By Chris Lomon for Woodbine.com
MILTON, June 14, 2018 – Two talented comedic actors from one of Canada’s most popular shows serving as hosts, one big night of horse racing headlined by a $1 million classic, live music from country duo Buck Twenty and plenty of other highlights on and off the racetrack. Letterkenny stars K. Trevor Wilson and Nathan Dales can’t wait.
The 35th edition of the Pepsi North America Cup, slated for Saturday, June 16 at Woodbine Mohawk Park, will take centre stage at approximately 10:40 p.m. that evening. The continent’s top three-year-old pacers will vie for one of standardbred racing’s most prestigious honours and a $500,000 prize for the winning connections.
The co-hosts for the star-stacked, stakes-laden card have been counting down the days for a while.
Wilson, who plays Squirrely Dan on the CraveTV smash-hit Letterkenny, will be joined by castmate Nathan Dales (Daryl) for the festivities.
Filmed in and around Sudbury, ON, the award-winning Letterkenny depicts the lives of the hockey-worshipping, party-loving inhabitants of a small town with more than its fair share of colourful characters.
The show has built up a large and loyal following across the country.
“I’m always excited to add new aspects to my career,” said the Toronto-born Wilson (www.ktrevorwilson.com), a comedian, writer and actor who won the 2012 Irwin Barker Home Grown Award at the Just For Laughs festival in Montreal. “Hosting horse races is definitely new and I’m looking forward to it. My girlfriend’s family owns a horse – a lovely horse. That’s about my only connection to horse racing. I’d love to ask her what kind of horse it is if she was awake.”
Calgary-born Dales is also primed for his hosting duties.
“I haven’t been to the races out here, but I went to the Kentucky Derby a few years ago and it was fun,” he said. “Everyone is excited – good drinks, good food and people are having a great time. It’s amazing. I dressed up, but once I got there it was apparent I hadn’t dressed up enough.”
What Dales managed to do well, however, was make a solid return on a modest investment.
“I placed a small bet and I ended up winning 100 bucks,” he noted. “I was over the moon. I had a blast.”
If Wilson, who has performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and won Best Taped Live Performance at the 2015 Canadian Comedy Awards, were to get in the standardbred bike and challenge a cast member to a match race, whom would he select?
“Probably Nate,” he offered. “He’s a tenacious competitor, but I think it would be really fun watching him try to drive a horse.”
And attempt to catch up to Wilson, right?
“Oh, sure,” he said with a laugh.
Dales graciously opted for another opponent.
“I think my best chance would come against Tyler Johnston (who plays Stewart on Letterkenny),” he noted. “I think he and I would have a similar strategy of going against each other. But I’m betting on myself for the win.”
Aside from their hosting gig, the pair is hoping to meet up with fans of Letterkenny, which continues to steadily attract fans across the globe.
Under a new agreement with Hulu, Letterkenny has a deal in place to make seasons 1 and 2 of the series available through the U.S. streaming service in July.
“When we were filming the first season (season five starts June 29), I’d often comment to the team that we’re either making a really, really good show or we’re all idiots because we were having so much fun doing it,” offered Wilson. “It turns out we’re making a really good show.”
Something he’s discovered more than once when he’s been out for dinner.
“Being at a restaurant, you’d notice people staring at your booth, trying to figure out if it’s you. That’s normally how they ask, ‘Are you, you?’ I just smile and say, ‘I think so.’ We’re lucky to have such great fans.
“This show resonates with people because I think they see a lot of themselves in the characters. It’s always funny because people that come up to us that live in big cities say, ‘It’s a fun show, but there’s no way any of this is real.’ You meet someone from a small town and they say, ‘So when did you follow around my family for a few years to get this show?’”
Speaking of following around, Dales has met up with some Letterkenny fans in places he never expected, including a spot in Alberta.
“Last summer, I went with my girlfriend to Jasper National Park to see my parents,” he recalled. “We were hiking around Jasper and we’re on trails that are sort of out in the middle of nowhere. There was a crew of about four or five people that we kept seeing at every stop. In the middle of nowhere in the middle of the day in Jasper National Park, three our four people came up and said, ‘We can’t believe we’ve been hiking behind Daryl for two hours!’ I said, ‘I knew you guys were following me.’ They asked for a picture and I said, ‘Damn right you’ll get a picture!’ It was great. They were so nice.”
Which is a word Wilson uses in speaking of a particular connection to Squirrely Dan.
“We both look the same and we both wear the same size overalls,” he deadpanned. “In many ways, I’m very different from Dan. I grew up in the city, I have a pretty good handle on the English language and I know where plurals are supposed to go. But we do have similarities. I think we’re both nice guys. We both like to see everyone doing well and don’t like to see our friends fight with each other.”
Dales sees some similarities with Daryl, too.
“I have a little bit in common,” he started. “I consider myself not a slow person, but there are certainly a lot of things that fly over my head that people wouldn’t think would. Daryl’s understanding of the world is in line with mine, where a lot of things don’t make sense and I get caught off-guard by small things I should know, but I clearly don’t. That would be where we cross paths.”
Those who cross paths with Wilson and Dales on North America Cup night will undoubtedly see the camaraderie the actors share both on and off the set.
“It’s a wonderful group of people and we’ve all become fast friends doing this show,” said Wilson, who will be at Just For Laughs for the seventh year in a row, this time hosting the televised version of the Home Grown comedy competition. “It’s not just the cast that gets along, the crew – everyone does. There are some wonderful people doing this show.”
The duo is certainly ready to put on a show this Saturday at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
“It’s going to be really fun and we’re all going to have a great time,” said Dales.
Tickets for the 35th running of the North America Cup are on sale now at Ticketmaster.