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BREAKING GLASS WITH Chuck Wagon Driver Jason Glass and the fate of the Calgary Stampede

Updated: Sep 1

CELEBRITY NEWS

CHRIS TUTTY TALKS WITH CHUCKWAGON DRIVER/ WESTHOLLYWOOD STUNTMAN

JASON GLASS


ARTWORK AND ARTICLE BY

CHRIS W. TUTTY


The Calgary Stampede survived the great flood of 2013 (that’s another article on its own), two world wars and the Great Depression. With daily crowds of over 100,000 a day will the COVID-19 pandemic affect the this years' Stampede?


I get that feeling that social distancing at The Calgary Stampede might not be all that easy. Every day since the pandemic started in March in Calgary, I sit in my office and write or do marketing while watching the Price is Right (Bob was the best).


Global News March 24, 2020


It seems every half an hour Dr. Theresa Tam the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada interrupts any sort of isolation distraction or daydream of winning a car and reminds us this is serious and we all must come together and do something positive. Even funnier is listening to the actor comedian Micheal Rapaport, you might remember him in Friends, in True Romance yelling and dropping massive F bombs at dirty little, grubby, selfish Yolo, dumb tattooed faced kids to get the F inside and isolate.



I'm sick of all this negativity, all the people with their hands out and no helping hands up. Some of these people are using it for an excuse to watch Netflix and permanently chill, while others are definitely going to be financially ruined. How can we turn this around to get into a better place?


For myself, I’m going to spend my time shedding some light on some of the people that make this city proud, and make this country great.



Morning Show Host at CJAY92 Jesse Modz and his son Nixon went viral after posting on twitter about Nixon, who couldn't have a birthday party this year due to to COVID-19. What a sweetheart right!


One of my favorite positive moments during this crisis was CJAY 92 Morning man Jesse Modz posted: “This is my oldest son Nixon. Today is his 7th birthday. He is very upset he can’t go to school, and even more upset that he can’t have a proper birthday party. He had to do home reading today. How about we make his reading all the happy birthday comments? Put a smile on his face.” The response was amazing and went viral, everyone from Brett The Hitman Hart to Wolf Blitzer from CNN chimed in to wish Nixon a happy birthday. We also have Calgarians like Quinn Teechma raising money for mental health by going around the city and taking pictures of people inside their houses in isolation. Even that bright spark of an idea was snuffed out by the government and deemed unsafe practice of quarantine and self isolation.


FEBRUARY'S DOG STAR QUINN TEECHMA


Maybe we should focus on some of the organizers and participants that make an event like Calgary Stampede what it is and continues to be, The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.  I think I'm going to make the focus of this article on a man I have known in this city for about 25 years, Jason Glass, aka the Glassman (no he doesn't do windshields). Jason Glass is a professional chuck wagon driver and spends a whole year preparing physically, mentally and financially for an event that may be cancelled this year.


Hang on while I plagiarize some facts about him and his rodeo royalty family off the good old internet. Keep in mind I will be interviewing him one on one so the points I mention are merely an introduction to a true hero of the sport of Chuck wagon Racing. An Alberta good old boy, who I’d like to call my friend. He is modest and quiet and doesn't talk too much. He doesn't brag about his accomplishments, and is a very brave man who has chosen a career in a risky and incredibly dangerous occupation.



Jason has been Chuck Wagon racing for over 30 years, and it has netted him many victories as he is one of the most successful participants in this sport. To Jason, his biggest reward is his supporting and beautiful family that are there for him in all his activities, his beautiful wife Brienne, and their two children, Bodie Kenneth and Steele Iris. They make their home in High River, Alberta, with a little bit of snow birding in the winter in their favorite spot, Hawaii.


His dreams are of eating spaghetti on the beach in the off season, Netflix later, and chill with his favorite lady and a glass of fine wine.


CHRIS LAST YEAR AT STAMPEDE


Trust me though this is no sleeping lion, to describe Jason would be more like a lean mean timber wolf always on the run and ready for whatever comes his way.


