Grande Prairie Stompede Day #5

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends

Well, the 49th Grande Prairie Stompede has come to an end.  Eleven days of some very crazy weather.  From Sunshine, to snow, to rain and wind included.  When we pack to go down the road, we pack clothing for all seasons.  Most of the time,  our long johns get well used up north in GP.  And this year was no different from many others.  But…..on the positive side of things, there was no dust and no mosquitoes to contend with.


Our beautiful horse Andy

The equine horse is such a beautiful animal.  We race all thoroughbred horses, which are all geldings, no mares.  Rick says they just cause trouble.  Everyday they amaze me with their personalities.  Andy is very curious looking out at the other horses across the pen.

Tonight, we had some special spectators show up.  Rick and cousin Troy Dorchester’s Aunt Sharon, along with cousin Tammy (Troy’s sister) and her 2 daughters came to cheer Troy on as he was in the final Dash for Cash heat.  Glad they made it on time, as they missed the turnoff to Grande Prairie and ended up in Edson.  Not sure what they were doing but they did arrive on time.  Troy had some tough luck on 1 barrel, and hit the top coming around.  Darn.   Kurt Bensmiller came out the champ competing against Kelly Sutherland, John Walters and Troy.

Rick hooked Air, Ranger, Keenan and Law tonight coming off the 1 barrel in heat 1.  Trickster and Stadium were ridden by Cole and Kale.  penalty free run tonight.  And the bonus of being in the 1st heat, is we get chores done really early!  We ended up with a 9th day money.  Rick was happy how they performed.



Cody was in the 2nd heat.  He turned and managed to get out on the track first again.  He was doing quite well, but the horses didn’t have quite enough run to keep the lead.  And unfortunately, he also had a late outrider.  This put him down in 25th spot.  He’s going to do well, just have to keep at it.


Well, hopefully our time in the mud is finished for a while.  It does make for a whole lot more work.  Time to clean things up, pack and head on down the road.


The sun shone through the trees, after all the ponies were put away for the night.  And you know, it doesn’t matter where you go, there is always something good to take home with you.

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and Team 23

P.S.  “May the stars carry your sadness away, May the Flowers fill your heart with beauty, May hope forever wipe away your tears, and above all, may silence make you strong.      Chief Dan George



Grande Prairie Stompede Day #4

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends

We slept through pitter patter rain drops on the trailer throughout the night and into the morning.  It didn’t bother me, one bit.  I think it just put me to sleep.  When you get as much fresh air and exercise as we do in a day, and your head hits the pillow, its lights out!

The early morning hour came fast.  We donned our muck boots and headed out the door to do chores.  The ponies like to get out of the stalls in the morning, but if its raining, they want back in fairly soon.  So “Team 23” got at it and got the barn chores all done up, and put them back in out of the rain.

Rick and I headed to town after the chores were completed.  We  headed to the biggest western store in the north, Keddies Tack and Western Wear.  This is the tarp we proudly are carrying for the Grande Prairie Stompede this week.  It’s been several years since we’ve been racing, and finally we were able to pair up with the Keddie family and their business.  And to them we say “Thank You!”


Turning the Top Barrel



This guy, is a new outriding horse, and his name is Whiskey.  He’s rather tall, and a bit of a handful taking him out to the track.  He’s a new horse, and I just had a hunch that the outrider would have his hands full.  And he was.  Whisky charged hard and Kale had a rough time getting on him, which accessed us a 1 second penalty for being late.  The horse just needs a bit more training and he will be good.


Turning the Top of 3

Because of the penalty’s already assessed to us this week, Rick decided to put some newbies on the hook.  He had Air (Left Lead), Ranger (Right Lead) Jim (Left Wheel) and Keenan (Right Wheel).  The wheelers are going to good!  Again just need some more practice.When the horn went, Rick managed to get them around the top barrel, but then coming back he wasn’t able to bring them back around the bottom barrel.  I told him when he got back to the barns that he at least should have knocked the darn barrel over. Missing the barrel completely costs one 10 seconds in penalty, knocking it over is only 5. So having this happen tonight. this puts us in the first heat tomorrow.  I think I will be in bed early tomorrow!

Tonight, my dad stopped in to watch the races.  I was so glad to have him come back and see us all.  His RV Park, Country Roads RV, are sponsoring Cody this week.


