Hugh Sinclair is out of hospital and cleared to race later this week in the next World Professional Chuckwagon Association (WPCA) race at Rocky Mountain House after a disturbing-looking accident Sunday night in the Battle of the North's Dash for Cash.
Sinclair, a five-time winner of the Dawson Creek chuckwagon championship, was injured when his team and an outrider horse had a collision in the final heat of five nights of racing. Sinclair was ejected from his wagon at the start of the race, and as drivers Kelly Sutherland, Rick Fraser and Chad Harden rounded the track, Sinclair lay injured in the infield.
Sinclair's horse handlers got his wagon off the track before the other three arrived at the finish line, and a hush fell over the capacity crowd as the paramedics on site worked on Sinclair for about 20 minutes before he was taken away in an ambulance.
Sinclair spent Sunday night in the Dawson Creek hospital and was back home in Grande Prairie Monday.
"They were in the hospital in Dawson Creek all night, and they have just left the specialist in Grande Prairie with good news," said WPCA marketing manager Meghan Chevrette-McIvor early Monday afternoon.
As Sinclair lay on the infield, there were concerns that the injury was far more serious, but he did move his arms as he lay on the ground and yesterday he saw a specialist.
"It is soft tissue damage and deep bruising, but he will be cleared to race in Rocky Mountain House next week," explained Chevrette-McIvor.
Fraser ended up winning the Dodge pickup truck, $10,000 cash prize and Battle of the North title after he nipped Sutherland by a nose.
Sinclair took a no time in Sunday's race and is now 25th among the WPCA's 36 wagons.
Racing at the Rocky Mountain House venue begins Thursday and wraps up Sunday Aug. 18-21. The top wagon in the aggregate after four nights of racing wins the Battle of the Rockies title.
After the Battle of the Rockies, the 36 wagons in the WPCA field are in the Richard Cosgrave Badlands Dinosaur Derby Aug. 26-28 in Drumheller. That's a make-up date from an earlier race that was cancelled because of wet track conditions.
The WPCA qualification run-off takes place Sept. 8-11 in Bashaw, Alberta.
The top 30 wagons from the 2011 WPCA Dodge Pro Tour automatically qualify for the 2012 WPCA Dodge Pro Tour, but the run-off is open to any non-exempt sanctioned chuckwagon driver wishing to compete on next season's WPCA Dodge Pro Tour.
There are six spots open for the 2012 WPCA Dodge Pro Tour, and those will be decided at the four-day run-off.