Four-time world champion Jason Glass comes from a long line of chuck wagon driving champions: he's the son of four-time Stampede champion Tom Glass, the grandson of four-time Stampede champion Ron Glass and great-grandson of three-time Stampede champion Tom Lauder, who competed in the very first chuck wagon races here in 1923. So to say he was born into this sport would be an understatement.


Amongst his other awards; a four time Calgary Stampede Aggregate winner, 1998 Ponoka Stampede winner, Guy Weadick Award in 2010, four Calgary Stampede Safe Drive Awards for least penalized driver, the WPCA Clean Drive Award in 2008, the WPCA's Top Rookie Driver in 1989, Top Rookie Outrider in 1987, the WPCA's Most Improved Chuckwagon Outfit Award in 1990, and the WPCA’s Most Improved Outrider in 1988.


In the off-season Jason works as a stuntman in the movie industry and was Leornardo Di Caprio’s stunt double in his Oscar Award winning performance in The Revenant (2015), as well as having worked in the company of stars such as Eddie Murphy, Owen Wilson, Jackie Chan and Robert Duval.


In order to understand Jason Glass and his accomplishments you really need some knowledge of this sport, so bear with me for a quick history lesson and a synopsis of Chuck wagon 101.


Guy Weadick was one of the founders of chuck wagon racing and the Calgary Stampede. Growing up on cattle ranches in 1922 near Gleichen Alberta, Weadick witnessed many impromptu races between ranch outfits at the end of the yearly round-ups where the wagons would race to the nearest town saloon and the last ones there had to buy the first round of drinks.


CHRIS HAS ALWAYS LOVED THE STAMPEDE - Chris Tutty and David Shark Fralick from the Young and the Restless back at the Blake Willard Firewagon Barns with Calgary Flames Hockey player Theo Fleury.


“Weadick gained financing from the Big Four: George Lane, owner of the Bar U Ranch; two other wealthy ranchers, Patrick Burns and A. E. Cross; and A. J. McLean, provincial secretary. He staged the first Calgary Stampede September 2–7, 1912, when ranchers and farmers had finished the harvesting and would be free to attend. - The following is a direct cut and paste from Wikipedia.


Weadick arranged for 200 head of Mexican steers, 200 bucking steers, and wild horses to be brought in from the ranches around Calgary. In order to entice top quality competitors, $20,000 in championship money and world championship titles were offered. The prize money was about four times the closest competition, causing riders from across North America to arrive in the 1912 Stampede. In 1919, Weadick and Calgary Industrial Exhibition manager, E. L. Richardson, agreed to combine the rodeo events with the Calgary Industrial Exhibition and, in 1923, Weadick and Richardson co-founded the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede as an annual event.”


The next question would be what is chuck wagon racing?

Is it as complicated as English cricket? Is it as dangerous as a shark wrangling? Yes and no! The sport is controversial as horses and drivers are frequently injured or killed, prompting animal welfare groups to call for the sport to be banned.To say that chuck wagon races are exciting and entertaining is another story altogether.


CHRIS ATTENDED THE CALGARY STAMPEDE IN PAST YEARS WITH FBI'S MOST WANTED STAR NATHANIEL ARCAND


Chuck wagon racing is a team event, led by a driver who commands a team of horses pulling the chuck wagon (Aka Jason), and is supported by two or four outriders. Each year due to safety regulations there are less and less outriders, each racing individual thoroughbred horses that follow the chuckwagon. Each race typically involves three or four teams, and begins with the outriders "breaking camp", by tossing two tent poles (with four outriders only, two now due to safety regulations) and a barrel representing a camp stove into the back of their wagon before mounting their horses and following the wagons as they complete a figure eight around two barrels before circling a race track.


The first wagon to cross the finish line typically wins, although various time penalties are handed out for infractions such as a barrel being knocked over, a tent pole or stove not loaded, wagon interference or an outrider crossing the finish line too far behind his wagon driver.


