Ponoka, Alberta Day #2

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends

What a another beautiful day weather wise today.  Very warm and sunny.  I quickly shed my coat during morning chores as it was not needed. There were a few outfits from other camps that utilized the morning practice time.  We however, only sent out 1 outriding horse for exercise.  We keep a calendar of the days of horses that raced, ones that do a morning run and then calculate from there a schedule of days on and days off.  It is much like a human training regimen.  And with that comes proper feeding and care to get the full potential out of our equine animal.

Once the horses have been turned out into their pens at 7 am, they settle right down and enjoy the sand by many of them lying down and resting.  Once 10 am comes around, we put them back into their stalls in the barn, out of the sun, wind or rain to rest for the good part of the day.

Today was full of appointments for Rick and I, so the kids tended to the horses while we were away.


For Real……………A Zebra at the Ponoka Stampede!

Four 0 clock and we were back doing chores, and quickly as we had a sponsor meet and greet up in the infield Grandstand to attend before the races began.  Was good to see the folks from Crystal Kids there along with other local sponsors.  Back behind the grandstand, I spotted this zebra!  I’m not sure I have seen one in real life ever, but today I can say I have now.  I heard he is being used for an act of some sort during the rodeo performance.


An Ice Cream Treat on a Hot Day

While waiting for our heat to come, I treated myself to a most delicious ice cream treat ever!  And I never shared at all.  It was good.


Andy, patiently waiting

Cody, driving off the 2 barrel had a very good run tonight.  He had a running time of 1:15.80, good for 9th on the day.  This kid can drive!


Headin for Home

DSC_5046Heat #5 was the heat to be in tonight.  Mike Vigen ended up with a day money run, and a time of 1:14.75.  It’s always great to be in those heats, cause that means you tend to have a great time as well.  And Rick did!  4th on the day with a time of 1:15.14.  We hooked the same crew as last night. Skippy (LW), Glory (RW),Spirit (LL) Spin (RL) with Stadium and Andy being ridden by Cole and Chad.


Turning the Top

Rick got around the barrel nicely, and with this run, moves him up from 30th spot to 19th.

After the races, it gets busy around the barns.  All the camps are finishing up chores and preparing the horses with their clean stalls, feed and water for the night.  We were elated when Grandma Elsie showed up to say hello.  A true fan of “Team 23”.

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and “Team 23”

P.S.  Just because the process hurts, doesn’t mean the results won’t be beautiful.




Ponoka, Alberta Day #1

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends

Yesterday was such a busy and draining day for me.  The fast turn around from the High River show to Ponoka, the trip home to pick up horses, oats and supplies, Ponoka dinner venue, and a husband under the weather all adds up.  So I made sure I got some good sleep last night. My head hit the pillow at 8:30 pm.  Getting good rest is one thing that I am more in tune with.  Several years ago, I refrained from napping and early nights and got fairly run down, and came down with a cold.  So not a  good thing when on the road.  I learnt my lesson.  DSC_4890

The Ponoka Stampede.  One of a kind.  This is their 80th year running, and the venue we attended last night, was honouring the past legends.  Rick’s late Grandpa Tommy Dorchester is included with that group.  So proud of him and the legacy h has left behind.

Tommy Dorchester

Here in this photo, he heads for home at the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, The Calgary Stampede.


Some Random Chuckwagon Fans

As I was walking towards the infield to watch Cody’s race, these guys up in a sponsor booth just had to have their photo taken.  So I obliged.  They look like they were having a great o’l time tonight.  It wouldn’t be a successful show without faithful fans such as these.

Tonight, Cody and Rick were off the number 1 barrel, just in separate heats.  Cody was in the first heat and Rick in the fifth.  What a nice turn and run he had.  He crossed the finish line first by only a horses head maybe.  Good enough for 18th on the day.  I’m sure Great Grandpa Tom is watching down on him.


Headin to the Track


Outrider Chanse Vigen

Tonight, Cody had Chanse Vigen hold his leaders and Chance Flad throw the stove.


Coming onto the Track and outrider Chad Cosgrave is on his way.


Lookin back at Disappointment

You know, no driver likes to see a knocked down barrel. Tonight it happened to “Team 23”.  It happens to everyone at some time or another.  But I have to tell you something.  I was listening to the radio yesterday on my way back to the Ranch.  And there was a message that set in.  It spoke of very famous people over the years.  Thomas Edison, and Albert Einstein, to name a couple.  The message being said, was that these such folks were famous.  And most people know what they are famous for.  But what most do not know, is that they failed, and failed and failed again, in order to achieve what they did in the end.  They never gave up, and each time they got better and better and better.


