Evergreen Park invites Peace Country residence to a weekend celebration of Indigenous Culture and History.
On Father’s Day weekend we will host over 130 Indigenous riders and 200 horses Indian Relay Racing to celebrate Indian Relay Races. Come and experience the tradition and horsemanship of this 300-year-old sport.
On Saturday, June 17 and Sunday, June 18 Peace Country residents will get a chance to see for themselves the extreme and intense Indian Relay Racing as it makes its first Grande Prairie appearance at J.D.A. Raceway at Evergreen Park.
Riding bareback and often decked out in traditional markings and attire, teams race around the track competing in a relay race with horse exchanges in front of the grandstand.
“The competitors relish being able to celebrate our culture’s history through this sport,” said organizer Kimberly Big Crow. “It ties into cultural education and connects the younger generation to their elders, which enhances skill-building and family values within our people.”
This event, Evergreen Park hopes, will be the start of a much larger annual Indigenous celebration and showcase at the Park.
“The Indigenous community is very important to us. We want to partner with our local First Nations this year and for many years to build a showcase of Indigenous Culture and Heritage,” said Park General Manager Kim Randall. “The Indian relay races are truly a unique expression of the connection between Indigenous Culture and the Horse. We are excited to present Warrior, Lady Warrior and Little Brave relay races on both Saturday and Sunday.”
Alberta Indian Relay Racing is an organization that welcomes participants from all Nations with the largest network of Indian relay professionals in Canada focusing on the revitalization of the centuries-old sport.
“Indian Relay Racing has been a proud tradition for over 300 years,” said Big Crow. “Our mandate is to provide exposure not only for our culture and heritage, but to showcase the horsemanship of Indian Relay Racing teams … and also for fans to see firsthand what the sport of Indian Relay entails.”
The races start at 1 p.m. each day.
Tickets are available on the Evergreen Park website at https://evergreenpark.ticketspice.com/indian-relay-racing
They are $20 for adults and $5 for those two to 12.
There are also several sponsorship options. For information on sponsorships contact Evergreen Park Marketing & Sponsorship Manager Don Moon at 587-298-0548 or check out the sponsor options here.
The iconic RCMP Musical Ride will be performing Saturday, June 10 and Sunday, June 11 at J.D.A. Raceway at Evergreen Park.
The Musical Ride is a symbol of tradition, honour and pride. It supports front-line police operations by building positive relationships, supporting recruiting efforts and promoting the RCMP’s image in communities in Canada and around the world. It was last held at Evergreen Park in 2006.
“It’s an honour to be able to host this prestigious world-famous group,” said Evergreen Park General Manager Kim Randall. “If it isn’t, the Musical Ride should be on every Canadian’s bucket list. We are delighted to offer residents of northwestern Alberta the opportunity to experience the RCMP musical ride precision cavalry drills.”
The troop of up to 32 riders, who are all police officers, and their horses perform intricate formations and drills set to music. These movements demand the utmost control, timing, and coordination.
The RCMP is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. The first Musical Ride was held in 1887 in Regina.
“This is an important anniversary for the RCMP and Evergreen Park is more than happy we can be a part of it,” said Randall. “We know Peace Country residents of all ages are going to enjoy it.”
Each day the event starts at 1 p.m. and will include a pre-show performance besides the RCMP Musical Ride.
“We have a full afternoon of entertainment planned,” said Randall. “We will be announcing the list of performers over the next few weeks.”
The public will also be invited to visit the horses and riders in the Lewis Hawkes Arena. Dates and times for public viewing will be released later.
Tickets are available online on the Evergreen Park website here. They are $5 for those two to 12 and $20 each for all others.
There is a 50/50 being as part of the Musical Ride event. They are on sale now here and will also be available in person June 10-11 at the event. The draw is being held after the Musical Ride on June 11.
Anyone interested in supporting this event can contact Evergreen Park Marketing & Sponsorship Manager Don Moon at 587-298-0548.
Evergreen Park is looking for a naming rights sponsor for a structure that includes one of the most iconic buildings in Grande Prairie.
