Jamie Laboucane is having the best start to a racing season he has ever had. But he will be the first to point out that the season is far from over, and despite having a 32 point lead in the standings over Vern Nolin, that can all disappear in one night of racing on the Canadian Professional Chuckwagon Association tour.
It started in North Battleford, where Laboucane finished second in the aggregate with his Davco/Sidekicks Express points unit before picking up his first show championship on the season two weeks later in Dewberry. That victory, however, came with his non-point outfit, while his point outfit wasn’t to far behind, finishing in third place.
He then followed that victory up with another in Wainwright, earning back-to-back show championships, as well as winning the Wainwright show in back-to-back years. Again, the victory came with his non-point outfit, while his points outfit finished in fourth.
So over the course of three shows, Laboucane has finished in the top five with five of his six wagons hitched, showing just how deep his barn runs.
“It’s been going really well, I can’t complain,” said Laboucane. “I got three outfits rolling and I just hope I can keep doing what I am doing. I had a pretty good base to begin with and I just added two nice lead horses onto the groups I had so I ended up with three really nice lead teams and then a bunch of other horses at home, too, that are nice I guess a lot of the guys would love to have, too. It’s just good consistent strong outfits.”
In sports, consistency may be the biggest cliche used by practically every player or coach. In chuckwagon racing, it is no different, except for the fact that racing is done with horses, which brings in a new set of problems. Laboucane said it comes down to experience, knowing which horses to hitch each night and when to give them a night off. It also means hooking the right horses on the right barrels and matching them up against certain drivers.
This year, Laboucane has raced Kris Molle at every show, and sometimes twice with his non-point outfits up against Molle. Along with fast drivers such as Ray Mitsuing and Dallas Dyck, Laboucane has had the benefit of racing the fastest each night, which only has helped him earn top times numerous times already, as well as two show championships and the lead in the CPCA standings.
“I like being with a lot of strong guys, it makes you better,” said Laboucane. “Anytime you are just running away with anything, you are facing a lot of adversity when you have someone there you know can beat you. It makes you better I think, and that is the key to improving and figuring out how to win.”
With the Calgary Stampede Rangeland Derby just a short two weeks away and one final prep show in Onion Lake this weekend, there is a good chance Laboucane will enter the biggest outdoor show on Earth with the CPCA points lead. But despite heading in as the top man on tour, he doesn’t feel any more pressure to perform well, and will look to do the same he has done all season long.
And through three shows, what he is doing is simply working.