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Kilborn takes different path to racing

Racing in Yorkon this weekend
chariot racer kilborn
Jesse Kilborn focuses on racing chariots.
YORKTON - Jesse Kilborn is a little bit unusual in terms of the Eastern Professional Chariot and Chuckwagon Association. 

To begin with he became involved in the sport because of family, but not the usual path of following his father or grandfather. 

“It was a little bit from grandpa. He used to break horses back in the day, in the early 80s,” said Kilborn, who hails from Leroy, SK., ahead of the races in Yorkton Friday. 

So his grandpa helped create an interest in horses, but he was not a driver. 

That was Jesse’s brother Colin who first picked up the reins to run the track. 

“He took me under his wing. I bought my first couple of horses from him,” said Jesse. 

The second notable difference is Jesse’s age. He is only 24, certainly among the younger drivers in the ECCPA. 

Kilborn said the Association is always looking for new and young drivers. 

“Having younger guys involved that’s the next step,” he said, adding a lot of ECCPA drivers are nearing an age when retirement is likely in the next few years. 

So does Kilborn have any advice for anyone interested in the sport? 

“Talk to some of us,” he said. 

“If you’re willing to put in the work, there’s lots of guys willing to help out putting you on the right path.” 

The final thing that makes Kilborn just a bit different is that he only races chariots. 

“I don’t race chuckwagons. It costs a lot of money to get into it, and a lot of extra time I don’t have right now,” he said, although later he admitted “... I want to (race chuckwagons). It’s on the agenda.” 

But, for now Kilborn is dedicated to chariots, something he was hooked on the first time he went around a practice track. 

“It started out real stressful leading up to it,” he said, adding once on the track he “blanked it all out,” and just let the run take over.  

Once done he was “super pumped. I ended up hooked from there. It’s awesome.” 

It helped that Kilborn had a couple of older horses for the run. They were not the fastest, but they knew what they were doing. 

“It wasn’t me driving the horses, they were driving me,” he said, adding that is important starting out. “You want horses that teach you what you need to know.” 

The team he runs today came to Kilborn over time, the first in 2015, the second three years ago. 

So far the tandem haven’t been top-five, but Kilborn said he is consistently in the top-10, and he feels better things are close. 

“Top-five it’s definitely there. My horses are there, it’s just a matter of a bit more work,” he said. 

So is there a race that stands out for Kilborn so far? 

The answer was simple, racing head-to-head with brother Colin, which has only happened twice. 

“It was a blast. It was awesome,” he said. “He won one day. I won the other.” 

This weekend Kilborn races in Yorkton today, Saturday and Sunday, in front of the Legacy Co-op Grandstand.