannon bones and radiuses using saddles fitted with devices to measure data.

Dr. Renaud Léguillette, a veterinary medicine professor at the university, told CBC’s The Homestretch that harder dirt is tougher on bones and joints while softer tracks are harder on tendons and ligaments.

Calgary’s weather changes on a frequent basis, Léguillette said, and that will change conditions. 

“I’m really confident that even by next year they will probably do some changes and at least monitor, you know, the hardness of the track and apply some changes on the track as needed,” Léguillette said.

The races this year are scheduled to take place over nine heats per night. Twenty-seven drivers are competing for prize money, along with their 162 horses.

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LOTR: The 9 Most Important Events Of The 1st Age

title split image First Age important events

The Lord of The Rings is a conclusion of a story that started a long time ago, before there even were any rings. The events of the Peter Jackson movie adaptations take place during the Third Age of Middle-earth, but what made that possible began eons ago during the time of the First Age.

Related: LOTR: Games That Explore Lore Untouched By The Movies

The First Age was the genesis of the realm of Arda, of which Middle-earth is one part. This was a time when there were only stars and moonlight, and the world was lit by the Two Trees and then by the Moon and Sun. During the First Age, the years were counted using YT, for Years of the Trees, and then using YS, which means Years of the Sun.

9 The Elves Awaken – YT 1050

Also known as the Firstborn, the Elves were one of two races first created by the most powerful of the supreme beings, Eru Ilúvatar. They awoke in a place called Cuiviénen, near a lake in the far eastern part of Middle-earth, and the Valar didn’t discover them for some time.

Unfortunately, Melkor found them first, and used malevolent spirits and other illusions to turn them against his fellow Valar, in particular Oromë. He was the Valar that roamed the expanse of Middle-earth, and when he discovered the Elves some of them fled. Those that stayed and came to know him, he named the Eldar, but the others were said to have been taken by Melkor to become the first Orcs.

8 Melkor Is Defeated And Bound – YT 1100

The story of Melkor’s rise to power in Middle-earth is its own story, and with the combined effort of the Valar, he was defeated for the first time. His strongest servant, a Maia known as Sauron, escaped rebuilding the forces of evil in secret. The Elves knew little of the battle and only saw it from afar.

Related: Lord Of The Rings: Things That Are Known About The Blue Wizards

As a Valar, Melkor could not be killed, but instead was brought before Mandos, the Valar that stands for judgment. Melkor was bound with a special chain, Angainor, and condemned to the Halls of Mandos for three eons.

7 The First Sundering Of The Elves – YT 1105

There were three sunderings of the Elven races during the First Age, and the first was after the Melkor was defeated. At that time, Middle-earth had been badly damaged, and Oromë summoned the Elves and offered them a place to stay in Aman, the location of Valinor, where the Valar also lived.

Not everyone was keen to leave Middle-earth, however, and many of the Elves refused to leave. The ones that followed Oromë continued to be known as the Eldar, but those that refused to take the Great Journey were named the Avari.

6 Durin And Daeron’s Runes – YT 1300

It wasn’t all about Elves, Men, and Melkor during this time. About a hundred years after the Elves had risen in the east, the Seven Fathers of the Dwarves also emerged from their sleep. The Dwarves had been created by the Valar Aulë but had to wait until the Firstborn had emerged before they could awaken. The only one of these that history remembers is Durin I, also known as Durin the Deathless.

Related: Lord Of The Rings: Important Characters Who Only Appear In The Silmarillion

It was not only the Dwarves that came to Middle-earth during this time but the writing system that would become their main alphabet was also developed by King Thingol and his most gifted loremaster, Daeron.

5 Fëanor Makes The Silmarils – YT 1450

The creation of the Silmarils might be the most important event in the history and lore of Middle-earth. Virtually everything that happened before them was but one step in their creation, and everything that came after was about who possessed them.

Fëanor, one of the most important characters who have yet to appear in an on-screen adaptation, created three jewels with the light of the Two Trees using a secret method that died with him. He was also the maker of the Palantiri and invented a script called Tengwar, which was used as the vernacular in his kingdom until the Third Age.

4 Ungoliant Destroys The Two Trees – YT 1495

After Melkor had the Elves under his sway, especially Fëanor, he turned on them. However, he was not powerful enough to act alone. He recruited the monstrous Ongoliant, a primordial creature that resembled a spider and devoured light and life as if it was food. She was a distant ancestor of Shelob, the beast aligned with Gollum in The Return Of The King.

Related: Lord Of The Rings: Everything You Need To Know About Sauron’s Rings Of Power

Melkor promised Ungoliant that she could feed on the Two Trees if only she would help him defeat the Elves, in particular the stubborn Fëanor. By the time the Valar discovered the extent of the giant spider’s destruction, Fëanor received word that Melkor had attacked his home in his absence. His father was dead and the Silmarils were gone.

3 The Sun And Moon Are Created – YT 1500

Although the trees had been destroyed, part of their essence remained. Laurelin was the Gold Tree and left behind a single flower which became the Sun. A blossom from Telperion, the Silver Tree, became the moon.

The Valar assigned two of the Maiar to guide their new creations, Arien and Tilion. Arien was the embodiment of fire, and one of the few Maiar that could not be coerced or corrupted. Tilion was known to take elven form in Middle-earth, but as the bearer of the moon, he was a being of pure light.

2 The Recovery Of A Silmaril – YS 466

It wasn’t just the endearing love story that made them famous, but the impossible task they managed to achieve alone that no army or wizard could accomplish. Luthien’s father declared that she could only wed a hero brave enough to recover a Silmaril, and Beren took him seriously.

