CALGARY – Calgarians will be anxiously watching the Calgary Stampede’s annual chuckwagon canvas auction on Thursday.
Businesses are able to bid on advertising rights for the tarps which cover 36 different chuckwagons during the 2016 GMC Rangeland Derby.
WATCH:The Calgary Stampede tarp auction is often referred to as a barometer of our economic health. But is it really reflective of what is going on? Gord Gillies looks back on a few key years in our city’s economy.
The event is considered an economic barometer of sorts, with the amount of money advertisers are willing to spend reflective of how the city’s economy is doing.
In 2015, the canvas auction brought in a total of $2.782 million with the highest bid made by Tsuu T’ina Nation for 2014 champion Kurt Bensmiller at $170,000.
Click through the gallery below to see average, highest and total bids from 2007 to 2015:
Proceeds from the auction help chuckwagon racers care for their horses throughout the season.
WATCH: Learn more about the 2016 canvas auction for the GMC Rangeland Derby
Mark Sutherland concerned about canvas auction outcome
One of the most high-profile drivers in chuckwagon racing admits he is more nervous than usual heading into the 2016 season.
Mark Sutherland lost his job in the oil and gas industry a year ago, and says he is very concerned about the impact on sponsors for the upcoming Rangeland Derby.
“If the money isn’t there at the sale, eventually some of these chuckwagon drivers are going to – for lack of a better term – go out of business,” Sutherland said.
Sutherland said he appreciates companies have to rein in spending these days, but when it comes to animal care and costs on the chuckwagon circuit, there’s little room for drivers to cut back.
WATCH: Slumping economy raises big concerns for Mark Sutherland
The canvas auction kicks off at 3:30 p.m. at the Boyce Theatre in Stampede Park.
2015 Canvas Auction kicks off Stampede countdown