Calgary – Kurt Bensmiller doesn’t mind the pressure of being the one to beat. As the two-time defending champion of the GMC Rangeland Derby, Bensmiller likes the fact that people consider him as one of the favourites to contend for the title once again at the 2019 Calgary Stampede.
“I take that as a positive,” said Bensmiller, who has won the $100,000 top prize in four of the past five years at the Rangeland Derby. “You want to be the guy that’s being chased, not the guy that’s chasing.”
Off barrel four in the ninth and final heat, the 36-year-old driver from Dewberry, Alberta guided his outfit around the track in Friday’s third best time of 1:18.32. While he edged out Vern Nolin by 9/100ths of a second to win his heat, Kurt finished the night 1/100ths of a second behind his younger brother Chance, who won heat four in a time of 1:18.31.
Just one heat earlier, Chad Fike raced around the track in Friday’s best time of 1:18.06, to win the top day money prize of $6,000.
“The track set up nice for me,” said the 31-year-old from Cremona, Alberta. “It was in good shape when I was out there and the horses worked good. We come off the barrels hard and we were lucky enough to steal the front end and the horses ran hard after that.”
With both Bensmiller brothers on his heels, Fike knows that he has his work cut out to stay atop the standings.
“The Bensmillers are tough obviously,” he said. “We’ll just have to keep consistent, keep running hard and keep running clean and see whatever shakes out. There’s still a lot of running days left here.”
About the Calgary Stampede
The Calgary Stampede celebrates the people, the animals, the land, the traditions and the values that make up the unique spirit of the west. The Calgary Stampede contributes to the quality of life in Calgary and southern Alberta through our world-renowned Stampede, year-round facilities, western events and several youth and agriculture programs. Exemplifying the theme We’re Greatest Together; we are a volunteer-supported, not-for-profit community organization that preserves and promotes western heritage and values. All revenue is reinvested into Calgary Stampede programs and facilities.
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