Related: Lord Of The Rings: Things Only Book Readers Know About The Third Age

The gem they managed to recover was the same one returned to the Valar by Eärendil the Mariner. He called for aid not only against the forces of Melkor, now called Morgoth but also for protection from the Sons of Fëanor who were killing anyone they thought might possess a Silmaril.

1 Melkor Condemed To The Void – FA 590

Ironically, it wasn’t called the First Age until it was almost over. This was the year the Valar banished Morgoth from Middle-earth for good, sending him through the Door of Night into the Void and allowing Men, Elves, and the other various denizens of Middle-earth to live in peace.

For the second time, the Valar invited the Elves to join them but once again, some refused. Círdan the Shipwright chose to stay and guide his people from the Gray Havens. Galadriel and Celeborn stayed in their home of Lorien. Celebrimbor, the last of Feanor’s line, stayed to eventually forge the Rings of Power. Gil-galad became the High King of many Elven nations and Elrond would stay to help guide his brother Elros, and their descendants, as they became rulers of Men.

More: Lord Of The Rings Maiar Lore

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Canada’s Evan Dunfee takes 1st in 10,000m race walk event at Harry Jerome Classic | CBC Sports

Canada's Evan Dunfee takes 1st in 10,000m race walk event at Harry Jerome Classic | CBC Sports

Evan Dunfee’s biggest competitor Tuesday was someone he couldn’t even see.

A year after smashing his own national record in the 10,000-metre race walk at the Harry Jerome Classic in Burnaby, B.C., the Canadian was back and looking to repeat the feat.

Dunfee finished first with a time of 40 minutes 38.99 seconds on Tuesday, but couldn’t beat the 38:39.72 he posted in 2021.

“It was tough out there, thinking with like, 500 [metres] to go being like, ‘I just finished this race this time last year,”‘ he said. “You know, never fun to be lapped by your ghost but it’s just a different point.

“Last year, I was in the best shape I’ve ever been in leading into Tokyo and everything was going better than I could have possibly imagined.”

Dunfee followed his performance at last year’s Harry Jerome Classic with a bronze-medal performance at the Tokyo Olympics, finishing the 50-kilometre race walk in 3 hours 50 minutes and 59 seconds.

With a nagging upper-hamstring injury, the 31-year-old said he isn’t in quite the same form this season, but he’s working his way up to July’s World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Ore.

Where his race walking career goes after this season, however, remains unclear.

Dunfee said he’d love to compete in the 20-kilometre race walk at the Paris Olympics in 2024, but right now he’s looking ahead to another passion: municipal politics. He’s running for city council in Richmond, B.C., this fall.

The new challenge has been really enjoyable, Dunfee said.

“There’ve been days where I’ve been like ‘Ah, I know, I have to go do my like easy 10k. But I really want to read this 200-page planning document,”‘ he said. “I just dove headfirst into this municipal politics thing and I’m trying to find a new way to use my platform and my community involvement to find some fun ways to really contribute to my community in new ways.”

The two-time Olympian will have one advantage over the other candidates heading into the vote on Oct. 15.

“If nothing else, I’m going to be the most efficient door knocker,” Dunfee said with a smile.

This year’s Harry Jerome Classic features several Canadian Olympians, including Madeleine Kelly, who finished 31st in the women’s 800m in Tokyo and Damian Warner, who took gold in the decathlon.

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Hike for Hospice returns to live event May 1st

Hike for Hospice returns to live event May 1st

Hike for Hospice returns to live event May 1st | 104.9 Pembroke Today

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Mikaël Kingsbury captures dual moguls gold in 1st event since Beijing Olympics | CBC Sports

Mikaël Kingsbury captures dual moguls gold in 1st event since Beijing Olympics | CBC Sports

Mikaël Kingsbury of Deux-Montagnes, Que., gained a measure of revenge against Walter Wallberg, upending the 2022 Olympic moguls champion to win Saturday’s dual event in World Cup action in Valmalenco, Italy.

It was the first race for Kingsbury since capturing a moguls silver medal at the Winter Games in Beijing last month to become the first male freestyle skier to earn three Olympic medals.

The 2018 Olympic gold medallist amassed 82.18 points in his Feb. 5 performance in China, trailing Wallberg of Sweden, who scored 83.23 at Genting Snow Park in Zhangjiakou, China, for his first major win on the senior circuit

The 29-year-old Kingsbury was attempting to become the second men’s moguls skier to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals after fellow Canadian Alex Bilodeau achieved the feat in 2010 and 2014.

WATCH | Kingsbury picks up moguls silver medal at Beijing Olympics:

Kingsbury settles for moguls silver after Wallberg closes strong

Canadian Mikael Kingsbury was poised to repeat as Olympic moguls champion, but Sweden’s Walter Wallberg took gold with the final run. 5:08

Kingsbury’s win Saturday was his fifth of the season and 72nd on the World Cup circuit in 102 competitions. He is attempting to win a 10th straight Crystal Globe as overall season winner.

Japan’s Ikuma Horishima, Kingsbury’s friend who won Olympic bronze last month, was second on Saturday following a crash after landing his first jump in the final.

WATCH | Kingsbury has insatiable appetite for winning:

Moguls champ Mikaël Kingsbury has an insatiable appetite for winning

Watch Mikaël Kingsbury take CBC Sports behind the scenes, showing his 18 Crystal Globe trophies. 1:25