What may be the most colourful economic indicator in Canada, the annual Rangeland Derby tarp auction tanked last night. What’s that, you ask? Let the Calgary Herald’s Rob Remington explain: “Thirty-six chuckwagon drivers were soliciting bids at the auction, where advertisers compete to emblazon corporate logos on their blank canvases.” The horse-drawn jalopies then compete with each other in speed and daring-do round the Stampede track in July. But last night they competed for the high prices at the tarp auction. There was, Remington notes, some disappointment but little surprise. Famed driver Kelly Sutherland took the top price with “$110,000, exactly $100,000 less than last year,” Remington reports. Overall the auction, “long a bellwether of the Calgary economy, brought in bids … totalling $1,692,000, down from $2,516,000 last year and less than half the 2004 record of $4 million.” So it’s official. “We’re in a recession,” Remington writes.