A Stop Along the Way

Howdy All!

Last weekend, Rick and I ventured on down to Strathmore for the Tribute put together by Billy Melville, celebrating the life of Chuckwagon Driver/Outrider Roy David who passed away.  Roy was part of a family that was very involved (and continues to be)  in Chuckwagon Racing for many years.  While there, we also took in two days of racing.  It was our first time back on the grounds, but this time as spectators, not competitors.  It was for sure a very different feeling, with many mixed emotions.

We arrived back home on the holiday Monday evening, with guests that were more than welcome on our Ranch.  As the trek on the next stop of the World Professional Chuckwagon Association is so long for a one day venture, we invited Lisa Bensmiller and Vern Nolin  and crew, to stop in overnight to shorten the trip.  I admire this couple, as they show what teamwork is all about in the world of Chuckwagon Racing.

When they arrived, the ponies were led into the pens, boy did they like to run, stretch, buck and kick!  After a few hours of traveling, some energy needs to be expended.

DSC_0536

Fast and Furious

I must admit, it sure was good to see and feel the energy of Vern and Lisa’s fit thoroughbreds on the Ranch.  Even though it has only been three weeks since our sale in Calgary,  having the horses gone, sure leaves a void in the soul.

DSC_0581

Charge!

It really hits you how much these horses became a part of you.  You lived and breathed every moment with them. They were our babies.

Well travel days are always tiring for all on board,  the big and little kids alike.  So when they were let free, it was time to monkey around and use up some of that pent up energy.

DSC_0688a

Monkey See………..Monkey Do

They all made me smile, just hanging around like nobodies business.

When the horses were settled, fed and watered, it was time to sit down and enjoy a home cooked meal.  Meat and potatoes, salad and home-made pie!  Those fresh saskatoons and garden rhubarb make the best pie going.  Not to mention strawberry and rhubarb too.  We had such a good visit just sitting outside and enjoying the quiet country evening.

DSC_0588

Whooooaaaa!

Morning came early, and after a hot cup of coffee, bacon and eggs, the crew headed out to start to load.  It was time for our guests to hit the road on the 7 hour trek up to the northern city of Dawson Creek BC.

DSC_0586

Don’t Leave Us Behind

The horses always like to get in one more run in before they are put into the liner.  And some of them just like “not” to be caught until they have to.  I’m sure it is a little game they play, just like little kids.

DSC_0558

A Group Effort

It didn’t take long, and the crew gathered them up, one by one.

DSC_0562

Hard Working Mamma

DSC_0608

An Image of her Mom

I can’t say enough about the kids of Lisa and Vern.  They are the best little helpers, and the politest kids around.

DSC_0524

All Smiles

 

 One by one the ponies were caught.  Rick and Cody gave them a hand as well.

DSC_0568

Always Time to Chat

DSC_0567

Just Lending a Hand

While the last ones were loading, the kids continued to play.  And who best to play with, but the cute puppy named Bling.

DSC_0625

Try and Get It

Well, it was finally time to say goodbye.  The horses were loaded, the trailer was hitched.  The Kids needed to be counted, and made sure each one went pee.  The littlest one continued to hang from the fence, until the last-minute she could.

DSC_0714

Just One More Try

We truly enjoyed our guests on the Ranch.  It was sad to see them move on, while we stayed behind.  A part of us would have loved to have went right a long.  So many great memories were made as the years have gone by.  But it is now time for Rick and I to move on.  We look forward to new journeys, and stories in new adventures that we make at home or abroad.

DSC_0661

Cheese!

From Home on the Ranch

DSC_2585 - Copy

Sue

P.S.  Every house where love abides and friendship is a guest, is surely home, and home sweet home, for there the heart can rest.

 

 

 

 

 

Time Well Spent

Howdy All!

Although we have been home from our final Chuckwagon Race for just over two weeks now, there has not been a shortage of things to do, here at Home on the Ranch.  That first week was mostly a time of catching up on sleep, and just being present at home to recharge our systems.  The rest of the time, I have been working at catching up on all the paperwork that was piling up, with things such as bills, GST, payroll and the like.  Rick, David and Kim kept busy around home, fencing, cleaning up fallen trees, and other things that needed to be tended to.

DSC_0118a

Boats for Two

Our daughter Amy and her son Coy arrived here on Monday, so it was time to put the chores aside, and enjoy some down time with them.  My two girls, and their kids and I loaded up and headed out west to Ma Me O lake just a thirty minute drive from home.  I picked up Rick’s aunt Sharon and her kayaks along the way too.

