Some big changes to the Calgary Stampede's Rangeland Derby starting next year.

The races will now feature just three wagons instead of the traditional four wagons per heat.

But the derby will still feature nine races, so that means just 27 drivers down from 36.

The tarp auction is also gone, meaning drivers will have to make their own deals.

Okotoks Mark Sutherland says they'd heard rumblings this summer about changes coming their way.

"And none of it really was a surprise when it came out. You know, that doesn't mean a lot of the drivers, sponsors, competitors were disappointed with the choices that were made. But, the Calgary Stampede is their own entity and their own show and quite frankly, they can run the show how they want."

Starting in 2022, only drivers from the World Professional Chuckwagon Association, or WPCA, will be invited to compete at the Stampede.

Sutherland, says that'll make circuits like the CPCA (Canadian Professional Chuckwagon Association) and the WCA (Western Chuckwagon Association), which runs up north, more of a feeder system for the WPCA.

"The WPCA will be just that level that it always has been of a little bit more competetive and when drivers are ready to go to the Calgary Stampede now they have a clear path and that will be to go from their starter association to the WPCA"

Sutherland says right now he can't say if the changes are good or bad.

"As we go forward, we'll see if the changes are positive or are negative. Obviously we've got our own opinions right now, but that's all they are is opinions and by this time in 2021 we'll have some pretty hard facts about whether it was a good decision or not."

The 27 drivers invited for next year already know who they are, and they include locals like High River's Jason Glass and Jordie Fike, along with Okotoks Mark Sutherland and Chanse Vigen.

The also include:

Luke Tournier
John Walters
Roger Moore
Obrey Motowylo
Vern Nolin
Cody Risdale
Evan Salmond
Kirk Sutherland
Mitch Sutherland
Layne MacGillivray
Codey McCurrach
Dale Mitsuing
Kris Molle
Dustin Gorst
Logan Gorst
Doug Irvine
Jamie Laboucane
Troy Dorchester
Chad Fike
Todd Baptiste
Chance Bensmiller
Kurt Bensmiller
B.J. Carey