Howdy Chuckwagon Friends,

Another week gone by.  This morning we awoke to very heavy smoke in the air.  It felt smelled and tasted like a smoldering camp fire right out the door.  I cringe thinking of the folks who battle with asthma and how this might affect them.  Later on in the day it did clear up for a very nice evening.



Before the races began, we were able to say a hello to the head chief of all operations of the Dawson Creek Exhibition and Stampede, Connie Patterson.  She is one heck of a lady, that gets things done.  This week was very successful because of her and all of the volunteers under her.  Kudos to them all.


Kelly is honoured

The Dawson Creek Committee took time before the last race night, to recognize Kelly Sutherland and all his accomplishments in his 50 years plus here in this city.  He spoke that as a kid at a very young age, began riding flat horses here in 1968.  He shortly thereafter began racing chuckwagons.  He said at that young age it was terrifying and exciting at the same time.  Yet it got in his blood and never looked back.  He did a lot over the many years of his carreer and he will always be remembered.


Before the first heat ran, the top four finalists were introduced to the crowd and the barrel draw was done.  Mitch Sutherland got the one barrel, Rick got two,  Chanse Vigen driving for his dad, Mike Vigen was on three and John Walters was on four.


Chad Cosgrave


Casey Knight

Our outriders tonight were Chad Cosgrave holding the leaders with Ed, and Casey Knight throwing stove with Andy.  Both did a fabulous job.


Hard Starting Charge


Honest Turn


Jumping On

Our hook was Spirit on the Left Lead, Sporty on the Right.  Jim on the Left Wheel and Law on the Right.  Boy did they start hard.  Unfortunately for Mitch on one, he knocked his top barrel, an automatic five second penalty.  The race continued on with Rick two wide, Mitch on the rail, John Walters three wide and Chanse Vigen in behind.  John managed to take the lead on the backstretch and kept it coming on home.  Rick fell back a bit to finish fourth in the race.  John and Bonnie Walters are the 2017 Dawson Creek Champs.  Congratulations to them and their crew.

We will be heading out south to Rocky Mountain House, tomorrow morning early as we have a 7 hour trek ahead of us.  The last meet of the season begins on Thursday.

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and “Team 23”

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Howdy Chuckwagon Friends,

With the forest fires that have been burning here in the Province of British Columbia, today was the day that we felt the effects of it.  The sky’s were gloomy with a haze of smoke all day long.  It continued to be very humid and warm, yet dreary with no sunshine to be seen.  It’s amazing how the looks of the skies can set the mood on a persons day.

Even though the weather was like that today, I was very happy to have my good friend Michelle drive up from Grande Prairie, an hour and a half away to come take me for lunch and a visit.  We had a great visit for a good part of the day.  You made my day Michelle.  Thank you.


A Photo with the Driver

Yesterdays winner of the mini Chuckwagon, made his way to our barn this afternoon to meet up with Rick and say thank-you.   Liam and his family came from Fort Nelson area to take in the Dawson Creek Exhibition and Stampede.  There are quite a few fans from the surrounding area that come to enjoy the weekend here.


Trained to Turn


The 2nd outfit tonight in the first heat, was comprised up of all of Chad Hardens horses.   Rick did very well driving the outfit to a 22nd on the day and finishing 9th in the aggregate standings.   Chance Flad and Casey Knight did well handling the outriding for this crew.


Racing for the Finish Line

The outfit crossed the finish line first in the heat posting a 1:16.79.


Bonding Time

While awaiting our heat,  I tend to the outriding horses.  Stadium and I were having a little bonding time.  He hails from Kentucky, where he purchased him several years ago.  He’s one our best stove horses.


Lining Up for the Start

In the eighth heat, our hook was our grey Louie on the Left Lead and Speedy on the Right.  Jim was on the Left Wheel with Law on the Right.  These horses have been going so well.


