Fantastic turn of events

SCOTT FISHER

, Last Updated: 3:28 AM ET

Chad Harden wasn't supposed to have a chance.

He had never been on the sport's biggest stage before.

He had the unfavourable No. 4 barrel.

He had a ton of horsepower hooked on his inside.

He didn't care.

Harden (ATB Financial) made a fantastic turn off the short barrel and tore around the Half Mile of Hell in 1:15.25 to win the Rangeland Derby title and the $100,000 cheque.

"It's a pretty good feeling," the Mulhurst Bay driver said after his second textbook run of the week off the No. 4.

"I didn't think the turn was that great, but it looked OK on the big screen.

"It all worked out."

Did it ever.

Harden, who won the Orville Strandquist Award as the Calgary Stampede's top rookie driver in 2001, won his second show title last night.

He also won the Ponoka Stampede championship in 2002.

But this one, obviously, carries added meaning.

It's a lifelong dream of every chuckwagon driver to win the sport's biggest show.

For Harden, it was no different.

"For 30-some years," the 38-year-old said. "Ever since I started listening to the radio."

Harden said there was little doubt as to what bank was going to be cashing his six-figure cheque.

"I think they've already got it," Harden laughed, confirming his longtime sponsor ATB would be getting some extra business.

Prior to last night's races, Mark Sutherland was presented with the clean drive award as the only driver to go through eight nights of qualifying without a penalty.

He couldn't have picked a worse time to get his first.

The younger Sutherland (NCi Construction) had all kinds of trouble getting his horses to stand still prior to the horn.

The other drivers eventually pulled out, which left Sutherland on the hook for a one-second false-start penalty.

That second cost him $100,000 as he crossed the line first but ended up with the third-best time.

Tyler Helmig (Pidherney's, Barrel 1) finished in second with a 1:15.44, followed by Kelly Sutherland (Gallery Homes, Barrel 3) at 1:15.84.

Harden was joined in the winner's circle by wife, Dori, and his four ecstatic children Montana, Cheyenna, Dawson and Denver.

Outriders Jason Lemieux, Eddie Melville, Chad Fike and Jamie Laboucane also picked up championship buckles.

SCOTT.FISHER@SUNMEDIA.CA

RANGELAND DERBY NIGHT 10 -- DASH FOR CASH

FINALS

(x - wins $100,000 championship)

Driver, Sponsor Last night (incl. penalties)

x-1. Chad Harden, ATB Financial 1:15.25

2. Tyler Helmig, Pidherney's 1:15.44

3. Mark Sutherland, NCi Construction 1:15.76 (1)

4. Kelly Sutherland, Gallery Homes 1:15.84

Night 10

Driver, Sponsor Last night (incl. penalties)

1. Wayne Knight, Express Employment Professionals 1:14.08

2. Rick Fraser, Chickwagon/Heninger Toyota 1:14.41

3. Jason Glass, Shaw GMC Pontiac Buick Hummer 1:14.96

4. Luke Tournier, Friends of SAIT/Crescent Point 1:15.00 (1)

5. Kirk Sutherland, Ranchman's Hospitality Group 1:15.08

6. Chad Harden, ATB Financial 1:15.25

7. Hugh Sinclair, Mercuria 1:15.35

8. Tyler Helmig, Pidherney's 1:15.44

9. Brian Laboucane, The Mavericks 1:15.47

10. Reg Johnstone, YYC Calgary Int. Airport 1:15.64

11. Kurt Bensmiller, WestJet 1:15.72 (1)

12. Gary Gorst, BKDI Architects 1:15.73 (1)

13. Mark Sutherland, NCi Construction 1:15.76 (1)

14. Ray Mitsuing, Lucid Group of Companies 1:15.82

15. Kelly Sutherland, Gallery Homes 1:15.84

16. Doug Irvine, B & R Eckel's Transport 1:15.96 (1)

17. Troy Dorchester, Roadhouse Nightclub Firewagon 1:16.02

18. David Bensmiller, Burnet, Duckworth and Palmer 1:16.03

19. Rae Croteau Jr., Airstream Heating & A.C. 1:16.11

20. Obrey Motowylo, H & E Oilfield Services Ltd. 1:16.12

21. Buddy Bensmiller, Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park Ltd. 1:16.19

22. Barry Hodgson, WorldSkills Calgary 2009 1:16.55

23. Layne MacGillivray, Impact 2000 Inc. 1:16.58

24. Neal Walgenbach, The Coyboys Posse 1:16.59

25. Leo Tournier, Robyn's Transportation/Fr. of Mavericks 1:16.96

26. Jim Knight, Classic Oilfield Service Ltd. 1:17.06

T27. Grant Profit, Thru Tubing Solution 1:17.17

T27. Jerry Bremner, Wildflower Ranch by Cancorp 1:17.17 (2)

29. Grant Preece, MaXfield Inc. 1:17.53

30. Roger Moore, MBN Bond Fund 1:17.55

31. Ryan Preece, Olympia Trust Company 1:17.90

32. Tim Haroldson, Heritage Park Historical Village 1:18.12

33. Jim Nevada, Bell Canada 1:18.94

34. Shane Cartier, Caradan Chemicals Inc. 1:20.98 (4)

35. Shane Nolin, Ironhorse Oil and Gas 1:21.04 (3)

36. Logan Gorst, RE/MAX Realtors 1:21.78 (5)


Videos

Photos