Wow with all that said I hope you have a better understanding of this sport, but let's face it the only way to really experience this sport is to come to the Calgary Stampede and see it, hear it, and feel it with your own eyes, as the race explodes around the tract with a winner take all.


JASON GLASS


The moment of truth was about to unfold if I was to get this interview. I was told to show up early to the barns and talk with Jason after he feeds the horses. As the hot sun beat down, I thanked the lord for the common sense of pulling a Houdini and escaping last night's festivities.


As I walk to the barns I’m greeted by a mountain of a man, (Game of Thrones Mountain) shirtless 6’8” Terminator Tim Marten, a firefighter with a cigarette in hand, he politely greets me and tells me Jason is on his way. This guy was basically Jason’s pit crew, he knew all the ins and out, from snaps, straps, lines to boots and buckles.


Oh here comes the glass truck and trailer, Jason's signature is a black and white checkered flag design or in my mind the cool type of vans Spicolli wore in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Like a puck bunny I rapidly hopped from Tim to Jason as he pulled up.



JASON GLASS Q & A WITH CHRIS W. TUTTY


CHRIS: Hi guys. I'm with rodeo royalty, it's your buddy Chris Tutty interviewing none other than Jason Glass.


Now, I have been a fan of this guy for probably 25 years at least it seems like it. The first time, I came down here with Sheldon Kennedy things were a lot different back then, man. I think we drove up in the GMC Envoy and they let us park in the barns on the gates. We may or may not have had a cooler in the vehicle as well. I'm just wondering how things have changed since then?


JASON: You know, I've been here for 48 years since I was born, and you know it’s a whole different world back here. It's a lot more of a business. I would say everyone still has fun, but it's not the party like it used to be. We put a lot of time and effort and money into the race and wagons and taking care of horses as best we can. So it's changed a bunch.


ARTWORK OF JASON GLASS BY CHRIS. TUTTY


CHRIS: I think that both of us have grown up a little bit more since 1990, you more than me, for sure. You got the wife and the lovely kids twins too, as well.


JASON: Yeah. No things have changed in my life too. I've got way more control over my life and you know Chris I've got a great family, two twins that are eight years old and the beautiful wife Brianne, so I live in a beautiful world. No, absolutely. I mean, like I said, the good old days, there were big campfires down here.


JASON GLASS


CHRIS: Yes and little people and big people riding around on mini bikes, trikes and gators.


JASON: Yup ha ha, it got a little reckless too. I think safety, they have really improved things here.


CHRIS: Ya I think all the servers of alcohol have to have their proserve and you just can’t bring in a bottle of Crown or Jack anymore.


JASON: Yeah, no, everything's watched over very carefully. It's a, you know, safety first at the Calgary Stampede and, yes take care of the sponsors and all the fans and friends that are around here. So, you know, it's still a great place to be.


CHRIS: Do you think it's better this way now?  Because I mean before it was a lot like the other rodeos, kids running everywhere, camp fires, a little bit more of a community event. Is it  better now that it's a little more serious?


JASON: I think it's better, cause you know, I always put the horses first and their safety's the most important thing in my mind. So, you know, the less people around here and the safer it is and the, you know, when the party's all under control, the horses rest better. And you know, it's just safer for the horses, and that's the bottom line, the best dramatic change that I've seen. For sure!


CHRIS: Now you actually came from a long line of family since Guy Weidick back in the day in the races, What was the prize money back then?


JASON: Oh, who knows? They might have raced for a case of beer for all I know, but, uh, yeah,  it's kind of a long way from that $75 bucks or something like that.


Chris Tutty, Tim Marten aka Hightower and Jason Glass by Kevin Durrant


CHRIS: Yeah, what would that be in today's money? I'll have to convert that for the article later. ($75 bucks in 1922 is worth around $1100 today.)


JASON: Peanuts for sure! But yeah, it's been going on for a long time. My great grandfather, Tom Lauder, raced back in 1923 so it was my great grandfather, then my grandpa Ronnie Glass, my father Tom Glass, and now myself. So we've been around here a long time.


