Beautiful weather yet again today—somewhere in the mid-20s. I’m enjoying this warmth, as I am a heat person. Love the sun. It really is amazing how sunny and cloudy weather can change people’s moods. So, at the end of the day, I would choose the sun.
We had a good night’s sleep last night. Seems like once we get going on the road sleep comes very easy just because one gets very tired with the fast pace we keep. We have a very enjoyable lifestyle but there’s a lot of hard work that comes with it.
This brings me to two young ladies who have come alongside us this 2015 season.
Kimberly comes from the Calgary region and Cayley hails from Sundre. Kim has had four years’ experience with another chuckwagon camp so she has been a treat to have around. She just had to learn all the horses and how we like our routine taken care of and then she took off to become the barn boss from there.
Cayley is a newbie to the chuckwagon world. A horse lover herself with a few of her own, she has joined right in and is willing to learn all the tricks of the trade. Summer on the chuckwagon trail is a lot of fun, a great experience to see Alberta, BC and Saskatchewan. You bond with the equine athlete and come to care for them as your own.
Rick has a great memory but sometimes it can be a bit short. Thus he likes to give the kids nicknames. So Kimberly is known as Fiona (yes as in the show Shrek) and Cayley is know as Rapunzel. I’m afraid these names have stuck, as I keep calling them that as well.
After morning chores were completed Rick headed to the production meeting, as he is a driver director at this show. I took advantage of an hour off to go out and spend some me time. I put my sneakers on, covered my ears with my headphones, cranked up the tunes and headed on out for a power walk/run/stairs program around this Prairieland Park we call home for the week. Sometimes it’s a challenge to find the time to do this, but when I do I feel so rewarded and it fills up my energy tank to press on with our daily routine. I just have more to give.
With track practice times from 11 to 1, it doesn’t give us a whole lot of time to get at it. We hooked an outfit this morning to give them some exercise. When we go out onto the track and run them fast, we call it “blowing them out.” You see, we have with us four chuckwagon outfits of four, as well as nine outriding horses, which comes to a total of 21. Rick rotates the teams according to what barrel we are on that day. So if a team hasn’t raced for a few days they get a morning practice run. This adds to how we keep our crew busy a good part of the day.
This morning our barn neighbour and competitor Chad Harden gave Ricky a hand when we did the practice run. Many of the camp’s drivers and crew members jump in and lend a helping hand to their neighbours during practice and evening runs.
Today on the way back from the run, a little helper jumped up in the wagon to catch a ride and grab the lines. Chad’s little guy Denver was all smiles riding back to the barns with one of his favourite drivers. Someday Denver may take over the lines and become a second-generation chuckwagon driver. You just never know.
Tonight we hooked the same boys as last night: Left Leader – Spirit, Right Leader – Speirman, Left Wheeler – Vegas and Right Wheeler – Zorba. Chanse Vigen rode Beau and Dustin changed up and rode Andy. They came into the second barrel and were ready, but then Rae Croteau on barrel 3 had a false start, which made our horses jump ahead, and then Rae pulled out. Rae ended up with a 2-second penalty for a false start. The wagons all lined up again, the horn sounded and they were off. Chad Harden had a great race off of barrel 1 and Ricky came alongside of him but then had drifted out on the 3/4 turn and Rae came through. When the dust all settled, Ricky won the heat with a time of 1:18.60 and unfortunately Chad’s outriders were both late, causing him a 2-second penalty. Rae ended up with the 2-second false start and Kelly trailed behind. We came out with an 18th on the day and are sitting 9th in the average, just under 3 seconds of the leader Kirk Sutherland.
On another note, we met some very special folks tonight. To begin with, at each race meet every night Rick and I give out a little memorabilia chuckwagon to some lucky fan. We were fortunate enough to have these fine folks go out of their way to come meet us and say thank you for the wagon and snap a picture together. This little gal was so happy to receive one, especially because it was her birthday the day before. She was thrilled. We took her and her family for a walk in the barns and snapped a few pictures in the wagon together.
On day 1, the mini wagon was given to a young fella named Dallas who uses a wheel chair. Dallas and his wife came back to the barns to meet us but unfortunately Rick had already turned in for the night. They drove the four hours back to their home only to return on Day 2 for the races just to come and meet Rick and to say thank you. We made his day when he received this gift. Oh how it warms our hearts, to be able to reach out and make somebody’s day.
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Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.