Going into the Barrels

Louie the grey is a newer horse to us and after each run, is performing better and better each time.  He comes in and stands really nice.  Coming off the 4 barrel, Rick drove around to be three wide around the track finishing 3rd in the heat with a time of 1:15.91, setting us 12th on the day.  The exciting news is, it was good enough to put us 3rd in the four day aggregate, which also means a spot in the final Dash For Cash tomorrow in the ninth heat!!!  How exciting is that?!

So the four finalists tomorrow, Mike Vigen, John Walters, Rick Fraser and Mitch Sutherland.  May the fastest team win in a penalty free heat.


Things are Looking Up

While on the road, I sure do miss my grand-babies.  This little munchkin, Ryker is a one busy little boy.  We face-time each other to have a little visit.  Looking forward to seeing them on our last stop in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta.

Until Tomorrow

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and “Team 23”

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P.S.  Success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence.    Colin Powell




Howdy Chuckwagon Friends,

Wow!  The heat during the day here in Dawson Creek BC has been amazingly warm.  Today it hit 31 degrees with a slight breeze.  I’m lovin it!!!  Once the sun goes down, it cools right off that you need a sweater to keep warm if you’re sitting outside for any length of time.

Today Rick and I tootled on over to the fair.  Dawson Creek has the best little fair around.  They have a walk way with all kinds of vendors, from Church food booths with home-made pies and goodies, clothing and jewelry tents, mini donuts and fresh lemonade stands, a talent stage, small barns with exhibits of all kinds, a ring for dressage competitions, horse pulls, a midway and so much more to mention.

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One of the things we did, was walked around the horticultural exhibit building.  It brought back many memories of when I was growing up as a kid and got to attend the local fair.   Exhibits of all the hard work, and ribbons always stood out.  So many talented people displaying their wares.





This afternoon, I invited Carter and Ethan to come and give me hand in the barn to do afternoon chores.  These two boys live in the city of Calgary with their mom, whom is employed by our association of the WPCA.  They have come to love the horses and it is a good way to get them involved.  We mixed feed and filled water buckets.


An Itty Bitty Taste

The pair thought it would be a good idea to taste the bright orange electrolytes that we mix in the horses feed.  After all, it does look pretty inviting, something like powdered candy maybe.



Well the expression on Ethan’s face I think pretty much sums up how much they liked it.  They were great little helpers.


Bear Hugs

We couldn’t leave without a photo on the Chuckwagon with Rick.

The afternoon also brought some folks from Germany and Austria to come have a first hand look at how the operation goes around here.  They were pretty impressed as they have never seen anything like it before.  We always enjoy sharing what we do, so they can go home and tell others just what they have experienced.


On the Turn


TerraCore Rentals

Our second outfit in heat two comprised up of 1 of Mike Vigen’s horses, 1 of Chanse Vigen’s horses and 2 of ours.  The outriding horses were 1 of Chad Hardens and 1 of ours.  Rick drove the sponsored TerraCore Rental Rig around the barrels and posted a time of 1:15.93 with a 1 second penalty for a late outrider.  The one horse was giving the outrider grief coming out of the barrels.  Still a good run for the outfit.

Our main hook sponsored by Northwell Oilfield Hauling, in the eighth heat was comprised of Jim on the Left Wheel, Law on the Right.  Louie on the Left Lead, and Speedy on the Right.  Rick had a great start and turn around the barrels.  They ran 2 wide around the track leading the way coming home setting a time of 1:15.87 on the day.   Good for 10th on the day and sitting 2nd in the aggregate behind fellow driver Mike Vigen, whose rig is being driven by his son, Chanse Vigen due to a medical leave.  He’s a good skinner and will be an up and coming Champion one day.


One Happy Little Guy

Rick handed out the mini Chuckwagon to this little fella.  It’s pretty nice here, as the fence is right up close and he can hand it personally to someone in the stands.  We are looking forward to meeting him when he comes back to the barns.

Until Tomorrow

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and “Team 23”

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P.S.  Stop worrying about what can go wrong, and get excited about what can go right!



