Calgary: Night Four (July 6)

Up and at it earlier this morning. At 5:15am the alarm sounded. I normally don’t need to wake to an alarm but as the days go by at this time of year my body gets more exhausted. So I don’t take the chance to expect to wake up on my own.

We decided to utilize the morning track time, 5am to 8am, to exercise an outfit. But we had a special guest come join us. Cody, our son, was the driver this morning, Chris, our son-in-law, was the helper and Kelly VanderBeek, retired Canadian alpine skier, came along for the ride. The faster the better, she said. Kelly enjoyed every minute of it.

Kelly Vanderbeek

Kelly VanderBeek

Kelly VanderBeek

Kelly VanderBeek

Kelly VanderBeek

Kelly VanderBeek

Kelly VanderBeek

After the ride, she also got to walk some hot horses to cool them out. Then she interviewed Cody about life in the chuckwagon world.

Kelly VanderBeek

After all the excitement of the practice run, Team 23 got to work doing the barn chores. It was our turn to make breakfast, so I was it. Sausages, scrambled eggs, leftover fried mashed potatoes and toasted grilled buns.

I had to get at it, as Rick and I had a date, along with a few other drivers and trick rider Payton Bensmiller, to visit some kids at the Alberta Children’s Hospital at 10am.

Rick and I have been arranging this for many years now, and it touches our hearts. There are so many stories to be told there, and if we can just bring a little bit of sunshine to some of the little ones’ world, for even a moment, it’s made our day. And I must say, it’s very humbling to enter into those rooms. But we wouldn’t have it any other way.

A huge thanks to Sandy, a worker at the hospital, who makes this happen for us year after year.

Alberta Children's Hospital

Alberta Children's Hospital

Alberta Children's Hospital

On our return from the hospital, we knew it was time to get some rest. Rick and I both headed to the trailer to get a couple of hours of R & R in. It felt soooooo good.

Race time came fast. I had a few thing to do up in the trailer, so I didn’t get down to the barns until 5. I needn’t have worried, as Team 23 had everything under control.

Our hook tonight was Speedy on the Left Lead, Nickle on the Right Lead, Sneakers on the Left Wheel and Law on the Right Wheel, coming off the 3 barrel. Cole and Dustin rode Ace and Andy.

Prior to our race, the dark clouds hovered over and brought some wind and rain. Who would have guessed? Up until then, it was the calmest, nicest evening. So the track conditions got heavier for our heat. When the horn blew, the outfit started and charged. Barrel 2 outfit’s outrider somehow almost ended up in our lead team. Thank goodness, he managed to get out of the way. And away we went.

We had a great turn despite that start and had the best performance out of our horses yet. Rick was very happy how they performed. The kicker was we had two late outriders. Not their fault, they just couldn’t get around the Ray Mitsuing outfit. He held them out three wide. Very disappointing.

Oh well, tomorrow is another day and another redraw. We still have a chance to make it into the top eight by Friday. We just have to run hard, fast and clean.

Rick Fraser Team 23

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Rick Fraser Team 23

A loving heart is the truest wisdom.

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