DSC_0121

Thumbs Up

Coy was pretty happy to be out in the kayak by himself for the first time ever.  The water couldn’t have been calmer, and the warmth of the sunshine was hovering around 30 degrees.  A beautiful warm summer day.

DSC_0200

Nothing Like the Beach

Little Ryker, well you could call him a little “Beach Bum”.  He loved the water and the sand.  It kept him occupied for hours.

DSC_0126

Curious

Ryker even had a fine feathered friend nearby.

DSC_0129

Come Back!

He tried to get close………….but that was just about how it was going to be…………….just close.

DSC_0183

Cooling Off

When your seven months pregnant, and hot in the summer heat, you find the best place to cool off, and that is just what Amy did.  We are looking forward to that little bundle of love to arrive in the beginning of October.  Another grand-baby to spoil!  Love it!!!

Nana was enjoying her time at the lake.  This is something that we pretty much have never done over the years as Chuckwagon Life was where it was at the past 34 years of being married to Rick.

DSC_0152

Now as life moves on for us to new adventures, we have to steady ourselves, and see what is next.  We have not made any rash decisions, we are just going to enjoy some down time for a little while.

DSC_0195b

I just know in my heart, that we will hang on, and enjoy the next ride in our journey of life. The sky’s the limit in what we are going to do and where we are going to go.  Life is good.

From Home on the Ranch

Sue, and Rick too.

DSC_2585 - Copy

Sue

P.S.  Great things are done by people who think great thoughts and then go out into the world to make their dreams come true.

One Very Special Day at The Calgary Stampede

Howdy All!

As each and every one of us goes about our days,  we make plans, sometimes days, weeks, months and even years ahead filling up our calendar.  Yet even the most finalized plans may not turn out how we expected.  And you know?  That is just OK.  Because through those changes, there is always good or even better that comes out of it all.

DSC_0046

Back home in May, before we left for the 2018 World Professional Chuckwagon Tour, Rick and I made the decision it was time to hang up the lines.  Our career as a Chuckwagon Driver and his wife, were coming to and end.  We made the call to our announcer Les McIntyre, and passed on the news.  The horse auction sale was set for July 14th, the last Saturday of the Calgary Stampede.

20180603_214910

Me and My Dad

When we completed our show up in Grande Prairie on May 3rd, where I was born and raised, I couldn’t have asked for a better closing.  My father was able to come for a visit after the final night of racing.  He was excited to be able to see Rick and our son Cody race.  He loved seeing the grand-kids and Great grandson Ryker.  Thanks to the world of technology, we also face-timed our daughter Amy and grandson Coy so Grandpa could see them as well.

DSC_0173

Family Time

When the night came to a close, and we said our goodbyes, I said to my kids, that I knew in my heart, that would be the last we would see dad/grandpa.  I just knew.

DSC_0045

Hi Above the Skies

Calgary Stampede arrived, and I was informed that my father was on his last days.  Word came from a friend of my fathers, that Dad had asked for me, as he knew he had not long to live.  A gracious friend, flew us and my daughters and grandson to say our last goodbyes.

IMG_E4680

Although he was not coherent, in my heart I knew he heard my whispers of “Thank you daddy.” and “I love you!”. “Till we meet again.”  A very comforting and precious moment.

While in the air, returning to Calgary, my dad went on to that heavenly place they call home.

DSC_0165

Loving What He Does

The Stampede continued, and life went on.  With my husband, kids, grand-kids, friends and family, we were just where we needed to be, continuing our life as competitors at the Calgary Stampede.

My fathers funeral was set for July 14th, the last Saturday of the Calgary Stampede. The day of our Retirement Auction Sale. Sometimes in life we are stretched to our fullest, and I believe with my full being, that a person has to do what their heart tells them and not what others input would be.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I gathered my husband Rick and my children together, and it was decided that we as a family needed to be together for our sale, and also to have our time of celebration of my dad’s life with one another as well.

The horse sale went according to plan.  The emotions were high, the buyers were there.  All in all the whole thing went well.  At one point I looked up, and a beautiful bird was hovering over.  A sign that my dad was free.

My dad was a man of many trades.  Everything he did, he did with his hands.  He taught his children to work.  An electrician by trade, yet a carpenter,  construction worker, bookkeeper, farmer, provider, you name it, he did it.  It was only fitting that with the traits that my dad taught us, my siblings created a work of art, the casket to which my dad would be laid.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The afternoon of July 14th, we gathered together, my children, grand kids, and a few close friends.  The Calgary Stampede Chuckwagon Committee went above and beyond to help my kids set up a place for us to celebrate the life of my dad, and the grandpa they knew.  We hugged, we laughed and cried a tear or two.  We finished our gathering with a toast of rum and coke in honour of the man I called dad.  He loved to have a rum, with anyone who passed through.  I say thank you to all that made this day come true, and it is just where we were supposed to be.

