The Calgary Stampede tarp auction – long seen as an economic indicator for Alberta – has brought in $3.6M.

It’s the third highest haul in Stampede history, but it fell short of last year’s sales.

However, no one expected the auction to beat the three records – total sales, highest individual sale, and highest average price - set in 2012 for the Stampede Centennial.

The bar was still set high for the more than 150 registered bidders.

The top bid went yet again to champion driver Kelly Sutherland who’ll race for Teravita at the price of $200,000.

“$200,000 puts a lot of pressure on me,” says Sutherland. “I suppose they’re expecting a champion and I guess I’d better get there.”

Mark Damm, with the Calgary Stampede Chuckwagon Committee says that the auction speaks volumes about support for the event as a whole and the sport itself.

The bid on Sutherland was followed by a $170,000 bid on Colt Cosgrave.

Last year’s tarp auction brought in just over $4M.

Tarp auctions involve the sale of space on the canvas of chuckwagons for companies to advertise during the world famous races that run during the Calgary Stampede. Companies put down bids to get their name seen alongside the top racers in the world.

You can check out the full results of the auction on the Calgary Stampede's website.