Delburne, Alberta chuckwagon driver John Walters is bringing a secret weapon to this year’s edition of the GMC Rangeland Derby at the Calgary Stampede.

Keep a sharp eye out for the Brakemen Foundation canvas on a chuck-wagon at this year’s GMC Rangeland Derby at the Calgary Stampede, because the man in the driver’s seat knows horses and will be sure to turn some heads.

Delburne, Alberta’s John Walters has a secret weapon, a horse, whom he affectionately calls Woody.   A horse he bought at the Innisfail auction in 2008 for a cheap 600 dollars.

“He was a big tall horse and when I looked at him in the back pen, I said you know what this horse could be a thoroughbred and so I went and looked at his lip and he had a tattoo, so I figured if he goes for the right price I will gamble on him,” said Walters.  “He turned out to be a superstar for us.”

What sets this horse apart from the rest is the fact Woody seems to have 9 lives.

“Well he’s on his 3rd one.  We brought him from the auction market put him in our barn and started with him and the next year he had a bleeding ulcer and the vets wanted to put him down and I was pretty stubborn at what they were diagnosing it as, as it wasn’t, thank God I pulled through with my gut feeling because after we did figure it out what it was, that it was bleeding ulcers, we were able to cure him and put him back on the outfit.”

Walters says if there is something in this life you want to do, do it, because you never know what tomorrow will bring.

This is his third go-around at the GMC Rangeland Derby, something that his wife Bonnie loves to watch him compete in, with no sense of nervousness.

“It’s not difficult to watch him race, because we have competed in rodeo for 20 years so I was used to watching him get on the backs of broncs and bulls and steer wrestling, so I don’t get too nervous I have a lot of confidence in him,” said Bonnie.  “He’s pretty competitive and I feel that he’s pretty safe.”

Walters’ canvas this year was bought by the Brakemen Foundation, not-for profit charity, focused on helping children in the Calgary area.

Founding Member Derek Krivak tells Rural Roots Canada why they chose to buy John’s tarp

“We’re looking for people that understand that every night that we host, we are going to have a new client base,” said Krivak.  “It’s demanding on ourselves but also to the drivers and we’ve known John on a personal basis he’s a great guy and has the right temperament for our charity.”

With Woody on his team and his wife, Bonnie, cheering him on, John is sure to tear up the track this at this year’s Stampede.