WPCA Champ Bensmiller excited ahead of Grand Prairie

With action set to begin tonight, EverythingCowboy.com caught up with defending series champion Kurt Bensmiller in Grand Prairie, Alberta.

Winning the Calgary Stampede and the World Title in 2015, Bensmiller said he is approaching this year just as he has any other season.

“It is basically the same. We all leave in the spring after training all spring long, and we just want to make sure we are on the top of our game,” he said.

Despite the relaxed attitude and approach, Bensmiller admitted that after his 16 years chasing the title he found the most important factor to making sure you are in the hunt come late in the season.

“Consistency was one of the biggest things to wining it last year. A guy has to stay competitive from the first race to the last race, but if he can stay fairly consistent then at the end of the year you should be close to being able to grab it.”

With another great field of drivers and teams for 2016, Bensmiller said that it will take some time to see who made the right changes and keeps their stable happy and healthy and is in the hunt for the title this season.

“I don’t know if it is just one guy. There will be a few guys that come prepared this year. One or two bad nights took some guys out of the world championship last year, they will come back strong, there is always a handful of guys that are competitive each year and one or two surprises as well,” Bensmiller said. “It is hard to tell, even once Grand Prairie is done. It is an indication but it’s not an exact things as to who will be on top after one weekend. It’s hard to pinpoint one guy to watch for.”

With the Calgary Stampede tarp auction now firmly in the record books for 2016, the big talking point earlier in the season was how the economic downturn would effect sponsorship dollars for the drivers. Despite the lower numbers at this year’s auction, Bensmiller said there is no reason to be concerned.

“The lower numbers took away from the top end of guys, and I was one of them. It’s not a big deal for the sport. It is way better for the top guys to suffer a little bit in sponsorship than the lower guys,” Bensmiller said. “Calgary continues to proves that this is where you want to be to get the bang for you buck as a sponsor or a driver.”

With five days of heats ahead of him in Grand Prairie, Bensmiller said he just hopes his horses stay healthy this weekend and he will see where he lands next week.

“Grand Prairie is a great place to get started. The ground can handle a lot of moisture and it is just a nice area to be in. The fan support there is huge. Stompede has a lot of support up here in the north, it is just a great place to start,” he said.

“I got 28 horses I am packing with me this year, as opposed to 26. 14 of them are new, some are on the same outfit that I won Calgary with, there are two new ones on there. We made some changes hopefully for the better. We hope they stay consistent and healthy.”

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