Busy Being Busy

Howdy Friends!

Have you ever noticed that as a society, we are all so busy?  We ALL have the same 24 hours in a day, every day, but yet we have little time to do the things that count the most.  Such as taking time to visit the neighbor.  Or go outside for a leisurely walk.  Or even sit down to read a book that interests us.  Our busy lives seem to get in the way for all that really matters.

Yesterday, my day was full of paperwork in the office, working on getting our year-end completed to send to the accountant.  At noon, I took time for my self, and headed outside and went for a run down our country road and back.  Along the way, my neighbor, whom I never see, stopped to have a chat.  We decided it was time to connect and make time to go for a horse ride together, go for coffee or even a walk.  This is now something I’m going to do.

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Last month, Rick and I spent some time together and ventured to Maskwachees and Enoch, 2 nearby Indian Reserves where they had Pony Chuckwagon Races and Indian Relay Races.  Boy, was there some entertainment for the crowds.  If you have never seen an Indian Relay Race, you don’t know what you’re missing.  I really enjoyed their colorful display of costumes that each team portrayed.  A true look into the heritage that they come from.  I managed to capture some photos of some of the teams and their beautiful thoroughbred horses.


Garry and Denny Dorhester

Just outside of Wetaskiwin in September, Ricks relatives, the Shantz family gathered together for a family reunion.  As you get older, your family heritage seems to get a bit more interesting, wanting to know where your ancestors came from and who they were.  Uncles Garry and Denny Dorchester reminisced and told story’s that day.  It was their mom Joy (also Rick’s Grandma) who came from the Shantz Family.

Shantz Family

The Shantz Family

Photos are always interesting to look at.  I think they needed to smile a bit more back then.  Maybe it was a rule of some sort when photos were taken that no one was to smile.  Many photos of that time, there are no smiles.  I’m sure glad things have changed.


All Smiles

My grandson has no problem smiling.  And he makes me smile all the time.  He just celebrated his 9th birthday yesterday.  It is so hard to believe he is at this age already.  He is my sunshine.  We have spent so much time together since he was born.  He is the most creative kid I know.  His mind is always going.  Lately, he has made colorful puppets out of socks and second-hand clothing.  It will be interesting to see what working life path he will take when he becomes an adult.


A Blue Bundle of Love

As time fly’s by, Coy is so excited to have a new baby brother, Kich Weston Connell.  And I’m just as excited.  He’s just one week old now and I was fortunate enough to spend a few days with our daughter Amy, husband Chris, Coy and baby Kich when he was born.  They live 3 hours away from us, so I have to get more visits in when I can.


Childs Play

With Kich, that makes three grandsons for Rick and I.  Ryker, our daughter Kaylee’s boy is 2 1/2.  He is one very busy little boy who loves Thomas the Train and Paw Patrol.  We went for a walk outside the other day and Ryker had decided to play in the mound of dirt the moles had piled up.  He’s a boy through and through that loves to where a ball cap.  I have a hard time resisting anything those big blue eyes want.  But then,  Nana’s are allowed to spoil their grandbabys…………….right?


Nickle and Louie

As we come close to three months since we retired from our last days of the Chuckwagon Trail, I find myself emotional at times.  I never gave this much thought when we made our decision to leave the sport we have been doing together all these years.  Just little things will trigger me.  Times such as looking at photos, seeing the weeds grown in the pens where the herd would normally have trampled them down,  and missing the thunderous sound of so many hooves running from far out in the field to the barn up by the house for a drink of water.  It is like mourning a death for us.  We need to go through so many different emotions as the time passes.  We know it was the right decision for us, but it doesn’t make it any easier.  It is what we did together as a team for many years.  Having said that,  we hold and cherish many, many great and awesome memories.  That life we lived has molded Rick and I into who we are today.  And we are grateful.


I shot this photo this spring during one of our training days.  I will be forever grateful that I began this blog and started my journey of photography.  A picture tells many wonderful stories.  And this photo, tells me there is a powerful connection between Rick and four of our amazing thoroughbreds.  It is a way of talking to the horses, as the horses feel his touch and command through the soft leather lines.