CHRIS: Wow, man! As a young kid, even watching the races, it kind of seemed like a Greek god on a golden chariot, rounding burning barrels with four demon horses of the apocalypse, and a skeleton crew of outriders behind it. Is this an accurate representation of what goes on?  Or, how do you see it?


JASON: Well, you know, you can compare it to any sport, even rock stars or whatever, if you look back 20, 30, 40 years ago in any industry compared to today, I mean,  things have changed. It's, uh, it costs a lot of money to get things done.


CHRIS WITH JASON back in 2008


JASON’S PHONE RINGS BUT HE IGNORES IT


CHRIS: And the phone is always ringing!


JASON: And the phone is always ringing! So the phone's ringing right now. As always, no matter what industry you look into you know, it's, some stuff is the same and some changed. And you know, you just gotta go with the flow and you know, and keep going. You've got to wake up every day and want to go to work.


CHRIS: Jason you are a rockstar ha ha, speaking of which there's less outriders now too as well. I believe your dad, Tom, was an outrider,  you as well.


JASON: Yeah! Yeah! There used to be four outriders that followed each wagon. Now there's only two. So that's almost where the family started out. You know, I started out-riding first and then I started driving a couple of years later. And it's the proper way to do it. You kind of learn how things work out on the race track and  then jump forward  once you get things figured out a little bit more.


CHRIS: And how does the outrider thing work? Is that kinda like picking a hockey team? Is there a draft or do you just have to throw money at a guy like Rio and say hey man, or do you need to know one of the Cosgroves, I mean that's an important element to the team.


JASON: Yeah they are very important, You know, if I was an outrider, I would ride for a certain person first and then down the list. You know, I got to ride for one guy over the other, so that's how I'll ride and it works. Then some outriders  ride all nine heats, so they gotta prioritize who they ride for first to last. So as a wagon driver, you try to get the best, that's for sure.



CHRIS: So if you bring the heat to a heat, what does that mean exactly? Like what is the heat?


JASON: A heat is  a chuck wagon race. So, you know, the first race of the night, we call it a heat and the last race of the night, it's also called the heat.


CHRIS: So things get heated up. What's the  aggregate? I don't quite understand that. I kind of do, but I'm just pretending and I want to educate my three readers, my mom, my dad and myself.


JASON I hear you. Ha, ha. It’s a combined time after a certain amount of days. So here, after eight days,  you add up everybody's times, including penalties and the fastest wagon is your Aggregate  Champion.



CHRIS: Okay! I understand they refer to you as the Glassman. Because you seem to break a lot of records. Is that true?


JASON: You know, we've had lots of serious success over the years. I've been here at the Calgary Stampede for 30 years, you know, so it's over time. If you work hard enough and try hard enough and you have a lot of beautiful horses, you know, you're going to be fortunate and win some stuff. So yeah, it's been great. A fun one we do have is the track record (fastest around the track ever) 108.75!


CHRIS: I was in the infill the other night and they said it was 109, and I didn't think it was 109, I thought it was a little less.


JASON: Yeah someone needs to do their homework. It was 108.75!


CHRIS: That extra fraction of a second in this type of sport means everything, doesn't it?


JASON: Yeah, for sure. It was a very fast, a very fast run.


CHRIS: And , like in 2008 or something?


JASON: Yeah, I'm not sure when it was, it was a few years ago, but it'd be tough to beat.


CHRIS: I remember being at one of your celebrations here. That might be back in 2008, but I think you guys had a band and everything.


JASON: Yeah, we used to rock this place pretty good. I used to have a band every year at the last night of the stampede, and we had hundreds of people around here and the party never ended until the sun came up.


ART WORK OF JASON BY CHRIS W. TUTTY

CHRIS: I remember being at one of your celebrations here. That might be back in 2008, but  I think you guys had a band and everything.


JASON: Yeah, we used to rock this place pretty good. I used to have a band every year at the last night of the stampede, and we had hundreds of people around here and the party never ended until the sun came up.


