Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - February 22, 1975, Lethbridge, Alberta
The Lethbridge Herald Lethbridge, Alberta, Saturday, February 22, 1975 Second Section Pages 19-36 JACK RASMUSSEN AND LIGHTNING Horsepower pleases Jack When Jack Rasmussen was born, horses were part of everyday living. Now, 83 years later, horses still play a major part in Mr. Rasmussen's life. At an age when most men are ex- pected to do little more strenuous than climb into a rocking chair, this retired Magrath farmer likes to hitch his.team to the sleigh and take a tour of the town. The old bobsled, the chestnut team and their driver are a familiar sight to Magrath residents, and if motorists have to wait to pass, they usually smile. The sleigh seldom fails to pick up passengers. There are more than enough Rasmussen grandchildren and great-grandchildren in Magrath to fill the sleigh. And they bring their friends. Mr. Rasmussen ad- mits he doesn't mind the attention. He drove the sleigh past the school the other day just as classes let out. It wasn't mere coincidence. The sleigh was full in a minute. The horses toss their heads. They wouldn't mind running, but for safety's sake, Mr. Rasmussen holds them back on the street. They can run no docile plugs, these. Descended from thoroughbreds, Arabians and a touch of Percheron, Mr. Rasmussen's team know and like the feel of a race track. CHARIOT RACING After the snow has gone, the two geldings still work as a team, racing around the track at rodeos and fairs, pulling a chariot. Yup, just like in Ben Hur. Mr. Rasmussen says he saw Ben Hur and thought he could do just about as well as Charlton Heston, so he decided to build a chariot. Chariot racing was just catching on in Southern Alberta then. Barrels cut in half lengthwise and set on ax- les with, rubber tired-wheels made the Alberta rig much more comfor- table than the Roman version, though. Mr. Rasmussen, not being much of a hand with a cutting torch, scouted around for something else with which to build his chariot. He found an old easy chair, removed the seat and mounted the rest backwards on the axle and wheels from an old Model T. The result was a lighter outfit that gave him a bit of an advantage when racing the boys .from Bassano. But he claims he didn't need the advantage. Photo story by David Bly Herald Staff Writer "My horses run because they like to run, and they run all the better for he says. "I don't need to whip them. You show me a horse that's whipped, and I'll show you a horse that's running scared." At the Taber rodeo in '63, all his competitors were members of a chariot club'from the Bassano Rosemary area. Even rodeo entrepreneur Reg Kessler had a team entered, and he admitted, as usual, he wanted badly to beat Jack Rasmussen. But the stooped Mormon from Magrath, twice or three times the age of the other drivers, beat them all. All the other drivers would wres- tle their horses into place at the starting line, their teams so nervous a standing start was nearly im- possible. But the Rasmussen team would stand quietly and alert, waiting for the quiet whistle from their master that would make them jump, usually into the lead, and go flat out around the track. No whip, no cursing or flaying with the reins was needed to make them run. Mr. Rasmussen's father was head coachman for a wealthy Danish lan- downer. He joined the Mormon church and left Denmark to settle in Utah. But he didn't stay settled. In the spring of 1899 he packed up his goods, livestock and family, which included seven-year-old Jack, and left the northern Utah farm which had been aptly named Hardscrabble. The Rasmussen's settled in Magrath, working with irrigation projects that helped open up farming in Southern Alberta. WORK TEAM Even as a teenager, Mr. Rasmussen was driving a team on the canals, moving dirt with a ponderous implement called a wheelscraper. Mr. Rasmussen and a neighboring farmer, Wallace Dudley, sold their workhorses in the '30s and together bought a tractor for field work. But the Rasmussen farm was never without horses, for pleasure, tran- sportation and work. Even now, Mr. Rasmussen's team works occasionally in the spring, pulling a harrow through the gar- den. Besides the sleigh and the chariot, Mr. Rasmussen has a racing sulky he likes to hitch to his mare. It takes him between town and the farm, now owned by his son Robert. "I wouldn't mind trying sulky he says. "But it's a little hard to find some competition." Jv. V-' 8' LETHBRIDGE EAST OFFICE SWINGING INTO ACTION The returning, office for Lethbridge East has officially swung into action for the March 26 election. Dave Elford, returning officer, has established operations at 1706 Mayor Magrath Drive. Returning office clerk is Bob Madill and the secretary is Uleta Fortune. Enumeration of some voters in 59 polls begins next week. Lethbridge West enumeration of some voters will also get under way next week. The three telephone numbers for the Lethbridge East returning office are: 329-4122, 3294466 and 329-0600. Brief to council Builders urge succor for housing ills A brief suggesting several ways the city could help alleviate Lethbridge "housing