Rae Croteau Jr.
Faith, Family and Fast Horses, is the quickest way to sum up Rae Croteau Jr, and he will be the first to admit that it’s the support of all three of those that have allowed him to become the man he is today.
Growing up, though he was the typical teenager going to school, playing football and chasing girls the thirst for the chuckwagon circuit raced through his blood. The only son in the lineage of a chuckwagon family it seemed inevitable that he would join the ranks. Like most it started as a barn hand; though Rae tells of the appeal of brushing down the other drivers horses as it was a paying gig and there was no way his dad was paying him to brush their horses! From there he moved to being an outrider, earning his right to be on the half mile of hell each night.
When Rae entered the circuit as a driver he cemented the legacy of the Croteau family as a 3rd Generation Champion Chuckwagon driver. Though his family name had become synonymous with the racing circuit he knew better than anyone that lasting in the circuit wasn’t going to happen because of his name but because of hard work. The test came when both Rae and his father Bert were in the run-off to qualify for the next seasons circuit and only Rae qualified. For the first time in his racing/outriding career he was going to have to do it without his father presence.
In hindsight Rae is able to see though that his father was never far from his choices and his actions. The faith his father put in him when he set him down the circuit path with his best horses and trailer as he set down the path with his wife Allison cemented his passion to succeed. Rae and Allison have seen that same strength grow in their daughters Cora Lynn and Ava Mae.
Asking Rae what he knows now about those beginning days that he didn’t see then his answer was quick to acknowledge the driving force Allison his wife was. He is quick to credit her strength both in the barn and in her ability to focus him. With a laugh he claims that probably he is tougher to handle then the horses! Knowing though that it isn’t easy to live on the road, to care for the horses, and raise a young family it takes a strength not everyone has. A strength that he now he can appreciate better than he did then.
Though Rae has known success on the track, 2014 reflects his pinnacle to date when he made his first trip to the Rangeland Derby Finals in 2014 where he cemented his family’s place in Calgary Stampede history – becoming only the 2nd family in its history to have 3 generations qualify for the Rangeland Derby final.
2014 was a banner year for the Croteau team with not only reaching the Calgary Stampede Rangeland Derby finals but also placing 5th overall in the World Professional Standings. Rae also had one of his horses – TOM – awarded the Calgary Stampede Equine Award of Excellence and another one of his horses –CHIP – awarded the WPCA Equine Award of Excellence. Rae posted 25 – Top 10 runs, including 4 – 1st place finishes and 13 others that cracked the top 5. Rae is one of the most accomplished active drivers on the WPCA Pro Circuit. He has won 9 major show championships in his 13 year pro circuit career.