My Nephews kids and Great Grandpa too


My dad and Me


I was tickled pink, to see my dad at the end of the barn tonight.  He’s looking pretty darn good for 83 years young.


Rick and Sue my Dad Sig, Cody and Allie

We managed a family photo with Cody and Allie too. Treasured memories.

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and Team 23

P.S.Life is a great big canvas; throw all the paint on it you can.





Grande Prairie Stompede Day #3

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends

It was a morning of get up and go.  Cody had an outfit to hook and school kids to go meet, so our barn crew and his got things going as soon as  the track opened at 6:30 am.  The boys, Rick and Cody had a school pancake breakfast to attend for 8:45.  Time was ticking.

foggy morning

Kind of Foggy Out

Foggy mornings

Practice Run

We got all the horses harnessed and the outriding horses saddled.  Everything went according to plan.

Hillside School Outing

3 cowboys back in school

The boys clean up well, when its time to go to town.  Today they went to Hillside school, the one Rick attended when he was a young one.  Doing these types of visits is so important to us.Going to the schools is so important for keeping our Western Heritage alive.  The kids loved seeing real cowboys that answered all their questions about their sport of Chuckwagon Racing.


Vet Check for Chips

Come race time, we have some gals that come around and check the horse for their chips in their neck.  This tells them which horse is going.  No horse is allowed to run 2 races in one night.  This is an excellent way to keep track.


One GREAT Sponsor!!

Keddies is one great sponsor!  They were the highest bidder back a few weeks ago  that purchased the rights to have their canvas on Ricks chuckwagon during the 2016 Stompede. Keddies have been purchasing a drivers tarp for many many years.

DSC_3558tonight’s hook off of barrel 2 was the same crew as last night.  Spirit, Spin, Cowboy, and Glory, with Tirxter and Stadium racing behind with the outriders on their back.  Rick was so speedy, he would have captured a day money, but pulling into the barrels he didn`t quite stop soon enough, was then ahead of his barrel, and did not back them up in time before the horn went.  This gained us 2 seconds in penalty.  Darn!  But we are very happy on their quickness around the track.  That speaks volumes.


The Rookiie Skinner

As for son Cody tonight, he sure looks good up in that box.  He posted 26th on the day, but would have been much higher, but unfortunately one of his outriders were late.  They didn`t reach the 150 yard line when the wagon crossed the finish line, so Cody was assessed a 1 second penalty.  Things will get better as we go along.

We had a few little visitors tonight after the races.  Little Cloud, was enjoying jumping off the straw and running up and down the ramp of the liner.  Rick wad taking it all in.  Kids are wonderful to have around.

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and Team 23

P.S. Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day.





Grande Prairie Stompede Day #2

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends

A dreary, cool, and overcast morning was upon us as we woke up at 6 am.  Rick headed out straight away to feed the horses their morning oats.  I got ready for the day, put the coffee on and prepared the crew their morning meal.  I was blessed with a crazy headache!  One would have thought I had a few glasses of wine the night before.  Unfortunately not.  Once breakfast was cleared it was out the door to do the chores.  All the ponies are taken out of their stalls and put into their pens to run, stretch, play and relax, while we hauled away all the manure, replaced it with fluffy straw, fresh clean water and more nutritious hay.


Curious George


Lazy Morning Siesta

I can’t express enough, how our thoroughbred horses have such unique personalities. They are just like kids.  Iscar just had to come up and see what I was doing with my camera.  The others were in relaxation mode.  And that is just where I headed to, after the chores were all complete.  My headache just didn’t want to go away.  Good thing I laid down, for I slept 3 hours.  I guess my body needed it.

IMG_3066IMG_3046I want to share with you the posters our friend Byron designed for us this 2016 season.  He did a great job with Cody’s depicting the 4 generations.  On the poster you see Great Grandpa Tommy Dorchester (Rick’s mom, Joan’s  Father), Dave Lewis (Rick’s Dad) and then Rick, Cody’s dad.  Cody chose the number “48” to put on his wagon to represent that he is the 4th generation, and the 8 competitor in the family to compete.  And as for Rick’s #23?  You will have to ask him what it means if you ever get a chance to meet up with him.  Many people ask me, so I send them on to him as I say “Its his wagon, his number.”  You might be surprised and chuckle when he tells you.  And you might believe him and you might not!  LOL

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There are so many people that put just one camp together, in order to get their driver out to the track on time. Just one of the things that I do, is make sure Ricks Go Pro is charged and ready to film his race.  Normally we video, but for some strange reason, I had it on camera mode tonight.  No worries, we got some great shots just the same.  I put a collection together for you to experience just a little bit of what it might be like up on the box of the wagon as a driver.

