OGDEN -- For the 14th straight year, the best chariot racing teams in the West will gather for the World Champion Cutter and Chariot Races the next two weekends at the Weber County Fairgrounds race track.
This year's world championships -- hosted again by the Wasatch Slopes Chariot Association -- will be held on March 17-18 and March 23, 24 and 25.
Racing begins at noon each day. This year's first division championship looks wide open.
Just three weeks ago, the Golden Spike Association's Ekstrom and Gift won the Utah State Championship, running in 22.36 seconds over the 440-yard straightaway.
KBG Racing (Nebo) and Jess Grant (Bear River) also made the final and will be looking to move up the podium at worlds. Utah's final entry in the first division is former world champion Wasatch Pallet (Skyline).
Winning driver Greg Gift was pleased with how his team of Celebration for Cash and Seizure performed at the state meet, but knows the world competitionis more of a marathon.
"There are so many good teams at worlds," Gift said. "We'll have to have a lot of luck over five days to win there."
The competition will include strong challenges from Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming and California. As many as 14 different associations will send teams to compete in six divisions. Defending world champion M&Ms (Bear River) competed in the third division this year.
Other Utah division winners included Vane Racing (22.18) out of the Skyline Association in the second division; Rowdy Friends Racing No. 1 (22.32) from the Tooele Valley Association in the third division; Tyler Gibbs Racing from Skyline, who posted the top time of the day (22.10) to win the fourth division; Jenson, Ropelato and Wright (22.61) out of Skyline, in the fifth division; and Double N Ranch (22.83) out of the Wasatch Slopes Association in the sixth division.