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Stampede fines chuckwagon driver Cliff Cunningham $12,500

CALGARY (NEWS1130) – The Calgary Stampede has levied its largest fine ever in a chuckwagon race collision that led to the death of a horse.

The chuckwagon safety commission fined driver Cliff Cunningham on Saturday after investigating the Friday night crash. The Stampede’s Doug Fraser says an initial fine of $2,500 was upped to $12,500 after the commission reviewed video of the crash and spoke with the drivers involved. Much of the $10,000 fine will go towards driver Jim Knight to compensate him for the loss of his horse.

Both teams finished the race, but a Stampede veterinarian discovered one of Knight’s horses had a broken leg and the animal was euthanized. The commission ruled the collision was a result of driver error by Cunningham and that the horse broke its leg in the crash.

Fraser adds Cunningham admitted right away that he was at fault and that there are no hard feelings between the two drivers over the incident.

It was the second horse to die during the chuckwagon races at the Stampede this year. One week ago, one of Cunningham’s horses had to be destroyed after suffering a broken leg during a chuckwagon race on the Stampede’s first night of competition. Fraser said in that case, a review concluded the horse suffered a “catastrophic” injury that was not the result of driver error or a collision.

Both Cunningham and Knight are scheduled to race again Saturday night.

In 2010, six horses had to be destroyed during the Calgary Stampede.