CALGARY -- Organizers of an international chuckwagon race series say a number of races to kick off the 2020 season have been cancelled over COVID-19 concerns.

The World Professional Chuckwagon Association (WPCA) made the announcement on their website, saying the first four races have been cancelled.

"The Grande Prairie Stompede and High River Guy Weadick Days have made the difficult decision to cancel their events. The WPCA in consultation with Prairieland Park in Saskatoon and the Medicine Hat Exhibition & Stampede have agreed to postpone their respective tour stops and explore what options may exist to reschedule these events in the future," a statement reads.

The WPCA adds it takes the safety of horses and humans seriously and decisions to cancel races are "not made lightly."

"These are challenging times. Like the rest of the world we are following this global concern day by day and evaluating our options as specific scenarios are presented."

The cancelled races include:

  • Grande Prairie Stompede – May 27 to 31, 2020
  • Saskatoon World Chuckwagon Races – June 4 to 7, 2020
  • Medicine Hat Exhibiton & Stampede – June 11 to 14, 2020
  • Guy Weadick Days in High River, Alta. – June 18 to 21, 2020

The organization has not made a decision about any other races on the schedule, including the Calgary Stampede's Rangeland Derby, Ponoka Stampede and the Bonnyville Chuckwagon Championships.