Howdy Chuckwagon Friends,

This morning once we finished up morning chores and had Rick’s favorite bacon and eggs breakfast, I decided I better hunker down and get my MasterCard bill tended to.  It’s not my favorite thing to accomplish, but it has to get paid before the due date arrives.  When you have a business, you have to keep up with the paperwork.

Once I completed all the things on my to do list, I figured it was time to have a nap.  From 1 PM to 3PM it’s pretty quiet around the barns.  Most are resting, some are running errands and others take in all the activities around the grounds.  Here in Dawson Creek it is like an old-time fair.  There is plenty to do and see. Rick and I usually go out and about on one of the days before we depart.


A Helping Hand

Tonight, Rick drove an outfit on the other circuit, the Western Chuckwagon Association for the only female chuckwagon driver, Rilee Letendre as she had a funeral to attend.  Rick has been mentoring Rilee this past spring and summer.  As a matter of fact, we have sold her a couple of horses and tonight Rick got to drive one of them, the grey named Speirman.   This Association has different races meets in different towns than we do except Grande Prairie and here in Dawson Creek.  When we do meet, they race before our group does.  The other difference for them, is that they do not have any outriders.  They just have someone come out and hold onto their lead team to steady them before the horn sounds.  Rick placed a respectable fourth place on the day for Rilee.


Very Attentive

We are parked with our unit quite a walk from the track.  Sometimes I ride the horses over and sometimes I just walk them.  Tonight I decided to ride one and lead the other.  They were pretty good and behaved well for me.  There can be times when they get a little ansy as they know it’s getting close to race time.  Tonight I asked them to pose for me and they sure did a good job at listening.  HAHA!  Picture Perfect.


And Their Off!


Coming for Home

Chad Harden took the lines for our 2nd outfit tonight.  He used all his horses for the outfit and just one of our outriding horses named Air.   He was pretty speedy with outfit and placed 3rd on the day bringing it up to 8th in the average.


Rick Fraser Fan

After every third heat, there is a harrowing and watering of the track.  It usually takes about 10 – 15 minutes.  So people will stand up and stretch and chat with their neighbor, read or check their phones.  I happened to be snapping a few photos of the crowd and look what I found.  A fan wearing a Rick Fraser “Team 23 ” T-Shirt.  How cool is that.  I think he’s looking pretty serious, maybe he’s studying the stat results of the races to see where we’re sitting.


The Horn Sounds

Tonight we hooked the same four as last night.   Spirit, Sporty, Spin and Cowboy.  With Chance Flad holding the leaders with Ed, and Chad Cosgrave throwing stove with Stadium.


Jumping On

The start of the race was clean and fast, but not quite as fast as fellow competitor, John Walters.  He blew out of the infield for the 2nd day in a row posting a day money run.  This is good for us as it helps us to clock a fast time as well.


Home Stretch Run

Which we did, placing 10th on the day with a time of 1:15.83 and sitting us 3rd overall in the aggregate standings after 2 days of racing.

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So after the races, and the horses were put away, we had the pleasure of meeting 2 young gals.  They came to really meet Rick.  Well these gals were the best of pals.  They first got an autographed poster from him and then it was time for a photo.   We were informed that the one young gal originates from Hungary.  She proceeded to tell us that they do a form of horse racing there very similar to here.   This peaked Rick’s interest.  He then asked the young gal if she knew a swear word in the Hungarian language.  Well, the giggling began.  Yes she did, but she was a little shy to say.  She finally shared the word and whispered what it meant into his ear.  All the while giggling and laughing.  These two made our day by their fun-filled spirits of friendship.

Until Tomorrow

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and “Team 23”

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P.S.  Be silly, Be fun.  Be different, Be wacky.  Be You! Because life is too short to be anything but happy.


Howdy Chuckwagon Friends,

We headed out on the road north to Dawson Creek, BC on Tuesday at 7:30 AM.  We had a seven hour drive ahead of us.  My swamper with me in the Freightliner was non other than Coy, our seven-year old grandson.