Lewis Hawkes Arena has been part of the Grande Prairie landscape for over 50 years. It was erected in 1972 at the old County Fairgrounds on the east side of Grande Prairie.
When the "fairgrounds" moved south of the city in 1982 what was then called Lewis Hawkes Pavilion was taken apart bolt by bolt and re-built at Evergreen Park. Shortly after that move the Drysdale Arena, formerly called the Drysdale Centre, was added and the complex has been re-named Evergreen Park Pavilion.
In 2018 a renovation to the Drysdale Arena was completed including new tin, paint, a concession stand and washrooms and in 2022, the year it turned 50, the Lewis Hawkes Arena underwent a major face lift.
Over $1M was spent on new tin inside and out, bleachers to allow for up to 1,000 spectators, washrooms, box offices, manager office, concession, lounge, announcer booth, new lighting and ventilation, horse wash bay and more.
“The Hawkes was structurally sound, but it was in bad need of a renovation,” said Evergreen Park Marketing & Sponsorship Manager Don Moon. “With that renovation and the upgrades to the Drysdale Arena we have a beautiful pavilion that will serve the community for at least another 50 years.
“Whoever puts their name on this building can be proud of the fact it is an amazing facility that is getting busier and busier.”
The Park is looking for naming rights sponsor willing to commit for five years minimum at $40,000 annually.
The sponsor will receive large signage outside and inside the building, use of the building twice a year and other exposure at the Park in a variety of ways.
Anyone interested in finding out more about the naming rights can contact Moon at 587-298-0548.
The Wild Horse Casino & Lounge has its own website.
You can find it here.
The website includes menus for both the Wild Horse Lounge and Pines Family Restaurant. The Lounge is open 9 a.m. - 11:45 p.m. and the Pines 9 a.m. - 8 p.m. daily.
Both start the day, from 9-11 a.m., with a $5.95 breakfast.
The menus list the wide variety of options at both the lounge and restaurant, including a kids' menu at the Pines. Daily and weekly specials are also listed.
Information about how to Play The Ponies, Betting 101, is available on the website. There are over a dozen screens in the Lounge showing live horse racing from across North America. Customers can watch and bet on all of those races.
The website also includes information for horsemen who set up at The Horses At Evergreen Park in the summer and replays from each year's The Horses At Evergreen Park races.
You can find out information, and register, for the Evergreen Park Racing Club off of the new website.
For more information phone the Casino at 780-539-5968 or the Lounge at 780-532-3265.
It turned 50 this year, but it doesn’t look its age.
Lewis Hawkes Arena, formerly Lewis Hawkes Pavilion, over the last year has gone through a transformation that has upgraded it to a modern event centre.
Bleacher seating for over 1,000; box offices; lounge; concession; announcer’s booth; new ventilation; new lighting; new tin inside and out; and new washrooms are among the improvements to the venue.
The $1M-plus renovation was completed thanks to an Alberta Government grant and contributions from the County of Grande Prairie as well as local businesses and benevolent citizens.
It has been a part of Evergreen Park since 1982 after being moved from its original location at the old fairgrounds on the east side of the City of Grande Prairie, where it was originally constructed in 1972.It has served as minor hockey’s indoor arena; hosted entertainers like Al Cherney and Buffy St. Marie and many county music stars as part of Stompede’s beer gardens; was the home of a farmer’s market and an Octoberfest with Emerson Drive; is one of the main venues for the ag show every spring; has been where local fans have watched bull riding, barrel racing and high school and amateur rodeo championships; is a place where local horse people shelter their animals in the winter; and has hosted prime ministers, 4H’ers, gymkhana events and other equine endeavors.
On September 30th Evergreen Park is celebrating the new-look venue with a Lewis Hawkes Arena Renovation Celebration.
Doors open at 5 p.m. and there is a country fried chicken buffet at 6 p.m. Following supper there will be presentations, including thanking the many who have contributed to the renovation, and the evening continues with Dancin’ In The Dirt with the band TJ Ruckus performing.
Tickets are $20 for adults and $12 for children four to 10 years old. Three and under are free.
