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Surrey (B.C.), Heritage House Publishing. c1983. 80pp, paper, $4.95. ISBN 0-919214-60-6. Distributed by Frontier Books, Box 1228, Station A. Surrey, B.C. V3S2B.1.CIP

Grades 6 and up
Reviewed by Elaine Blakey

Volume 13 Number 2
1985 March

A Half Mile of Hell, written by Arl Belanger and originally published in 1970, makes up the first two thirds of this short paperback, Belanger describes the chuck-wagon races of the Calgary Stampede, detailing the rig, the chuckwagon "outfit" and the responsibilities and skills of the outriders. He follows the development of chuckwagon racing, from its birth to the advent of professionalism of the late 1940's and the development of the racing circuit in the 1950's.

The book is then brought up to date by a chronological list of chuckwagon race winners from 1923 to 1983 and a chronological list of world professional chuckwagon association champions from 1949 to 1983.

The final chapter outlines the history of the Stampede, from the first one in 1912 that attracted just over 100,000 people to the 1983 show that boasted attendance figures over 940,000. Much of the description of events of the modern stampede is quoted from the official Calgary Stampede program, and details of the first shows are quoted from the 1912 publications of the Calgary Herald and The Morning Albertan and the Calgary Albertan. Highlights of the stampedes in between are also noted, with further quotations from the pages of the Calgary Herald, Fred Kennedy's Authentic Story of the Calgary Stampede (West Vancouver Enterprises, 1965) and the official Stampede history.

Rodeo fans will thoroughly enjoy details of their favourite event brought up to date. The long quotations may encourage many to look further for information about the Calgary Stampede and chuckwagon racing.

Elaine Blakey, Normandeau School, Red Deer, Alta.
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