A speedy run

So despite the 5 second penalty assessed, our horses ran their hearts out for us.  They posted a 1:13.65 which in turn would have been a day money run.  We have to dwell on that for positivity.


Counting the Cash

Our Grandson Coy has found a new job.  Collecting cans and bottles for spending money.  Most kids on the circuit have done this at least once in their lifetime, including Coy’s papa Rick, his uncle Cody and his mom Amy and auntie Kaylee.  It’s a great way to learn about responsibility, hard work and money all at the same time.

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and “Team 23”

P.S.  Don’t let today’s troubles bring you down.  Don’t let life’s little obstacles keep you from trying.  Don’t let your fears keep you from dreaming.  Don’t give up for any reason.  BELIEVE IN YOURSELF



High River, Alberta Day #4

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends

Well that was a whirl wind!  And I’m talking about Sunday, the last days of racing in High River. In my mind, I pre-plan in my head,  how the day is going to go.  But, that doesn’t mean it always works out that way.  Because of the quick turn around between shows, High River and Ponoka, (1 day rest in between) Sunday was a race day, packing day and travel day all put into 1.


A Group Photo

Our day began with chores, a bit of packing, breakfast and more packing.  On travel days such as these, we try to tuck things away as much as possible before the race, so there is little left to do after the races.  I did have a nap planned in my thoughts, but somehow it did not come into fruition.  A quick trip to the grocery store squashed my plan.

Our sponsors from Peter Niemans Water Well Drilling so graciously showed up with another tail gate meal at our barn for lunch, before race time.  On the menu?  Rick’s favorite……hot dogs.  Simple and easy.  We thank them for the meals and the Sponsorship these past 4 days.


Pre-game Chat with Stadium

My job for the races is taking the outriding horses over to the infield for the riders.  This show, I rode one and led the other instead of walking.  They are all pretty good to ride.  When it was time to walk the horses to the riders for our heat, Andy was being like a bad little kid not wanting to go.  I was literally trying to drag him over.  I’m sure it was a funny site.  But in the end, little o’l me won out.  Andy had to race.


Cody was in heat 2 off the four barrel today.  He ran a real decent race, but was assessed a 1 second penalty for a late outrider. Those penalties hurt.  Once he gets that issue straightened out, he’s going to do quite well.  Rick and I are very proud of how he’s driving so far.

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Day #4 for Rick and his equine team was another great one.  Not a day money run, but fast just the same.  “Team 23” ended up 4th for the day and 6th overall. What a jump in the standings two speedy runs can do.  This sure  boosted our camps morale.  We needed that.


Two smiling fans are chosen


Well, the High River Guy Weadick show was a success.  It did not take long for many of the outfits to head north to Ponoka right after the show.  I believe the Harden camp were the first to pull out at 6 pm.

Our convoy got away at 7:30. Not to bad at all.  We rolled into the town of Ponoka by 9:45 pm.  There was still some daylight, so we got busy as beavers setting up pens, filling feed and water buckets, replenishing the hay nets and bedding the stalls.  The ponies were happy in their barn quarters by midnight.

I want you all to know, that I never forgot about completing  my blog for you to enjoy with your morning java this morning.   As I  said before, many things do not go according to our plan at all times.  And today was one of those times.  Rick was a bit under the weather, so I filled in on the items that were on his list.  You gotta do what you gotta do!  All things happen for a reason.  And life goes on.

The Ponoka Stampede Rodeo and Chuckwagon races start tomorrow.  Hope to see some of you there.

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and Team 23


P.S.  When it Rains, look for Rainbows. When it’s dark, look for Stars.



High River, Alberta Day #3

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends

It rained throughout the night and a bit into this morning, then it cleared off, and the sun came out to dry up some of the land.  It was all good, until about 3 pm, then a wind and rain storm flew in from the north.  It didn’t last too long, and then it fled east.


My morning was spent in the trailer doing a few things, and more importantly playing with Coy.  Our grandson  arrived the day before to spend the weekend with us.  We were excited to see each other as it had been awhile since we were at home.  The Chuckwagon kids love to get together to play, so Coy invited the Gorst girls to come on over.


Date Day

The grounds at our venues, on race days, become very quiet in the early afternoon.  It can be pretty hard to find any of the drivers and families outside the camps.  Most have a scheduled afternoon nap.  As Rick had his shut-eye a bit early, and Coy went swimming with some of the other families,  Rick and I doddled into town on a date!  We went for propane, diesel for the truck and then ended up at The Hitchen Post, the best little burger and ice cream joint south of Calgary.  We always take time here and there, to be just the two of us.