Tickets are currently being sold online through the Evergreen Park website HERE or by calling the Evergreen Park office at 780-532-3279 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday.
Evergreen Park is asking people to head to their Facebook page and reply to the Lewis Hawkes Arena Renovation Celebration post with their best memory of the Lewis Hawkes. Several posts will be randomly selected and the posters will be given prizes for taking part.
There was no doubt by mid-August who the top jockey at The Horses At Evergreen Park was going to be.
Trevor Simpson led pretty much from the start of the season and widened the gap as each race weekend was completed.
Simpson ended up with 27 wins, 14 seconds and seven thirds after 74 rides over the 15-day summertime race meet at J.D.A. Raceway. He collected $129,973 in purse money along the way.
Larris Allen was second (51-13-16-11) and $79,125 collected while Orlando Foster finished third among (70-10-11-16) with $67, 601 in winnings.
Simpson had a win percentage of 36% while Allen was 25% and Foster 14%.
The battle for top trainer was a little closer.
Garry Marks ended up best over July and August with 14 wins, six seconds and a third with 29 starts and $57,245 in earnings while Lyle Magnuson was second (58-11-15-13) with $73,328 in purse money and Jason Coney of Grande Prairie third (42-10-10-7) and $49,844.
Evergreen Park finished up the summer racing season on a high note. The handle of $1,074,096 was a record for The Horses At Evergreen Park.
Biggest single day was Sunday when bettors spent $111,865. It was the largest race card of the year with nine races. There were 104 races over the course of the summer over 15 race days. Average handle per race day was $71,606 and average per-race was $10,327. The increase in online betting was a major factor in the plus-$1M final handle.
Racing in the province continues at Rocky Mountain Turf Club in Lethbridge on the B Circuit and at Edmonton Century Mile and Balzac’s Century Downs on the A circuit. Many of the horses, jockey and trainers from the Grande Prairie meet will be headed to Lethbridge.
There is going to be some local flavor at the 93rd running of the Canadian Derby at Century Mile Racetrack & Casino in Edmonton on Saturday.
The Horses At Evergreen Park racing fans will remember one of the entries – Sea Splendor.
The Kentucky-bred three-year-old won the Grande Prairie Derby at J.D.A. Raceway on July 31st.
Sea Splendor, owned by Highfield Investment Group, Inc./Dialed In Racing Stable/Graham Thoroughbreds/True North Stable, is trained by Craig Smith.
At the GP Derby he finished just ahead of runner-up El Fantasma and well in front of third place finisher Tricky Speedster.
That win netted the ownership group $15,237 and was a big factor in Sea Splendor being able to compete in the Canadian Derby.
Sixteen horses were nominated for the big $200,000 race in Edmonton, but only 12 made the cut – based mostly on earnings. Sea Splendor, with $36,421 in lifetime earnings with almost half of that coming in Grande Prairie, got into the top 12.
Former Evergreen Park Racing Club head trainer Robertino Diodoro has three horses in the field – Red Knobs, the top money-earner of all the entries with $167,242 in purses; Great Escape; and Clancy’s Pistol. Those horses finished one-two-three respectively at the Manitoba Derby earlier this month – a Manitoba Derby record for a trainer.
Norm Tremblay, manager of the Evergreen Park Racing Club and an Evergreen Park board member, is part-owner of Great Escape.
Local racing fans would have no doubt been cheering for Slaats, owned by local chuckwagon driver Kirk Sutherland. Slaats was one of the 16 nominated and was the fourth highest money earner with $131,697, but pulled out of the Canadian Derby.
Another Derby Day winner at The Horses At Evergreen Park 2022 is entered in the $100,000 Century Casino Oaks on Saturday – the last race of the day right after the Canadian Derby.
Diplomatica, trained by former local Tim Rycroft, won the Grande Prairie Oaks on July 31 at J.D.A. Raceway and is one of nine horses in the Oaks race in Edmonton.
In 2012 a memorial, called Keep On Keepin’ On, was started to recognize those in the horse racing industry who passed away.
