I tell you, there is never a dull moment around here. The day started out fairly cool, weather-wise. Rick fed the ponies and then headed out with cousin Troy Dorchester to pick up some hay bales from a local farmer. The girls got started with the chores in the barn. I took time for myself and went for my power walk/jog/stair climbing at the grand stand. I enjoyed it and really felt those stairs. I returned just in time to help hook an outfit for track time at 8. Some of the good ol’ boys needed to be blown out around the track. So what Rick does with this particular outfit is drive one trotting lap for a warm-up and then goes full speed for the second lap. He refrains from turning the barrels, as these guys know the routine.
After we finished up at the barn and had breakfast, I snuck on over for a visit with my good friend Olana. We sure enjoyed our visit. We shared many stories, laughing, crying and reminiscing. Olana was a beautiful bride just one year ago. With so much to accomplish in a day, I rarely make time for these kinds of visits when on the road, yet I know I need to do this more often. I think this year I will make myself a promise to do just that.
Three hours later, I headed back to the trailer as some local friends of ours came to work on my trailer to tack the bottom cover back up on the belly of the trailer. I tell you, these trailers cost a few dollar bills; you would think they would be put together just a little bit better than they are. At any rate, Roger and Gina did an impressive job to repair the issues and we are so thankful to them for this. It saves us from hauling it in to the repair shop, which would be a real big hassle, especially when we live in it for three months of the summer.
While they were working away, some other good friends dropped by. Norm and Bev Little swung by to say hello and stop for a visit in the sunshine. Norm is one of the guys behind Alberta Premium, so he dropped Rick and I off a few goodies for the road. Now I must tell you a story about Norm and Bev and how we got to know each other. It was back in 1990, I believe. We were at the Calgary Stampede and Rick was outriding. The girls were only one and three at the time. I would arrive at the stands with the girls in our mini chuckwagon used like a stroller. Grandma Joy Dorchester would be with us too. We would go a half hour earlier to get a seat. The kids were always so good. Norm and Bev happened to be there too and they commented how good the kids were. Bev loved the chuckwagons and this began our friendship. We kept in touch over the years as Norm always worked at the rodeos and Bev would want to stay around to watch us race. We have met so many great folks along our journey and I’m sure we will meet many more to come.
Our visit got cut short as we noticed a storm brewing in the west. Kaylee, our daughter, confirmed this when she texted the weather radar for the Medicine Hat region to us. Yup, we were in for a good one. Team 23 raced to the barns to put the horses under cover, tuck things away, cover up the hay and then hide away in our trailers and hope for the best. No one expected this storm to be so severe. And severe it was, with rain, hail and high winds. While sitting in the trailer, at times we thought it might blow over. Thank goodness it did not. Our barn on the truck weathered the storm out, unlike many other barns of fellow competitors.
The storm maybe lasted an hour, and when it finally passed over we headed out to assess the damages. At least 15 or more of the barns on the grounds had been blown over, torn or somewhat damaged. Amongst all this, all the horses amazingly came through just fine. One hired hand from another camp got kicked while handling a horse and so was sent to the hospital for observation. From what I’ve heard, he’s going to be fine.
Through all this disaster, the WPCA and the Medicine Hat Stampede board felt it was viable to cancel the races for tonight and postpone them until Monday. So we will race tomorrow at 7:15pm, Sunday 2pm, and Monday at 7:15pm. So please tune in again on your Sirius XM channel 80 to hear the races live. And be sure to become a follower of my blog www.travelintrailer.com.
Always believe that something wonderful is going to happen. Even with all the ups and downs, never take a day for granted.
Cherish the little things and hug the ones you love.