Bowman family complete Calgary Stampede challenge

  • Members of driving’s Team Bowman swapped their top hats for cowboy hats as they raced chuckwagons in the Calgary Stampede (8-17 July) earlier this month.

    George, 76, his sons George Jnr and Barnaby, and his brother Robert took part in a demonstration race over ‘The Half Mile of Hell’ against the clock.

    After completing they all received individual trophies for taking part.

    Although the Bowmans are highly experienced drivers their techniques are quite different from their American counterparts.

    Driving trials are about control and sensitivity, whereas chuckwagon racing has been compared to a ‘controlled runaway’ in which four horses pulling a wagon reach speeds of 40mph, creating up to 6 Gs of force.

    George Bowman said: “It’s a very strange feeling not having the control we have — I admire the courage of the drivers as they go head to head with three other combinations.”

    Robert Bowman said: “From being a little lad I have always wanted to visit the Calgary Stampede, but to be invited to be part of it and have the experience recorded for TV is a dream come true.”

    A film crew has been making a four-part life-swap documentary, chronicling the Bowmans’ adventures in Calgary and then challenging chuckwaggoning’s first family, the Sutherlands to take part in a British driving trial.

    It has not yet been confirmed which channel the documentary will be shown on, although it is expected to air later this year.

    Having taken on the challenge of training the first Europeans to take part in the Calgary Stampede, the Sutherlands will compete in the British Horse Driving Trials National Championships (9-11 September) later this year.

    The Sutherlands, who currently have three members in the top 20 chuckwagon rankings, will also drive a 150-year-old 10-seater stagecoach between Newcastle and Carlisle.

    Eleven-times World Champion Kelly Sutherland won a record 12th Calgary Stampede at this year’s event.

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