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Baptiste wins second CPCA buckle

By August 26, 2022No Comments
CPCA driver Todd Baptiste comes flying out of the infield during Heat 8 on the final night of the New Lloydminster Nissan CPCA Finals at Halstead Downs. Taylor Weaver Meridian Source

 

When the dust settled at Halstead Downs, it was Todd Baptiste who found himself driving home in a brand-new Nissan Pathfinder. 

The New Lloydminster Nissan Canadian Professional Chuckwagon Association (CPCA) Finals wrapped up five days of racing on Sunday afternoon with a dash for cash, the keys to a new SUV, and bragging rights for a year.

After maintaining a position in the top-four drivers all season, Baptiste, a fourth-year CPCA driver from Cando, Sask., found himself in the final dash against the likes of 2022 High Point Champion Jamie Laboucane, 2021 NACC Champion Logan Gorst, and 2021 Meadow Lake show champ Preston Faithful.

This is Baptiste’s second CPCA buckle after winning the 2019 title.

Despite the fact Laboucane was the high points champ going into Sunday’s dash, a bit of luck at the barrel draw gave Baptiste a bit of a confidence boost.

“We were left with the one barrel and I was pretty pleased with that, definitely needed that to help me beat these guys,” said Baptiste. “The race was very tight and we really had to drive.”

Even though this wasn’t Baptiste’s first CPCA title, it still felt just as sweet as the first. 

“I’m pretty excited. It doesn’t feel real yet, but we’ll let the feeling set in over the next couple of days, but definitely, it’s a real good feeling, winning another title,” he said.

“The competition’s been very, very competitive this year, as we’ve seen tonight, and for the last four nights with the three guys I was with, really shows the competitiveness here.”

If Sunday’s big win wasn’t enough, Baptiste’s excitement went through the roof when he found out he beat the track record with a time of 1:12:97.

“I didn’t even know that happened, and that’s really special, too, you couldn’t ask for anymore,” he said. 

“The horses really were good. I made a change last minute last night and was going to run my right leaders, and I went back to my old faithful. I said ‘I think he’s going to do it tonight,’ sure enough, he did his job and we’re really pleased with how he ran.”

After another long racing season on the road, Baptiste is looking forward to enjoying his win and reflecting on the season that was.

“It’s been a roller coast this year for us. We’ve been battling sicknesses, injuries, having to mix teams up and putting horses in new positions, so there’s been lots of ups and downs. We had some good runs and won the Frog Lake dash, (and set a new) track record there, too,” he said.

“We’re very fortunate our horses were able to sustain the whole entire summer, are still here, and are able to go home with us, that’s the biggest thing for us as drivers. We care for these animals so much each and every day for six months of the year.

“The horses are a part of our family, but the unsung heroes are not only myself but my barn crew that are there each day, from morning to night, taking care of these animals. That’s number one, and that’s where it starts, in the barn, and you get to show your experience and your horse care out on the track.”