DSC_0517

Nickel a Horse of Power

The day did not end there.  The races continued, and we were in the final 8.  Off the four barrel was tough and we just didn’t have enough to make it to the next days Championship Dash.  It was still a very good run at that.

We had many visitors come by.  My friend Marci and her friend Simone, dropped in to say hello.  We began to chat, and I was asked are we keeping any of the horses.  I mentioned we were still undecided as to what we were going to do with our highly awarded right leader Nickel.  I introduced them to Nickel and what I heard next was just the decision we needed to hear.  I was told that Nickel needed to go home.  That Rick had promised him over the years that when we were done, he was going to go home and just be.  Nickel said he was tired and had a bit of arthritis set in.  You see, this lady has a gift to communicate with animals.  And this is what she had said.  This couldn’t have been a better ending to a day filled with so many different emotions.

DCIM100GOPROG0019979.

Thank You

As we have only been home a few days, my time has been spent trying to catch up on some much-needed sleep, as I have come home, emotionally, physically and mentally drained.  I know I just need to recharge and look after me.

I thank each and every one of you that has sent me a message of condolence and otherwise.  I have read them all.  I have started to send my reply’s, as there are so many it will take me awhile. Thank you for following along.

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and “Team 23”

DSC_2585 - Copy

Sue

P.S.  One of the hardest lessons in life is letting go.  Whether its guilt, anger, love, loss or betrayal.  Change is never easy.  We fight to hold and we fight to let go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Calgary Stampede Day #10

Howdy All

So much has happened this past two days, and I have long way to soak it all in.

The races are complete and we congratulate Kurt and Ashley Bensmiller and another win.

IMG_4934

1st Harrow Interview

I was given the opportunity to meet up with Kelly Vanderbeek in the CBC booth to be interviewed on our last harah.  The interview went well, and it was good to have a moment to tell a piece of our story.

IMG_4928

Ron Maclean and I

While there, I was able to tick off my bucket list of meeting Mr. Ron Maclean, the man of Coaches Corner in Hockey Night in Canada.  A kind soul he is.

DSC_0029

In Awe

The fireworks are always a sight to see and the kids sat still long enough to watch them.

DSC_0070

A Piece of Memory

In our barn over the years, we have been measuring the kids each and every year to keep track of their height.  To add to this tonight, we had everyone sign a message of what they wanted to say.  We get to take that keepsake board with us, and we will replace it with a new one.

DSC_0017

Happy Little Kids

My nephew and family came for the last day of racing to see us off.  How special is that.  We were very happy to see them and this means the world to us.

DSC_0020

Happiness

Friends are what matters.  Keith has been along on our journey for many years.  He may not have been at all the race meets, but he said he’d never miss this one.  And he didn’t.

DSC_0053

Barn Crew

We could’t have done all that we accomplished this week without our family and barn crew.  We had tears, we had laughter, we had grumpiness and pain.  But most of all we bonded and got so much closer.  We thank them all and would not change a thing to make it better.  It was beautiful.

DSC_0057

Family

I am so proud of the family we created.  We may not be perfect, but hey what family is?

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and “Team 23”

DSC_2585 - Copy

Sue

P.S. This journey is yours, enjoy each and every step.

 

 

 

Calgary Stampede Day #9

Howdy All!

Just so you know, this one is going to be short and sweet.  I’m so tired and need to get some sleep.

What a Day!!!  With all things being considered, this day was a very good day.  Everything went perfectly.  Well almost perfectly.

 

DSC_0028

It was our sale day of our horses.  It went well and we were happy and sad all at the same time.

DSC_0070

We also sold a wheel jack with all the proceeds going toward the Wetaskiwin Food bank.  Rick did a pretty good job!

DSC_0080

After lunch my kids had a room on the grounds secured by the Chuckwagon Committee to hold our own little service to honor  my dad.  This was so beautiful.

DSC_0248

Our race off the 4 barreol didn’t quite get us into the final dash for cash.  Darn it.  But yet we still had a  really awesome day.  I want to fill you in tomorrow as I really need some shut eye.

From the Travel in Trailer

Sue, with Rick and “Team 23”

DSC_2585 - Copy

Sue

P.S.  Always believe that something WONDERFUL is about to happen.