CHRIS: I remember those days, man, I don't know how I survived some of those days as well, but it  was kinda neat. I think we've touched on a lot of things here at the Stampede. What kind of money is it that's up for grabs  you know, with some of the penalties, I understand that you had some mishap, uh, are you okay to talk about that?


JASON: Yeah, for sure. It's been a great Stampede. My horses had been running excellent every night, one night I didn't have so much luck. My horses ducked on me and I hit a barrel. So, you know, that took us out of the running to be in the finals here. But other than that, the horses had been running great every night.



CHRIS: So how does it work standing wise for money is what I'm trying to understand. Like throughout the aggregate, how does a Chuckwagon driver make money throughout the Stampede?


JASON: Well, every night we run, first place gets paid $6,000, and second place gets paid a little bit less. So it's prorated down from 1 to 36. So everybody gets paid every night. It just depends on how much. And then at the end of the Stampede, the last race, there's $150,000 up for grabs. And so that gets split up accordingly, with whoever makes the final race, and then, you know, the main money that comes into the wagon driver's pocket is from the sponsorship. You know, my sponsor is Birchcliff Energy and this group has been with our family, you know, Jeff Tonken and Larry Shaw, and they've been sponsoring our family for like 35 years with different companies. So, you know, that's the main money is our sponsorship. Um, prize money. It’s decent. It could probably be double, you know, for the amount of work. and money that a wagon driver spends. The prize money, it's good, but it could be better. And the sponsorship is where it's at.


CHRIS: Yah the Tarp Auction for the wagon is a big thing every year. Wagons are auctioned off for the chance for companies to put their logo on your wagon appearing on national tv and the races. I did a painting of one of your wagons one year sponsored by M.J. Water Hauling commissioned by Darren Bishop.


JASON: Yup it’s hanging on my wall.


CHRIS: Wow! That's great, these horses, are they ever treated well? I think they have a better life than me or you in some aspects. Like, I mean, they get to go out and run around and play, but, a lot of people I don't think understand the day to day work that you have to do. Can you take us through your day to day interactions with the horses !


JASON: Yeah, I mean, that's a long story. We could talk about the horses for days and days. I mean, the short version of it, is it's every day of the year for me. You know, I have probably 35 horses, and so it never ends. You're always, buying, selling, trading, training, taking care of them. You know, so my horses, they get everything from their feet to their teeth done, you name it. They get it right down to the nutrition!


CHRIS TUTTY, CHRIS POTTER


CHRIS: Ya someone told me one of your horses has veneers or something like mine.


JASON: Exactly! Ha! Ha! But no, seriously, they get it all. Whatever they need they get like chiropractic, or dental care. They're taking care of a way better than we take care of ourselves.


CHRIS: So basically they're like Calgary Flames hockey players.


JASON: Ha! Ha! Uh, they are sports stars.



CHRIS: They are sports stars. And, do you have any benchwarmers so I know you've got four stars here right now, but could you talk about those horses?


JASON: Yeah, the horses I compare them to any sports team. You know, you got your number one, two, three, lines. I got a lot of beautiful horses in the barns. There's 20 heads here,so, you know, I love them all.


CHRIS: OKAY who’s starting today. Lanny? Theo?


JASON: Tonight it'll be a Bear, and Bob, and Jep, and Man are the four that are going to start in tonight’s lineup.


CHRIS: You have a beautiful white horse too I remember, do you still have him?


JASON: Yeah. I got two gray horses in the barn. Baffert and Smokey's the other one. I've had Smokey here at the Calgary Stampede for probably 10 or 11 years.


CHRIS: Wow! Can we dabble a little bit on some of the things you do on the side for work. Do you remember when we had to be huddled in the cold tent up in TIsuu T’ina Nation? Was it the movie Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee?


JASON: Yup, a lot of cold nights in the movie industry. So that's what I do when I'm done wagon racing, I'll go back to work in the film industry. I'm a stuntman.


CHRIS: Hollywood stuntman?


JASON: Well, Hollywood likes to come to Canada now!


CHRIS: Wild West Hollywood!


