Racer placed 24th at 2011 Stampede
Typically, most people work from nine to five for their job. On the other hand, chuckwagon driver Jordie Fike, 26, works from five to nine for his spring and summer job.
On a typical day during the warmer seasons, Jordie needs to feed his horses a few times a day, make sure the horses have clean stalls to sleep in, take the horses for a two-to-three-kilometre run, bathe them when needed and make sure each and every horse is healthy and in peak running condition.
“There’s no way I could hold a full-time job during the season. If I had one, I’d have a pretty angry boss that’s for sure,” Jordie said with a bit of a chuckle.
He also added that from April until September, chuckwagon racing is his full-time job for both himself and the few hired staff he has helping him with the daily tasks that go along with it.
While Jordie only began racing on the World Professional Chuckwagon Association’s tour in 2010, his roots in the sport date back to his days watching his grandfather Ron David race wagons for nearly 40 years.
Photo by Ian EsplenJordie was hooked on the sport from the first time he got into a wagon with his grandfather and still remembers barely being able to see over the seat. After that day, Jordie would sneak into his grandfather’s wagon whenever he could.
Along with his grandfather’s connection to the sport, ordie competes against (as a fellow driver) and with (as one of his outriders) his younger brother Chad, 25, the reigning WPCA world champion outrider.
“It helps having your brother around. He helps me out a lot with the driving and caring for the horses,” Chad said.
Chad will be returning the favour and caring for his older brother’s horse at this year’s Calgary Stampede, as well as suiting up as one of his outriders.
Jordie will also have his wife Tamara, two hired hands and his mother helping him with the Stampede. Being with his family is what Jordie enjoys most about the sport.
“I get to be with my horses, who are a part of my family,” Jordie said. “I also get to spend a lot of time with my family because they are always on the road with me, helping me out and giving me support.”
Photo by Ian EsplenAnd over the years, Jordie has seen his family grow to now include 39 horses – purchased after the horses are done racing on the track. He has travelled as far away as Phoenix, Arizona and paid anywhere from merely the time and gas money to simply go pick one up,to as high as $8,000 for a horse.
“Buying the horse is the cheapest part of the sport. It’s the looking after them that is expensive.”
Jordie estimates he spends roughly $80,000 a year for food and maintenance of his horses, depending on the price of hay.
And that is why making it to the Calgary Stampede takes a financial load off of Jordie’s shoulders.
“Once you get to Calgary, it takes a load off you financially, because you get the sponsors’ money and the money from the races.”
Making it to his first Calgary Stampede, GMC Rangeland Derby in 2011 is still the highlight of Jordie’s career – He finished 24th overall in the Aggregate standings that year.
His goal this year is to build on his 2011 experience and finish in the top 18 of the 36-team field.
You can catch Jordie Fike, driving the BD & P Put the Boots to Hunger chuckwagon every evening from July 5-14. Races start at 7:45p.m.