After we all returned, Coy and I went on a little date over to the other side of the grounds where some vendors are set up.  Coy was excited to get a sparkle tattoo of a shark on his arm.

The day didn’t take long to fly by, and before we knew it, it was chore time again.  Our sponsors from Peter Niemans Water Well Drilling arrived with a tail gate party for         “Team 23”.  What a treat that is for me.  I didn’t have to fret over what was going to be for dinner.  Thanks to Doug and Company, all was totally enjoyed.


Always time for fans

One of the best things in our sport, is having folks come by to the back of the barns.  Its equivalent to being down in the pits at Nascar, or going into the dressing rooms of the teams in the NHL.  That is where all the action is at.


Under the Rainbow

When Cody came out to race,  the rain began to fall.  Not a lot, but gently.  And lo and behold, a beautiful rainbow appeared in the sky.  I couldn’t resist getting a shot of him and his wagon under the rainbow.  Cody ran a good race, but unfortunately, his outrider didn’t. He had a tough time and didn’t make it around the barrel, causing a 2 second penalty.  Just plain tough luck.


Concentrating coming into the barrels

Just as Ricks heat was pulling in, the rain had ceased, but the mud did not.   Rick came off the 4 barrel tonight, and boy did he fly!  Fast enough to get ahead of his competitors to take the rail coming into the first turn.  I was elated!  Law (LW), Nicke (LL) Speedy (RL) and Trick (RW) ran hard and fast.  Cole rode Andy and Shawn rode Corn Whiskey.  We were both very happy how both the boys worked things out tonight.  penalty free and a Day Money Run!!!  So Excited for that!!! Team 23 posted a 1:17.55. with the 2nd day money winner posting a 1:19.54.  A 2 second spread.  This was a real uplifter for all of us.


A Happy Camper

I just love these little ones smiles, when they get to keep the mini Chuckwagon giveaway.

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Some shots of around the barn.


Candice and Kim with Smiles All Around

And as I’ve always said, it takes a crew to make things happen.  And “Team 23” is made of many.  Here, we have Candice and Kim, who both look after the horses to the top of their ability and are extremely proud to call our horses their family.  We appreciate all that they do.


The Captain of the Ship

When Rick returns from our heat, he quickly gets our horses settled in, then take off next door to give fellow driver Mike Vigen a hand with his horses.


Catch you Again Partner

So onward and upward from here.  Tomorrow is an early race day, beginning at 4:00pm.   Then from here, we are off to the town of Ponoka for its 6 day Stampede.  Come on out if you can and stop by to say hello.

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and Team 23

P.S. I have learned this at least by my experiments: That if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.





A Special Meeting at Home on The Ranch

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends

You know, every time you turn on the T.V. or read the newspaper, there are always stories told of bad things.   I prefer not to listen to all that, so I want to share with you a feel good story.

Last summer, a local friend of a friend, got a hold of us during our Chuckwagon season.  Her Grandma Elsie’s 80th birthday was coming up, and she wanted to surprise her with a meeting up with my husband Rick.  Elsie loves Chuckwagon Racing, and since watching the T.V. Series The Half Mile of Hell a number of years ago, she since then claimed Rick as her favorite driver.  Elsie never dreamed possible she would ever have the chance to meet up with us.  But little did she know,  anything is possible if you just dream it.

So we got the call, and planned a nice surprise luncheon out at our Ranch inviting Shannon  to bring “Grams” as she’s called, to spend the afternoon.  Well let me tell you, when Grams realized where she was and who she was to meet, this O’L gal was excited to say the least.  You would thought she died and went to heaven.


Unbeknownst to Grandma Elsie, she made our day too!  The joy and laughter this lady holds, and also her wit, fills anyone’s day with Joy!  So here are a few photos of the fun we had that day.


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We are now into our 4rth show of the season.  So many folks are not able to come to each venue to watch us race, but what they can do is sit and listen on the Sirius Sattelite Rural Radio channel 147.  And that’s just what Grandma Elsie does.  So we thought we would make her day, and give her a shout out of “Hello” from her favorite driver Rick.  Her reaction tells the story.

And Grandma Elsie listening to Chuckwagon Driver Ricks race.

Trust our story puts a smile on your face today.

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and Team 23

P.S. Life is an opportunity to contribute love in your own way.