Bensmiller gets his redemption, goes wire-to-wire to win 2019 Medicine Hat title

By Scott Roblin
June 16, 2019 - 8:57pm Updated: June 17, 2019 - 7:24pm

 

MEDICINE HAT, AB – Kurt Bensmiller credits the Medicine Hat Exhibition & Stampede track as the unofficial birthplace of his WPCA career and on Sunday afternoon that career came full circle.

Bensmiller brought the crowd at the Stampede Grounds to their feet in the final heat of the 2019 Medicine Hat WPCA races, blazing across the finish line with a time of 1:02.30 to win the ‘Dash for Cash.’

The two-time defending WPCA world champion, Bensmiller captured his first Medicine Hat championship after setting the track record back in 2011.

“The first big, major thing that I had done in wagon racing was set the track record here,” said Bensmiller. “I’ve always liked coming to Medicine Hat, I always seemed to have a little tough luck besides that track record and winning today. But, the family and me always love coming here.”

Bensmiller won the championship final by almost a second a half, turning on the jets midway through the heat to beat out Vern Nolin for the $6,000 payday.

“I knew right before we hit the third turn that they were going to have trouble because the outfit was just starting to pick up,” said Bensmiller. “It’s the first time I used my good wheel team that I’ve been using for the first part of this year.”

It's redemption for Bensmiller, who crossed the finish line in the 2017 'Dash for Cash' heat in first place but was charged with a late outrider penalty that cost him the title.

Both Bensmiller and Nolin have formed quite the friendly rivalry over the last few summers, with the pair being brothers-in-law.

And according to the Dewberry native, he’ll happily take the bragging rights this time around.

“We’ve been running against each other for a few years now when he moved over to this side,” said Bensmiller. “The last couple years especially he’s been in the later heats with me, so he’s been tough. We kind of alternated winning last year and it looks like the way we’ve started out this year it’s going to be the same thing.”

“It’s good to keep it in the family anyway.”

Nolin came across the line with a time of 1:03.52 to finish as the runner-up, while John Walters took home a third place finish with a 1:04.71 in the final heat.

Bensmiller also took home the day money for the second time this week with the fastest time of the day, beating out Obrey Motowylo by three-tenths of a second.

Swarmed by his three daughters after crossing the finish line with the Medicine Hat title, Bensmiller added it was the perfect way to cap off Father’s Day.

“You always watch everybody’s kids go up with their dads that won it,” he said. “So, it’s nice that my kids get to celebrate one I guess.”

The WPCA circuit heads west for High River this week for Guy Weadick Days, while the annual Medicine Hat Exhibition & Stampede Rodeo will be held at the Stampede Grounds from July 26-28.

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