Our hook tonight was Spirit (Left Lead) Spin (Right Lead) Cowboy (Left Wheel, on  his maiden voyage) Glory (Right Wheel)


Stadium awaits all saddled and bridled

Stadium was rode by Kale, and Cole rode Trixter.  Unfortunately Kale had a bit of trouble tonight, which made him a bit late behind Ricks speedy 1:15.75.  So we were then assessed a 1 second outrider late penalty.  We still managed a 10th on the day.


I get pretty excited and nervous when son Cody comes out to drive.  He is a pretty darn good driver, as he’s learned from one of the best.  Tonight, his hook started and charged.  He had a great turn around the top barrel, but then the wagon whipped past the bottom knocking it over.  He was then penalized for coming off the barrels a being a bit to narrow.  But just like any other things in life, we learn by our mistakes to make us better.  I’m so proud of my son Cody!

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue with Rick and Team 23

P.S.  Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and the thinkers.  But most of all, surround yourself with those who see the greatness within you, even when you do not see it yourself.




Grande Prairie Stompede Day#1

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends

Its been a very busy week, since  we arrived here in Grande Prairie.  When you have twenty some horses to look after, it takes up your day and then some!

Wolfe Print near Evergreen Park.png

During the days, I have been able to sneak out to have me time.  The area is great for running as it is very sandy and has lots of trees.  I, along with everyone else camping here, have been warned about wolves, bears and cougars that have been known to be in the vicinity.  I personally haven’t seen any, but their tracks are visible.  Allie and Kim went jogging the other day, and this is the print they found.  Pretty big paw impression.  I make sure I stick to the walking trails, just to play it safe.

Chuckwagon Kids

Some Chuckwagon Kids Perform

When there are 36 driver members on the circuit, you know that there has to be family connected.  The other day, these bunch of young ones treated us to a singing performance, with a treat table to purchase some goodies for the show.

Racin washing wagon.JPG


With the snow and rain we received, the track was very muddy, so competitor Chad Fikes’s little son came over to give Rick a hand at washing his wagon.  To cute for words.


We always enjoy visitors.  We were excited to see long time friend, Matte Crichton and family.  My friend Michelle also stopped in with her granddaughters.  I love to see how the horses react to the kids, its such a special bonding.


The day before the race meet begins, all drivers must have their wagons weighed and inspected.  Rick and I towed it over to the wash barn on the grounds to wait our turn.  Each wagon must weigh a minimum of 1325 lbs with the driver in it.


No matter what we do in life, practice makes perfect.  It was a cool, beautiful morning yesterday, when Cody hooked an outfit in the early morning hours.

Our outriders are a very important part of our sport.  They are very good athletes.  Some outriders will be hired to ride all 9 heats.  It take a very good body in shape to ride that many.


Well day 1 is a wrap.  Rick had Nickle (Left Lead), Speedy (Right Lead), Trick (Left Wheel) and Law (Right Wheel).  What a beautiful team!  Ace and Andy were our outriding horses tonight, with Cole on Ace and Kale on  Andy.  Disappointment  set in, when we seen Cole pull up Ace on the backstretch, as he felt he was off on his one foot.  This cost us 2 seconds in penalty, for outrider not finishing the race.  It is better to be cautionary then continue on.


Rick and I were very excited to have our son Cody compete tonight for the first time on the World Professional Chuckwagon Association.  Cody did  very well with his outfit, but was just a tad bit ahead of the barrel as the horn blew, which tacked on a 1 second penalty.  Tomorrow will be a much better day for sure.


Our mini chuckwagons have arrived once again. Rick and I like to give back to all the fans out there, so after each race, we hand one out to a lucky person in the crowd.  Be sure to attend one of our race meets this summer to have your chance of receiving  one of your very own.

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue and Rick & Team 23


“A strong positive mental attitude will create more miracles than any wonder drug.”