Sunday, August 26, 2012

R.I.P. Ward Willard

Ward Willard May 7, 1946 - August 23, 2012 The World Professional Chuckwagon Association was saddened by the sudden and unexpected passing of Ward Willard on Thursday, August 23, 2012 from an apparent heart attack at the age of 66. Ward was a 2nd generation wagon man who started his career in 1971. Over his 28 year career, Ward carved out an impressive record. He was the 1994 World Champion Chuckwagon Driver, and won 15 show championships in his illustrious career including all the major events of the day. He won the Calgary Stampede Rangeland Derby in 1995 and made a total of 2 appearances in the Calgary Stampede Rangeland Derby’s winner-take-all championship final heat. Among his many victories, some of Ward’s most prestigious wins included the Cheyenne Frontier Days 3 consecutive years from 1977-1979 and the Ponoka Stampede in back to back years in 1978 and 1979. He won the Battle of the Giants in 1981, twice won the Big M Stampede in Morris Manitoba in 1989 and 1993, the Klondike Chuckwagon Derby in Edmonton in 1995 and the Grande Prairie Stompede Championship in 1996. He did not compete between 1983 and 1988, and last competed as a chuckwagon driver at the Calgary Stampede in 1999. In addition to being a top chuckwagon driver, Ward was also a top notch thoroughbred horse trainer. His Whispering Winds stable has produced several champion race horses. Ward will be missed by all in the WPCA, and we extend our sincere condolences to the Willard family. Funeral arrangements have not been announced at this time. Keep checking or for more information on the life and death of champion chuckwagon driver Ward Willard. Story by Billy Melville I knew Ward and once time he saw me in my Roping Clothes and have me the biggest and nicest compliment l ever got... he told me l dressed like Roy Rogers.