And here is why they'll never ban chuck-wagon races.
It's a heritage thing.
Native people have always had a close relationship with animals, especially the horse. So it was not unusual for Aboriginal people throughout North America to be part of the origins of rodeo as spectators, organizers, hosts and competitors.
This year, Indian and Metis chuckwagon drivers and outriders will again prove able in what is one of cowboy country's most exciting and nail-biting events - the "Half-Mile of Hell," more commonly referred to as chuckwagon racing, or, at the Calgary Stampede, the "Rangeland Derby."
The past 10 years have brought to the fore some of Native country's most dazzling performances, especially by such competitors as Edgar Baptiste, Chief Ray Mitsuing, and Glen Risdale.
Risdale, from the Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement, holds the record for the fastest time around the track.
In this event, timing is everything. As the last thundering hooves beat across the finish line and the dust settles, wagon drivers wait for the final results, hoping no points will be taken off for penalties. Every second is precious. Just ask Mitsuing from Loon Lake, Sask.
In 1988, he was driving the Redwood Meadows rig for the Tsuu T'ina First Nation, near Calgary. In the final and deciding heat, he lost out to the champion by a mere 1/100 of a second. Not only did it cost him the title of "champion," he and his sponsors lost out on the winner-take-all $50,000 prize.
To date, the best driver has been Kelly Sutherland. He has won the Calgary Stampede's chuckwagon title in 1974, '75, '77, '78 and '86.
In 1996, Edgar Baptiste, a treaty Indian from Cando, Sask. managed to squeak into the fourth and final spot for the deciding heat at the Calgary Stampede. It had been a long dry spell for the 16-year veteran of the dirt track. In the final round he buried the field to take home the first title, trophy and prize money to ever go to a Treaty Indian since 1920 when wagon racing first came on the scene as a professional event in Calgary.
Rest assured, those Indian and Metis cowboys will be out there burning up the tracks again this year And even though some may not take home the title, they'll still do well in day money.