When the West was young, and great herds of cattle were driven to market or driven from one range to another - it was necessary for the chuckwagons to hurry from one camp to the next so a hot meal would be ready for the hard- working cowboys come nightfall.
The "chuckwagon crew" rolled out early in the morning, prepared a hearty breakfast of plenty of meat, pan bread, beans and other substantial foods. After the drovers had moved out with the herd, the chuckwagon crew still had over half of their morning work to do: pans and other utensils to wash, equipment to be cleaned, wagons loaded, fires put out and the other work of breaking camp. By the time they were headed down the trail, the herd was well ahead. During the day, the chuckwagons rolled ahead at a fast pace to gain needed time to unload the wagons, collect firewood, start fires, get water and prepare the evening meal.
Since they often traveled through hostile territory, it was necessary for part of the crew to ride near the wagons in case of attack. Chuckwagons, food and equipment were hard to replace miles from civilization. Many times it was necessary for the outriders to scout ahead, but they always stayed fairly close to the wagons. Sometimes more than one herd would be going in the same general direction - then it was a distinct advantage to get to the next good water hole or camping area first.
To get to the next camp in time for the "cowboys" next meal, to beat another outfit to a camping spot, or to outrun unfriendly Indians caused the chuckwagon crews to race across the western ranges. So the Calgary oldtimers, recalling bygone days added "chuckwagon races" to their world - famous Stampede. Chuckwagon races are the great spectacle of the Calgary Show, and the Cheyenne Frontier Days now feature them too. Now you, too, can relive a dramatic page out of the old west and in safety see thrills of a chuckwagon spectacular.