Hmmmmm What Next?

He keeps me busy.  We play a game called “Eye Spy with my Little Eye”, he draws pictures, makes things, reads books and sometimes watches a movie.  We got to giggling about something yesterday and we couldn’t stop laughing.  Oh he brightens my day.

Part of our crew arrived into Dawson Creek around 4 PM .  Rick however, had to make a pit stop at the scales on the BC side of things.  Well, he was there a little more than he wanted to be.  He rolled in with a tire that had blown only  fifteen minutes before arrival.  And I guess it really doesn’t help when you accidentally left your wallet sitting in your dirty jeans pocket back at home, when your wife asked you if you emptied all your pockets before throwing them into the washer to be cleaned.   On the bright side of things, everything in his wallet will be free from germs from the laundry detergent we use, and the gentleman at the scales didn’t keep him too long as we had livestock in the liner.  We did however have to purchase some kind of permits for the truck.  The wallet is being sent up north with someone who just happens to be coming this way.  And the tire repairman will be showing up today to replace the old one with a new one.

Ho Hum……….just another day on the road of a Chuckwagon Driver.


The Bulldoggers

As we travel down the road, there are so many people who contribute to our success.  Jim and Jo have done just that for us this summer.  We so appreciate what they have done for us.  Jim himself is a racer of sorts.  He drag races a Funny Car.  But I don’t think it’s a funny car at all.  It’s a “BAD ASS” great looking blue car called “The Bulldogger.”


The Bulldogger

Rick has sat in this car, but has yet to take if for a spin.  Jim and Rick a very much alike in life.  The faster, the better and lots of it.  We have a lot of laughs when we get together and we look forward to our next meeting down the road in Rocky Mountain House.


Your It!

Our crew likes to some have some fun as we go along.  One of the things that goes on in camp is touching the nose when a single job needs to get done, say the feeding of  the morning oats.  Whomever is the last to touch their nose, is the lucky winner to do the job.  I guess it depends on what the job is, that determines if you are lucky or not.  I’m thinking Karina has been the one to lose the most in this little game.  Although I think the boys set her up most of the time.  As a matter of fact…….I know they do.


Morning Breakfast

This morning we were treated to a big box of coffee from Tim Hortons and breakfast burritos and donuts from our friends and followers, Don and Marlene.  They contacted us yesterday with the news of stopping in for a visit.  What a wonderful gesture we so much enjoyed.


One on One

They brought along their granddaughter to meet us and the horses.  I think she really liked meeting the horses just a little bit more than us.  Cowboy was enjoying all the attention.


Group Photo

Our 2nd outfit in the first heat was comprised of two of our horses King and Ranger, and two of Chanse Vigen’s, Alimo and Wilson.  We used Air and Chad Harden’s Cadilac for the outriding horses.  The team started hard and Rick was able to get out to the track first to get the rail position.


Rick ran a 1:16.40, but was assessed a 1 second penalty for a late outrider.  He was really close to being there, but not close enough.  He was happy how they all worked tonight.


Turning the Bottom


On our main hook tonight, coming off the one barrel in heat 8, was Spirit on the Left Lead, Sporty on the Right.  Spin on the Left Wheel and Cowboy on the Right.  Chance Flad held leaders with Ed, and Chad Cosgrave threw stove with Stadium.   The team started hard and charged around the barrels.  Rick got them onto the track, just behind John Walters and followed along coming 2nd in the heat posting a time of 1:15.42.  Good for 4th on the day.


A First Time to the Races

Our mini chuckwagon giveaway was given to Kimberely, a gal that made her first  trip to the Chuckwagon races live.  Over the years she has always watched on TV or listened to the radio.  It was a thrill she said to see it so up close and personal.


Until Tomorrow

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and “Team 23”

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P.S.  Everyone wants happiness.  No one wants pain.  But you can’t have a rainbow without a little rain.