August 8, 2014. Hundreds of fans braved the rain and unseasonably cool temperatures to watch local racer Dwayne Dubuc drive his Alberta Biochar Initiative-sponsored chuckwagon to second place in his heat and move him into third place in the overall season standings on August 8 in Vegreville, Alberta.
The racing was intense, slippery and extremely muddy! Afterwards, more than 100 racers, crews and invited guests gathered at a post-race celebration sponsored in part by Alberta Biochar Initiative (ABI), a not-for-profit organization founded by Tech Futures and Lakeland College to develop and demonstrate technologies that will enable large-scale commercialization of biochar products and applications for Albertans’ benefit.
A number of local elected officials and government representatives came by to celebrate the week’s chuckwagon racing and discuss biochar’s potential over a hamburger or two. MLA Jackie Fenske, Vegreville councillor Taneen Rudyk, Vegreville town manager Jody Quickstad, Milburn County councillors David Rattray and David Melenka, and Vegreville Economic Development Advisory Board’s Andrei Dolgirev were among those who dropped by to meet the racers and learn more about biochar. Former Vegreville mayor and Alberta Research Council alumnus Richard Coleman also stopped in.
Several people from AITF and Lakeland college including Byron James, Ataullah Khan Mohammed, Ralph Lange (who also performed on bass, fiddle and mandolin as part of the Off Ramp Boys band), Scott Lundy, Alok Dhungana and Don Harfield were there to speak with interested guests about Alberta Biochar Initiative. ABI Biochar Coordinator Alok Dhungana demonstrated a portable biochar cooker to curious onlookers.
“In my view, we succeeded in maintaining and enhancing AITF’s and ABI strong connections to Vegreville and surrounding area,” says Don Harfield, Thermochemical Processing Team Lead. “We spoke at length with local and regional farmers about biochar, its many potential uses and how to create a viable Alberta biochar industry.”
The photo essay that follows will give you a much better sense of what it was like at Friday night’s hair-raising chuckwagon racing and the post-race event ABI partially sponsored. Enjoy!