As we are folks who don’t sit idle, we are moving on to different paths.  Currently we are taking some computer courses.  This is a big stretch for Rick, but we are doing it together and are enjoying each week learning.  It doesn’t matter what age you are in life, there is something new out there just waiting to be discovered.  You just have to take new steps and be open.  We are looking forward to what our next phase in life is bringing us.


Lifelong Friends

We enjoyed a final farewell get together at our Ranch with family and friends last month.  This was an enjoyable evening for everyone.  I was totally surprised when my lifelong friend Louise Good from high-school days showed up unexpected.  We may not see each other very often, but when we do, we pick up where we left off.  These are the best friendships ever.IMG_5761[1]

As this weekend is Thanksgiving, Rick and I are full of gratitude in what life has given us in our life together.  We have so much to be thankful for.  Life has been a roller coaster, but through all the ups and downs, victories and losses, people who have come in and out of our lives, it has molded us, and we are thankful.  We are thankful for our three adult children we have raised, Amy, Kaylee and Cody.  We are very proud of them.  We love our grandkids and hope to have many more to spoil.  We wish you all a Happy and Family Oriented Thanksgiving Weekend.


Every day, a new life begins.

Hold on tight to your family and let them know you love them.


From Home on the Ranch

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P.S.  Start each day with gratitude, patience, kindness and end it with a peaceful heart and watch your days become a little bit sweeter.

Out and About

Howdy All!

Been a busy time this past month.  Catching up on things at home, and just taking time to see where our next step will be.  We also took time to play, and I hope you do to.


Just Playin Around

The 2nd Annual Senior Pro Rodeo was held in Wetaskiwin, which was just down the road from our Ranch a few weeks ago.  We decided to drop in and see a bit of the action as we knew a few of the competitors.


They didn’t disappoint.  Together, the crew made things happen and the action was great.


From Calf Roping to Team Roping, to Barrel Racing and more.  There were names we recognized from CFR a few years back, and others that just enjoy what they do.


The weekend couldn’t have been better, the weather was amazing.  The intermission entertainment was priceless.


A local pony horse club, came out to play soccer…………………with their horses!  Well we’ve never seen anything like this, but it was so awesome to see.  This grey pony was the best player around.  He bunted and bunted and scored a few goals.  I think the girl was just along for the ride.  Great Entertainment!


Dayton Sutherland


Rory Gervais

Rocky Mountain House was the place to be.  Rick and I, our barn hands Kim and David as well as our kids and other friends made a camping trip to the finals of the WPCA Chuckwagon Circuit.  We enjoyed ourselves the full week, just camping and taking in all the action of the races.  Young Dayton Sutherland captured his first Championship win after only competing for the last year and a half.  Outrider Rory Gervais also won his first World Championship Outriding title and Kurt and Ashley Bensmiller won another Chuckwagon World title.  Congratulations to them all.




The best entertainment of the weekend, was the kids wild pony races.  But then us old girls topped that by putting in a couple of teams on Saturday night.  Well our team consisted of my daughter Kaylee, my friend Kim and me.  The other team was Lisa Bensmiller, Ashley Bensmiller and Caitlin Fike, (All wifes of Chuckwagon Drivers).  Well what a blast we had.  Both teams were able to rassle those little guys down and the rider got on.  I was that rider on our team.  It brought a huge amount of excitement to the crowd and the young kids cheered us on.  Thanks to Photographer Shellie Scott for the great action shots.


As the days go by, I continue to fill my days with catching up and working on a new journey in life.  I’m excited to step up into see what awaits.  I’ve got a few things in mind and the ball is slowing rolling.

Until next time

From Home on the Ranch and Beyond

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Sue Fraser

P.S.  Until you spread your wings, you’ll have no idea how far you can fly.

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.


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.



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.


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.



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.


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.


A Group Effort

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


Hard Working Mamma


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.


All Smiles


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


Always Time to Chat


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.


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.


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.



From Home on the Ranch

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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.


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.


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.


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.



Ryker even had a fine feathered friend nearby.


Come Back!

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


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.


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.


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.

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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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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.

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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.


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.


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”

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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.