problems" will go to city council Monday. The brief'was prepared by the Lethbridge Housing Association which represents Travel submission Monday The whole story on the Travel and Convention Association of Southern Alberta could come out at city council's meeting Monday, Steve Kotch, association president, said-Friday. The travel bureau's request for from (he city for travel and convention promo- tion is on council's agenda and Mr. Kotch said he will go ahead with the bid despite the bureau's current internal problems. "I'm sure the aldermen are going to ask some pointed questions about what said Mr. Kotch. "We're going to have to answer them." Internal dissension was wracked the travel bureau since a special meeting of the bureau directors accepted the resignation of the entire four- member staff Jan. 29. Since then, some associa- tion members have claimed the meeting was illegal and 62 signed a peti- tion calling for another special meeting Wednesday to review the entire situation. Mr. Kotch said Monday's presentation to council will be simply to get the travel bureau's request before the city. "We are not expecting an immediate he said. The resignations are bound to affect council's view of the bureau, Mr. Kotch admitted. "But I don't know which way good or he said adding he was interested in taking a fresh approach toward the travel bureau, including a restructuring of the organization. The travel bureau's request for from the city includes, for tourism and for convention promotion. It made the same request of the city last year, received the full tourism grant and for convention promotion. Meanwhile, boxes and boxes full of a new tourist brochure 'for Southern Alberta are to be shipped out to Travel Alberta, the Canadian government travel bureau and tourist associations across the country. The new brochures, prepared for the Travel and Convention Association of Southern Alberta, are titled: "Southern Alberta tee more travel less." They cover the Lethbridge tourist zone, which includes the entire southwest corner of the province and feature II color photos of tourist and recreation attractions. Mr. Kotch said brochures will also be sent to hotels and motels in the Lethbridge zone, although the smallest portion of them would be kept here. Mr. Kotch said Friday Winter Games volunteer duties had kept him away from the travel bureau office and he wasn't sure how many of the brochures had arrived, nor what their cost was. the majority of house builders in the city. Claiming to share "concerns regarding housing that have been expressed by many community organiza- tions and the association says its objec- tives in the brief are "ef- ficiencies and cost reduction, cost deferrals, and better community planning." The association suggests re- examination of city minimum standards with respect to housing for low income groups. The association says cost reductions could be made. The minimum lot fron- tage, for example, is in excess of minimum provincial stan- dards. More restrictive zoning is proposed. The association says Rl zoning, as an ex- ample, conditionally permits 15 structural categories as well as single family residences and accessory residential categories. While city approval is required for the conditional uses, there is no guarantee that undesirable structural developments can- not be built, the association says. It urges West Lethbridge development standards be reviewed. It would be preferable to have uniform standards for the entire the association says. The time required for approval of subdivisions should be minimized, it says. Delays mean higher interest costs for developers which are in turn passed on to home buyers, the association says. It is proposed park land- scaping costs in new sub- divisions should be borne by the city and recovered through a special tax levy over 10 years or so on homeowners in the new sub- division. At present these costs are paid for by the developer. The city should make known its plans for future expansion on the east side, according to the association. "Certain decisions appear to be crucial in ensuring availability of preferred lands and possibly some limits on increases in land the association says. It urges that builders be allowed to build the concrete driveway section between street curbs and lot lines. The association claims city costs for that portion of the driveway are too high, and paving the driveway in two segments can inconvenience a new homeowner. Basement monitor for lifters The program wasn't Sesame Street, but the televi- sion set was on for weightlifters wanning up Fri- day at the Yates Centre. The cheers of the crowd and the occasional thud of weights dropping on the stage floor up- stairs filtered through to a storage room in the Yates basement where lifters prac- ticed and waited for their turn to perform. Lifters and coaches kept their eyes on a video monitor, resembling a large television set, which showed who was lifting how much weight up- stairs on the stage. The video setup, explained ACT public relations officer Bob Udgren, "is to give the lifters a place to warm up and move around without dis- tracting competitors.