Grande Prairie Stompede: Night Four (May 30)

Still cold here today. I so wanted to sleep in. I’m not getting enough hours of Zzzzzs. Cody and Rick got up and fed morning oats, and then headed out to breakfast with Cody’s sponsor. I made a pot of hot coffee and tea for the crew to enjoy before the chores. There were a few slow-going kids this morning, as they went out to the cabaret for a couple of hours last night to have some fun.

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Cody lets Myra and Lucy sit on Ace.

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Time for a minty treat.

My nephew Shawn came by today with his girls to have a little visit and meet all the horses. Cody let them sit on Ace to snap a picture. Many of the horses love to have treats and the girls fed them some mints. A favourite for many.

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During this tour stop Harold Chapin, our farrier, has been busy resetting all our horses shoes. It’s a pretty big job but he manages to get through them, a few each day. The horse is such a magnificent animal. They all are amazing and are like people, in such a way that they all have their own personalities. It’s quite interesting when you get to know each one of them. We all have our favourites for different reasons.

Well, Rick hooked one of the best teams that we have ever had tonight off of the 3 barrel. Left Lead – Speedy, Right Lead – Nickle, Left Wheel – Sneakers and Law – Right Wheel. They are such an amazing outfit. Rory rode Ace and Dustin was on Andy. Both of these teams did an awesome job. The rains came down about 6 o’clock and it was cold and muddy. I had to drag out all the rain gear just to keep dry. The track here is one of the best tracks we compete on. All four wagons came into the barrels: Kirk Sutherland on 1, Jason Glass on 2, Rick on 3 and Kurt Bensmiller on 4. The horn sounded and they were off. Rick had an amazing start coming out into his lane. Kirk was in his lane, and Jason did not quite turn with them and was slower getting out, which allowed Rick to come alongside Kirk. Rick wears a Go-Pro on his hat when he races and it allows us to see just how the horses perform. Everything looked clean—he was ahead of Jason with room to ease down. Unfortunately the judging staff didn’t agree with this move. The judges came back to say, and I quote from the WPCA Inquiry Review, that Rick received “Wagon 3 moved Wagon 2 over to rail was too close to right leader then hit Wagon 1 on first turn” and  “3-second penalty was assessed to wagon 3.”  Rick also was penalized because the judging staff believed Rick’s wagon hit Wagon 1 on first turn. Yes, the two wagons did touch on the first turn, but according to a film that we reviewed, Wagon 1 passed over a bump, which in turn moved Wagon 1 into Rick’s wagon, thus being called interference.

Tomorrow is another day, and I’m very appreciative for all our Team 23 crew for how hard they worked over these last two weeks. It’s teamwork that gets us to where we are and to where we are going. Rick and I are very fortunate to have the horses that we do, the friends that we have, the people in our lives that come to support us. And we wouldn’t have it any other way. We are champions!

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Barn babes!

Barn babes!

Do it big, do it right and do it with style.

Day 3 Results for Cody

Amongst the busyness of Rick and Team 23 racing endeavours, our son Cody is right along with us, helping us train, doing chores and learning the techniques of driving from his dad. We are very proud of Cody and how he is blossoming into a very good chuckwagon skinner.

Last night on Day 3, Cody was off of barrel 3. The horses he hooked were Left Lead – Air, Right Lead – Ranger, Right Wheel – Sporty and a borrowed horse named Cash from Mike Vigen. He drove in and was set to go, but just before the horn blew the right wheeler jumped ahead, which made the other wheeler jump as well. Cody was then pulling them back as to not be ahead of the barrel or he would be assessed a one-second penalty. During this time, the horn blew so the momentum was just not where it should have been. Despite all of this, Cody ran a respectable eighth-place finish on the day and is sitting sixth in the average.

Although Cody may not be racing full force yet, I do know in my heart that he is going to be one heck of a chuckwagon driver in years to come. He’s got a natural talent. He will make his Great Grandpa Tom Dorchester, his Grandpa Dave Lewis and his Uncle Dallas Dorchester all proud there up in heaven. If you wish to follow along and read all the stats of the Western Chuckwagon Association, go to for all the results and events. Cody will also compete in Dawson Creek with the Western Chuckwagon Association from August 5 to 9.

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He who raises a child is to be called its Father, not the man who only gave it birth.

Grande Prairie Stompede: Night Three (May 29)

Brrrrrrr! It was chilly this morning when we arose. Good thing I put the furnace on last night or I might have opted to stay in bed a whole bunch longer. Rick fed morning oats at 6am then headed in to tidy himself up and ventured off to his old elementary school, Hillside, to see the kids at a pancake breakfast. Chad Harden and Chad Fike also went along. Throughout the summer at each of the Tour stops, all the drivers and outriders are assigned to go out into the community to different functions to promote our heritage lifestyle. Some of the places they go to are schools, UFA, a sponsor, car dealerships, seniors’ lodges and hospitals, to name a few.

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I zoomed into the city at 11 to buy some more groceries for the crew. Made it a speedy trip, and then headed to a restaurant to meet up with Rick and Ken Drysdale, our sponsor from a few years ago. Some of you may remember the company Kendal Pipeline? Yes, we carried that tarp proudly for seven years. It was a great partnership that began as business but quickly became a friendship that has lasted to today. We must say that chuckwagon racing did well for Kendal pipeline and Kendal Pipeline did well for Rick and Sue Fraser and Team 23.We had lots of great times, and together won a World Champion title in 2004 and numerous shows along the trail. So many great memories.

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A day can go by quite quickly in this lifestyle we live. After lunch, I got back to our home on wheels and rushed to get the groceries put away and supper layered into the crockpot, with just enough time to take an hour’s nap before the 4 o’clock chores began. I have a hard time falling asleep, so I think maybe only 30 minutes of that counted. Will try to shoot for a nap again for tomorrow.

Coming off of barrel 2 tonight, Rick decided to keep the exact same lineup as last night. Spirit, Speirman, Vegas and Zorba, with the same two outriders, Rory and Dustin, riding Beau and Trixter. I give those boys credit, because it’s a job that takes a lot of talent with a very fit body to boot, especially if they have seven to nine rides in a night. Just as Rick had rolled into position, our lead man Rory was having a bit of a time trying to get a hold of the crosschecks of the two leaders to steady them in place for Rick. The lead horses kept backing up just a bit, refraining Rory from handling them and pointing them in the position to which Rick asked him. Then the horn blew. They started pretty good—Rick drove them around the barrels and came out right alongside Jason Glass on barrel 1. They were running neck and neck until the second turn, then our outfit started to fall back just a bit. Rick said Vegas didn’t run quite as fast as yesterday. Not sure why, but we managed to come out with a  1:18.68, good enough for 15th on the day.

We are sitting third overall in the standings after three nights of racing. If we manage to have a nice, fast, clean run tomorrow, we could find Team 23 vying for the win on Championship Sunday. Let’s cross our fingers and our toes that this will come to fruition!!! As I always say, it’s nice to get into the final dash of the meet, and a bonus to take home the win. Hope we can make Direct Horizontal, our sponsor, very proud this show.

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Live to learn, and you will learn to live.

Family Visits

We had some family stop by last night. Just love to have the kids come by. They are so intrigued by the horses and totally love the suckers. Was a good visit while they were here.

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I better get going, as I have to do a grocery run and then I’m aiming to get a bit of a nap in before afternoon chores!

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

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