High River high

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:32 AM ET

HIGH RIVER -- The champ is back in the driver's seat.

Defending WPCA world champion Rick Fraser ran away with the aggregate title yesterday at the North American Chuckwagon Championship in High River.

But, just to make sure there was no doubt as to who was ruling the fourth stop on the Dodge Pro Tour, Fraser put an exclamation point on his first show title of the season by posting the fastest time of the four-day event.

The Grande Prairie driver went wire-to-wire off the No. 4 barrel, guiding his Kendal Pipelines rig across the line in 1:16.02.

"They really started hard," Fraser said. "Hughie (Sinclair) is tough to out-turn and so is Troy (Dorchester). And this is the best outfit Kirk (Sutherland) has had in years.

"So I was pretty surprised when I was going out of the infield and those guys weren't there."

Fraser, who had outriders Chanse Vigen and Quinn Dorchester chasing his rig, won the aggregate over second-place Jason Glass by nearly four seconds. The 45-year-old, who claimed the Strathmore and Lethbridge stops in '04, said it felt good to crack into the win column.

In fact, if it hadn't been for human error, he might have been there earlier.

"The horses have run good all spring," he said.

"I had a brain cramp in Grande Prairie and hit a barrel and we had outriding penalties the last two shows. The horses have done their part. It's been the people (with the problems."

The Dodge Pro Tour will take today off before starting up again tomorrow in Ponoka.

Then it's off to the richest event in the sport at the Calgary Stampede's Rangeland Derby.

Fraser said winning High River is a good omen for success in Calgary.

"I don't know what it is but you want to have a good High River because, for some reason, it sets it up for Calgary," said Fraser.

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AROUND THE BARRELS: The Bashaw Flash continued his recent hot streak by posting the second-fastest time yesterday. Reg Johnstone (United Petroleum Distributors) stopped the clock in 1:16.55, followed by Luke Tournier (Friends of Heritage Park), who had a 1:16.95 despite taking a one-second penalty. Rounding out the top 10 were: Hugh Sinclair (Frank Sisson's Silver Dollar Casino; 1:17.39), Rae Croteau Jr. (Lincoln County Oilfield Services Ltd.; 1:17.46), Jason Johnstone (Home Hardwear; 1:17.86), Jason Glass (Shaw GMC Pontiac Buick Hummer; 1:17.96), Wayne Dagg (LaFarge Canada; 1:18.14), Jess Willard (Ranchman's Restaurant; 1:18.16) and Troy Flad (Mavericks Oilfield Services; 1:18.57).

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WORLD STANDINGS: Reg Johnstone held onto his lead atop the world standings with 519 points, just ahead of Chad Harden with 511. Jerry Bremner and Rick Fraser (tied at 468.5) and Jason Glass and Kelly Sutherland (both at 466) round out the top half-dozen spots.

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MORE HARDWARE: Shane Cartier (Kubota Dealers of Alberta) won the $1,000 NAPA Heat of the Night in the second race with a 1:18.74 ... Mark Sutherland (Pavlis Trucking) won the UFA community ambassador award.

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HIGH RIVER RODEO RESULTS: Todd Hemmerling turned in the top bull ride with an 88. Jason DelGuercio won the bareback with an 82 while Lance Mulvahill took top spot in the saddle bronc at 83. Blair Stroh was the quickest calf roper (8.2), David Roy was the No. 1 steer wrestler (3.8) and Kerry Maynes turned the barrels in 17.43. 


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