The Eastern Professional Chariot & Chuckwagon Association was officially formed on November 2, 1969. The developmental meeting was held at the farm of Fritz Althouse.
The object of the club (then & now) is to promote better racing and sportsmanship among the members of the association. Along with the promotion of better racing and sportsmanship, the association's secondary objective is to provide the public with the best races possible.
Membership in the association has grown from 20 members in 1969-1970 to approximately 125 in recent years. Membership in the racing association is open to anyone who wishes to purchase an annual membership but voting privileges are only available to those members who own a chuckwagon or chariot hook and who run at least three shows with the EPCCA.
Some aspects of the club have changed dramatically over the years while others have remained the same. In the early years, the drivers, their families and their ponies arrived at the races in trucks with stock racks on the box. Some of the racers and their families stayed in homemade campers or tents, while others slept in their trucks or perhaps in sleeping bags under their trailers. Now they travel with customized stock trailers, new campers and motor homes. Things look a lot different now in the race campsites than it did in the formative years of the club.
In the earlier years our club ran two different categories for ponies. The first category was for ponies that measured up to 48" and the second category was for ponies who measured up to 50". Up until 1986, the horses had to measure 48-50 inches at the withers before they were branded and permitted to race for the season. In 1986 the measure changed to 51" or 53". In 1995 the club went to a one-size measure for all ponies. The size was changed to 53". This size was kept until 2005 when the measure was raised to 57 1/2". In 2007 the size was changed to 58 1/2" using a new laser measurement system.
The first six shows featuring Eastern Professional Chariot & Chuckwagon Association races were Lintlaw, Invermay, Kelvington, Hudson Bay, Weekes & Wadena. 2022 marks the 51st year that the club will run at all of those places - except Lintlaw and Weekes where they no longer hold races. With new race dates being added to the schedule over the years, the club now holds approximately 49 days of racing at 19 different shows during the summer.
During the early years, three members used individual stopwatches to time the races. Later, a box was built to hold the watches, enabling the timer to start all three at exactly the same instant. In 1991, a very sophisticated video camera, timer and VCR system was purchased. This enabled the officials to tape the race and play it back, frame by frame allowing them to read the exact time to the hundredth of a second. In 2003 the system was updated with new equipment. Paulette Althouse & Daphne Wickstrom were the timing officials for many years within the Association. Current timing officials include Brandee Braaten, secretary-treasurer and Jen Hue, head video-timer operator. During the first years John Grand from Margo provided the sound system. Mr. Grand provided the use of his system at all the races. Now, the EPCCA has their own sound system that travels along all summer with our club announcer Bryce Young.
A number of members have remained with the association since its establishment; with some still serving on the executive, board of directors and measuring crew. The associations auditors, Ed Durgan and Albert Mennie, were with the club until 2002.
At the end of each racing season, an annual meeting, wind-up banquet and dance is held to elect new officers and to recognize the high-point drivers of the year. This is also a time for members, their families, friends, and sponsors to reminisce over the year's races and to start looking forward to the coming race season!