Since then over 150 who were involved in some way in the industry in Alberta have died and a handful of those were involved in The Horses At Evergreen Park at J.D.A. Raceway in Grande Prairie.
This weekend is called Memorial & Pioneer Weekend at The Horses At Evergreen Park – it is a chance to recognize those 150-plus who are no longer with us.
There will be a display of photos and horse racing artifacts as well as a large screen presentation listing names of all who have died, a photo collage of those who left us in 2022 and also photos of those who were involved in The Horses At Evergreen Park.
“Keep On Keepin’ On is dedicated to the lives and loves of those who have gone on before - for all of us – what would have wanted us to Keep On Keepin’ On and endure through trials and hard times,” says the group’s information sheet. “Our condolences to the families that lost loved ones this past year.”
Anyone wishing to donate to the program – which includes presenting jackets to winning owners trainers and jockeys as well as a “surprise” $1,000 to someone in the industry – can contact Helen Skerstrom at email@example.com.
Flight Club and Top Shelf have joined Sizzling Wagon for a chance to compete in the Bank of America Challenge Championship for quarter horses in Indianapolis on October 22.
At the Regional (Canadian) championships on Sunday at The Horses At Evergreen Park at J.D.A. Raceway, Flight Club collected the biggest payday of the race meet ($28,540) beating out five other horses in the BOA Championship Challenge 440 yarder for three-year-olds and up.
A total purse of $57,081 was up for grabs with runner-up Rowdyvision taking $12,272 of that and third place finisher Getit Foose $6,278.
It was a good payday for Chuck Stojan, who owns both Flight Club and Getit Foose. J. Botello was on Flight Club and Ricardo Moreno on Getit Foose. Both horses are trained by William Leech.
Trainer Buckey Stockwell also had himself a good day.
He trains Top Shelf and Valiant Stevie B, which finished runner-up to Top Shelf in the BOA Adequan Derby, also over 440 yards, but for three-year-olds.
There was a purse of $46,325 in that race with $22,662 going to Top Shelf and $9,744 to Valiant Stevie B. Interes Fino, owned by Stojan and trained by Leech, took $4,985 for third.
Robert McCutheon owns Top Shelf and WT Ranches Valiant Stevie B. O. Hernandez was aboard Top Shelf, D. Benitez on Valiant Stevie B and Botello on Interes Fino.
Sizzling Wagon won the BOA John Deere Juvenile Challenge, and $24,350 of the $50,731 purse money, at J.D.A. Raceway on July 31.
In another interesting quarter horse race on Sunday, Appreciate, owned by Janice and Barry Sather of Beaverlodge and ridden by Alfredo Amador, won the Jerry Stojan Memorial Race, over 300 yards for maidens, taking $3,975 of the $7,500 purse.
Zillas Dusty was disqualified in that race for drifting, and making contact, almost the entire width of the race track from its No. 6 hole and it was determined that Jiffy Cruise, from the No 2 hole, wasn’t given a fair start and bettors were refunded.
Saturday’s feature race was the Marathon Series Stakes race over 1 1/16 miles. Rowdyrooster, owned by Cranky Acres Stables and Rick and Clayton Wiest, won that one taking home $4,770 of the $9,000 purse. Trevor Simpson, the leading jockey at The Horses At Evergreen Park with three weekends to go, was in the saddle and the horse is trained by Jim Depew.
Rowdy Rooster was claimed after the race and is now owned by Jack Bolin and trained by Clint Rycroft.
Racing continues August 13-14 with 1:15 p.m. post times both days. It is Memorial/Pioneer Weekend and many who have contributed to horse racing will be saluted at J.D.A. Raceway.
William Leech is going to be busy on Sunday. His pockets could also end up being quite a bit fuller too.
The veteran trainer is in charge of six of the 12 horses entered in two of the biggest quarter horse races of the season at The Horses At Evergreen Park at J.D.A. Raceway.
In Race 4 Sunday, the Bank of America Adequan Challenge over 400 yards for three-year-olds, Leech takes care of Interes Fino and Destello de Luna. Interes Fino is owned by local Chuck Stojan and is being ridden by J.B. Botello. Leech and Jane and Haley Moreno own Interes Fino.