JASON: Ya, so a lot of the work is in Vancouver. So I'll go back to work and fall down and have some fun.


CHRIS: I remember, I actually got to do a scene with you in the Assassination Of Jesse James with Brad Pitt. I was one of the distinguished guests.


JASON: Yeah, that was a western, so we were doing cowboy stuff. So, um, you know, it's a lot of fun. Our family's been involved in that since the early seventies too. So, you know, it's, everything's kinda family related and we love to race and do dangerous things.


CHRIS: That's for sure. Wow! What was one of the most dangerous stunts that you did? I remember hearing a couple of them for sure.


JASON: I dunno! Anything to do with horses is always unpredictable you know, over the years I've had the opportunity to do a lot of cool stuff, probably the scariest thing was hanging out of a helicopter over Mexico city. You know, it was an old relic of a helicopter, and the cables were all rusted out and you know, you're flying around. And that's in black smog, and I didn't know if everything was going to fall apart or if I was going to bite it !


CHRIS: What movie was that?


JASON: Romeo and Juliet.


CHRIS: Oh, cool. Wow! I remember that movie. That was kind of neat. And then you also did some work with Leonardo DiCaprio?


JASON: Yeah, I worked with him on the Revenant a couple of years ago, and I've been on I think three or four of his pictures, so it's all good.You know, yeah I got to make a living somehow. And that's kind of where I fell into.


CHRIS: I'm just wondering where you see the future of this sport and were it’s going to end one day? Do you see the drivers being the only people at risk and possibly mechanical horses.


JASON: I think this sport is doing fine. You know, we got lots of young and upcoming drivers. And you know, the love of the horses and the sport is not going anywhere. You know, the fans, the drivers, the families, everyone puts so much work into taking care of these horses and,they're all race horses off and on the track and when their careers are done on the race track, they might slow down or have a minor injury, and that's when the chuck wagon drivers, get them. So I don't know if there's a maybe a couple thousand horses around that used to be on the race track that we've saved. They love to run, and that's what we give them the opportunity to do.



CHRIS: It seems like throughout the years al lot of drivers have really changed athletically wise. So what's part of your regime? Or is it just you get in shape basically looking after the horses all year?


JASON: Yeah! You know, I've never really changed much. I love to work. I work hard. I don't mess around. There's something to be done. I do it and I get it done. And I just think about keeping my head down and digging ditches. You gotta you just keep working hard and that it helps you stay in shape.


CHRIS: Still get time to play a little rec hockey too.


JASON: No, no, I don't play much hockey .I helped the boys team a little bit at practices and stuff and no, I kind of stayed out of the coaching end of it and, and hockey and that. No, I just love to hang out with my family and enjoy the beach when I get a chance.


CHRIS: And I saw the Hawaii license plate.


JASON: We've been going to have a Molokai Hawaii for eight years now, so I love it. I love it!


CHRIS: To all my friends out in LA LA land, you know, every time I'm in Los Angeles, I try to explain to them what an amazing experience it is. The Calgary Stampede in general. But for me, I'm not going to lie to you. It's always been the Chuck wagon Races. Could you could explain to them what this is all about or why they should come and check this out. That would be great!


JASON: Yeah! Anybody that likes to be outdoors and wants to try something new. You gotta Google it, look it up, Chuck wagon Racing! Anybody that comes and watches the Calgary Stampede or any Chuck wagon Race, they always come back. And, the biggest reason is because they get to come around the horses and visit all the people that are around here. And trust me, there's a lot of characters around here and beautiful animals. The chuck wagon race, there's nothing like it in the world. There's so much power, dust,dirt and mud flying.


CHRIS: And it's a huge adrenaline rush!


JASON: Yeah, it really is. I mean you really can't explain it.


CHRIS: Man I hear yah, the adrenaline and the emotion that goes into chuck wagon racing. Thank you so much for your time.


JASON: Anytime. Thank you.



ARTWORK AND INTERVIEW BY CHRIS. W TUTTY


Photo of Chris at Stampede by Katherine Calnan

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