Kurt Bensmiller Captures Season Ending Century Downs "Winners' Zone" Championship

2019 Century Downs "Winners' Zone" Champions
Versatile Energy Services Ltd. Outfit
(L-R): Driver Kurt Bensmiller, Outriders Rory Gervais & Cole Somerville
Photos By Fred Vidiuk

It was a big day at Century Downs Racetrack and Casino as the 2019 season wrapped up on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in Rocky View, Alberta. There was a lot on the line as Ross Knight, Kurt Bensmiller, Jordie Fike and Luke Tournier would compete in the inaugural Century Downs "Winners' Zone" Championship Dash where they will be racing for $50,000.00 cash and a horse trailer valued at over $30,000.00. When the wagons crossed the finish line for the last time in 2019, it was Kurt Bensmiller, driving the Versatile Energy Services Ltd. outfit, and along with outriders Rory Gervais and Cole Somerville, who captured the season ending event and will have the distinction of being recognized as the inaugural Century Downs "Winners' Zone" Champion.

In a penalty free championship final heat, Kurt Bensmiller won the Century Downs "Winners' Zone" Championship with a run of 1:24.53 from barrel position number 1. Luke Tournier placed second from barrel number 2, 33 one-hundredths of a second behind the champion Kurt Bensmiller. Ross Knight grabbed third from barrel position number 3, while Jordie Fike, competing in his first ever championship final, placed fourth from barrel position number 4 in an exciting race to end the 2019 season.

There was $60,000.00 in cash up for the 32 drivers who did not qualify for the Century Downs "Winners' Zone" Championship Dash. Heat winners included Bob Van Eaton in heat #1, Vern Nolin in heat #2, Codey McCurrach in heat #3, Layne Flad in heat #4, Jason Glass and Mark Sutherland were involved in a dead heat in heat #5 and split 1st and 2nd, Kirk Sutherland in Heat #6, Obrey Motowylo in heat #7 and Troy Flad in heat #8. Vern Nolin’s Crowbourne Capital Corp.’s outfit was fastest on the day after a run of 1:22.86 from barrel number 3 in the second heat. He was followed closely by John Walters who also ran in heat number two, with  Bob Van Eaton, Kirk Sutherland and Doug Irvine posting the five fastest times on the last day of racing.

Last night Chad Harden, driving the Kubota/MNP/MLT Aikins/Spartan Controls outfit, and along with outriders Rory Armstrong and Rory Gervais won Century Downs Racetrack and Casino Aggregate Championship after posting the best aggregate time of 5:34.85 over the first 4 days of the Century Downs World Chuckwagon Finals.

Two world champions were declared Saturday night as Kurt Bensmiller won his fourth World Chuckwagon Championship in five years, including his third consecutive World title by just 29.5 points over Vern Nolin who had been leading the standings for most of the year. With the win, Kurt Bensmiller ties the record for the most consecutive World Chuckwagon Championships with three, currently held by chuckwagon greats Ronnie Glass, Tom Dorchester and George Normand. Outrider Rory Gervais captured his second career and second consecutive World Outriding title over former World Champion Outrider Casey Knight as well.

Equine outfit of Excellence winners included “JACK” of Logan Gorst’s outfit on Right Lead, “HAWK” of Vern Nolin’s outfit on Left Lead, “TEX” of Chanse Vigen’s outfit on Right Wheel, “LUTESIFER” of Kurt Bensmiller’s outfit on Left Wheel, and “NIGHTLY” of Doug Irvine’s outfit and “Barb” of Mark Sutherland’s outfit were the champion Outriding Horses.

Congratulations to the 2019 World Champions, driver Kurt Bensmiller and outrider Rory Gervais, and many thanks to all the corporate partners, broadcast partners, support staff and chuckwagon fans all along the 2019 WPCA Pro Tour. Enjoy a safe and prosperous off-season, and we will see you all in 2020.

Billy Melville