Top Shelf, Valiant Stevie B, Wave Burner and Firelicious - trained by former local trainer Tim Rycroft, ridden by J.C. Rogue and owned by Beckham Ranches - are also involved in the race Bucky Stockwell trains both Top Shelf (owned by Robert McCutcheon and ridden by O.A. Hernandez) and Valiant Stevie B while W.T. Oulton trains, D.I. Benitez is riding and WT Ranches owns Wave Burner.
That race has a purse of $35,136 and is set to start at 2:15 p.m.
Right after that race, with an anticipated 2:35 p.m. post, is the Bank of America Challenge. It is also over 400 yards and is for three-year-olds and up and has a purse of $44,132.
Leech looks after Hortons Real Deal, Get It Foose, Flight Club (all three owned by Stojan) as well as Bright Foo Fighter – owned by Gonetothebrightside Syndcate). Jockey A. Anbrade is on Horton, R. Moreno on Getit Foose and Botello on Flight Club.
The other horses in the race are Honor The Fast Man, owned and trained by Tom Kenway and ridden by M. Ortiz, and Rowdyvision, who is trained by M. Moreno, owned by Isaak Fehr and ridden by A.T. Amador.
Winners from the two races will qualify to take part in the Bank of American Championship Challenge in Philadelphia in the fall.
There are seven races both days with 1:15 p.m. first posts.
Highlight race of the day on Saturday is the Marathon Series Stakes. A run of 1 1/16 miles for a purse of $9,000.
Local interest in that is in Roman Steel and Turnaround. Grande Prairie’s Jason Coney owns and trains Roman Steel, being ridden by O. Foster, while local Clint Rycroft trains and owns, with Dan Ireland and Dustin Pierlot, Turnaround. R. Lunan is steering that horse.
There is no admission fee to watch the racing.
Have you ever had Smoked Shotgun Shells?
How about Bacon-Blasted Wild Horse BBQ Wings?Or maybe Bacon Bourbon Cake?
It can all be in your hands at Baconfest II - The Power Of Bacon at The Horses At Evergreen Park at J.D.A. Raceway on Sunday, August 7.
Those three morsels are just some of the many bacon-themed items available on the 7th. There are much more and prizes too!
Admission to the races is free and you can buy as many tickets you want so you can try all the bacon items.
The County of Grande Prairie Firefighters will be back helping out, and a portion of ticket sales will be going to their charity - Sexsmith and Area Food Bank.
Baconfest is a great chance for kids to check out a fire truck. One will be on site during the day.
The bacon stations will be set up from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. on the south side of Gordon Badger Stadium. Each food item ticket is $3.
Guests will be given a passport, that will be stamped at the food stations they attend. Once their passport is filled out, that will be entered into a draw for one of several prizes. Must be in attendance to win.
Musician Denis Gallant will be performing during the afternoon from noon to 4 p.m.
Come visit us and Pig Out At The Park!
It was a slow start, but a great finish for Grande Prairie Derby 2022 champion horse Sea Splendor at Derby Day at The Horses At Evergreen Park at J.D.A. Raceway on Sunday.
The three-year-old Kentucky-bred was in sixth place out of seven horses just out of the gates, moved to fourth at the ¼ and ½ poles in the one-and-one-sixteen mile run before slipping into third at the ¾ pole and first down the stretch to win by 1 ¼ lengths and take home $15,370 of the $29,000 purse.
Richard Lunan was on board guiding Sea Splendor to its third win in seven starts for trainer Craig Smith and owners Highfield Investment Group Inc./Dialed In Racing/Graham Thoroughbreds/True North Stable
El Fantasma was second and Tricky Speedster third.
The GP Derby ended a great day of racing that also included the GP Oaks and the Bank of America John Deere Juvenile Challenge Canadian final four quarter-horses.
In the Oaks, for three-year-old fillies, Diplomatica, trained by Tim Rycroft and owned by Beckham Ranch, raced to the lead off the get-go and didn’t relinquish finishing well ahead of runner-up Steve Wonder Girl and third place finisher Mazie G.
