Ethan Motowylo Carries On Family Tradition

Ethan Motowylo accomplished what he set out to do at the beginning of the World Professional Chuckwagon Association season.

The 22-year-old outrider from Hoadley, Alta., was tired of finishing second and set a goal of becoming a World Champion in 2023.

When the dust settled after the final show of the season at Century Downs Racetrack and Casino last weekend, Motowylo did, in fact, reach his ultimate goal.

After compiling 9728 points throughout a gruelling season of chuckwagon racing, Motowylo was crowned as the 2023 World Champion Outrider by just 106.5 points over last year’s winner Rory Gervais.

“We’ve been back and forth for a lot of years now, probably ever since I started outriding (when he was 15),” said Motowylo, who also finished as runner-up to younger brother Hayden in 2021. “I’ve been second for probably three or four years now. I was second to Hayden, I was second to Rory. I’ve been second for a lot of years and it was nice to finally beat Rory out of there. We’ve battled for a lot of years, us two.”

Heading into the Century Downs World Finals and Winners’ Zone Playoff Round, the race for the world title was up for grabs between Motowylo and Gervais, the latter of whom has won seven straight top outriding awards at the Calgary Stampede Cowboys Rangeland Derby.

“Night by night it was changing at the last show there,” Motowylo said. “After the second night, I was behind him and then I managed to get ahead of him that second last night and then really got ahead of him that last night. It worked out well. It was really nice to accept the award. It was a pretty big award to receive and it was nice to get it.”

Motowylo started off the WPCA season with a bang by helping eventual World Champion Chuckwagon Driver Chanse Vigen win the Grande Prairie Stompede in early June.

“You want to win, but you don’t expect to win going into the season,” he said. “I guess kicking it off couldn’t have gone any better.”

He then teamed up with his younger brother Hayden to help their dad Obrey capture the Bonnyville Chuckwagon Championship the next weekend.

“That was really cool,” said the oldest Motowylo boy, who recently just bought a place right down the road from his mom and dad’s family home in Hoadley. “It’s all family and all three of us riding. It definitely really makes it special.”

For Obrey, who was crowned as a World Champion Driver in 2021, winning the Bonnyville show title with his sons and his wife Angie at his side was extremely special.

“Every time I win with them – I’ve won a couple or three with them – it’s very exciting and very special,” said the proud papa. “We truly are in it as a family with both my boys and Angie back in the barns pre-stretching the horses and everything. It’s a true family win.”

After Hayden helped Jamie Laboucane win the Medicine Hat Exhibition and Stampede show title in late June, Ethan accomplished something really special with Vigen at the Ponoka Stampede the next weekend.

With Ethan holding his leaders and fellow outrider Rory Armstrong throwing stove, Vigen had the quickest trip around the track six nights in a row to win his first Ponoka Stampede title in convincing fashion.

“That was something really cool,” said Motowylo of helping Vigen break the previous record of five consecutive first-place runs by Dale Flett at the Calgary Stampede in 1962. “There’s a good chance it’ll probably never be done again. That was really special to be a part of that, that’s for sure. It was pretty unreal.”

Hayden won his third outriding buckle of the 2023 season when he helped Laboucane capture the Battle of the Foothills title in High River on July 30 before Ethan one-upped his younger brother by taking home his fourth show title in Rocky Mountain House at the Battle of the Rockies with Vigen three weekends later.

“I’ve got Ethan Motowylo on leaders. He’s an extremely good lead man. I’m really comfortable with him up there,” said Vigen after winning his third show title on the WPCA circuit this season, while also commending Tyler DeSutter for his work on stove duties. “They did great all weekend, so I’ll have the same crew for Century Downs. Hopefully we can close the year out.”

Although Vigen didn’t win the final show of the season, he finished fourth in the aggregate standings behind eventual championship dash winner Layne MacGillivray, Laboucane and Cody Risdale. That was enough to clinch him the world title by just three points over Laboucane in one of the closest season-long races for driving supremacy in WPCA history.

“It’s fun and good outriding for a guy like that,” said Motowylo of getting the chance to work with Vigen, who won five World Champion Outrider awards in a span of seven years from 2004-2010. “He was a good outrider and if there’s any questions that I have, I know he’ll answer them. He knows the game pretty well. He’ll support me along the way.”

While he would eventually like to follow in the footsteps of his dad to become a driver, Motowylo said he’s far from done with his outriding exploits.

“I want to outride quite a few more years before I start driving, but I can see that in my future,” said Motowylo, who makes his living as a farrier when he’s not galloping around tracks behind chuckwagons on the WPCA trail. “I’ll try my best to keep winning (world outriding titles). My goal is to keep winning them. We’ll see what happens.”

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