GLENDO – A cloud of dust and a “high-hoe Silver” will be ringing out this coming weekend in Glendo as the annual Horseshoe Valley Chariot Races are set for Jan. 29-30 as the qualifying in preparation for the Wyoming State Chariot Racing Championship March 5-6.
“It’s been over 20 years,” said organizer and chariot racer Gene Daly. “Money taken in by the group goes to help the Glendo FFA, 4H and the youth group. The sport is not too dangerous,” Daly said. “They have their horses fairly well broke, as long as they just don’t have a wreck. We’ve had some wrecks out here and it really gets the adrenaline going. We had one team that come out and hit a hump and threw the rider out. That’s why we have the outriders to catch up the runaway chariot.”
According to Daly, the teams had to have four outs to qualify for the state tournament.
One of those veteran 50-year-olds is Tom Nelson who hails from western Wyoming. Nelson is 58 years old and has been racing chariots since he was 17.
“My dad was in it when I was younger,” Nelson said. “I just came following him into it. It was primarily in Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, Colorado and Oregon had some teams years ago. They started racing their horses in the olden days. The horses they brought their milk into town with. So they started betting and they were running them down the main street of Thane, Wyoming. They stared with sleighs and then went to wheels about 50 years ago.”
According to Nelson, the sport grew and gained momentum with better horses and equipment until it came to what it is today with more sophisticated rigs. He also mentioned that because of the sleighs, they couldn’t run on dirt so it was pretty much a winter sport.
The races begin Saturday at noon and Sunday at 11 a.m. and the races are held at Horseshoe valley about two-thirds of a mile north of Glendo on Highway 319.
The gate entry fee is $5 for ages 12 and over. There will be a happy hour and Calcutta on Friday night for the Saturday races at Angler’s Bar at 6 p.m.
Saturday night there will be a dinner and Calcutta for the Sunday races at Micke’s Restaurant at 6 p.m.
Tickets for dinner are $10 for adults, $5 for 12 year old and younger. Under 3 – you eat free. Additional Calcutta auctions will be going on during the races. Proceeds from the Calcutta Races will be going to the Glendo 4-H and FFA chapter.