Jockey J.C. Roque was in the saddle and helped the team to $14,575 of the $27,500 in prize money. It was Diplomatica’s second win in eight tries, but the horse has earned Beckham Ranch $48,081 since it starting racing in 2021.
One of the more intriguing races of the day was the John Deere Juvenile Challenge.
Sizzling Wagon, a 25-1 longshot, was the winner over 350 yards netting owner Buckey Stockwell $24,350 of the $50,731 purse. Andrew Wright was behind the reins and Glenn Willis is the horse’s trainer. Noble Rearing was second and Northfork Boss third.
The favorite going into the race was the Jerry Stojan-owned horse Professor Gee, which finished in fourth place.
Sizzling Wagon had now qualified to take part in the BOA John Deer Juvenile Championship Challenge in Philadelphia in the fall.
Another race of interest Sunday, at least for the Evergreen Park Racing Club, was a seven furlongs run that saw Club horse Ynotgiveitago finish in fifth place out of six horses. Buck West won that race with Equivocator second and Bradyaboss in third.
In another stakes race Sunday, this time for quarter horses three and up over 350 yards, Rocky League, with Ricardo Moreno on board, won the battle for owner/trainer Kevin Oberholtzer, and $5,305 of the $11,200 in purse money while Movin Timber was second and Obsessed Way third.
There were a couple of thoroughbred stakes races on Saturday.
In the Distaff Series, over six furlongs, Sterling Aly was the winner for trainer/owner Lyle Magnuson while in the Sprint Series, over six furlongs as well, El Dorado Storm took first for trainer Travis Robson and owners Charlie Weaselhead/Warner Many Bears/Max Gibb.
The weekend races marked the halfway point of the racing season at The Horses At Evergreen Park. Racing continues Saturdays and Sundays with 1:15 p.m. first posts until Sunday, August 28.
Per second on the track the horse that had the largest payout last year at The Horses At Evergreen Park was named Chasin Harm (in yellow left.
The five-year-old gelding earned over $1,000 per second for owner Delia Cross Child.
The total purse was $9,000 and the race was over 110 yards. It took Chasin Harm just 7.460 seconds to complete the run. The track record is 7.014 set by First Prize Sass in 2017.
On Sunday, six horses will be chasing that 7.014 record, and a cut of the $10,000 purse this year, in the 110 yard Grande Prairie Sprint – the shortest race of the season at J.D.A. Raceway.
It is Race 4 for set for a 2:30 p.m. post time.
Chasin Harm won’t be there to defend and of the six entered the Park Pick to win is Obsessed Bug.
There are seven races Saturday and another seven on Sunday at J.D.A. Raceway with 1:15 p.m. first posts.
Feature race for Saturday is the Marathon Series Leg 1 over a mile for a purse of $9,000.
Also Sunday is the Wiener Dog Derby. There will be semifinal heats after Race 2 and Race 3 and the final after Race 5. A costume contest will take place after Race 4 near the grandstand.
A fundraiser for Tiny Hands of Hope is being held via a 50/50. Anyone interested in supporting can purchase tickets online here or from one of the sellers at the Dog Derby on Sunday.
Evergreen Park is going to become Evergreen Bark on July 24.
The second Wiener Dog Derby is planned for that day and it promises to be a day of fun and frolic as the little critters compete in front of the grandstand at J.D.A. Raceway. First Derby was 2019, but because of the pandemic it was put on hold for two years.
Deadline to register for the races has been extended to noon on Friday, July 22. Information and registration form is available here or by clicking on the graphic to the right.
The mutts hit the track between races at The Horses At Evergreen Park with first horse racing post 1:15 p.m.
There is also a costume contest for daschunds and other fun events planned for participants and spectators to enjoy. A 50/50 is being held with proceeds to Tiny Hands Of Hope. You can access the online 50/50 by clicking on the logo to the left or purchase tickets at the event.
For more information phone 780-532-3279.
Revenue Canada Charitable Registration # 107446668RR0001