Strathmore, Alberta Rain Out

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends

Well, I could tell you my computer crashed, or I didn’t have anything to report, but truth is, there were no races due to the rain storm that hit and I just didn’t feel like writing.  I enjoyed the evening with my grandson Coy, then went to bed a bit earlier than normal.  In the morning I got up around 5 am,  fed morning oats for Ricky and enjoyed Timmies coffee with Rick, Troy and our friend Rod.  And that’s that!

I did get one phone call from a concerned friend, wondering where’s my blog.  She said there would be others concerned too.  Well I haven’t forgotten about you all, I’m just delayed a bit.  Hopefully you’re not disappointed too much.


The 5 o’clock Storm

Last night around 5 pm the skies were darkening to the north.  Our daughter Kaylee, called and told us to secure things down as a severe thunder and lightning storm containing high winds and possible hail was coming our way.   Well it came with a force.  We managed to stake our barn down with a sledge-hammer and spikes, but only when the wind had come up.  We were pretty fortunate it didn’t lift and destroy.  We heard one other barn for sure was ruined at another camp.  Unfortunate for the barn, yet good that all the horses were fine.


The races were called off as the lightning and rain storm continued for a few hours.  Our sponsors, friends and family all gathered into our RV and enjoyed a beverage until the rain let up.


Practicing Engineer

When the rain finally subsided, people started coming out from their trailers.  Coy decided to build a tower out of the chairs and wood available.  He did a pretty good job.



The early morning sunrise was beautiful, and the quietness and freshness from the rain of the great outdoors was breathtaking.  The ponies were excited to see me and receive their morning oats.

The drivers, officers and Stampede committee got together to decide what the next step in racing was to be.  The proper appointed people assessed the track, and as of now, they will be racing tonight, and will continue on Monday, and Tuesday we will race in lieu of yesterday.


A Treasured Letter

I would like to share with you, a treasured letter that I have kept from a few years back.  We like to read these every so often to enjoy great memories that the Chuckwagon Trail has given us.  Johnathan was a young fella from a local 4-H group that came to spend the days with us when we raced in Edmonton a few years back.  We totally enjoyed Johnathan and his humor.  And we were pretty excited to see him again this year when we rolled into the Ponoka Stampede.

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and Team 23

P.S.  In those times when we yearn to have more in our lives, we should dwell on the things we already have.  In doing so, we will often find that our lives are already full to overflowing.






Strathmore, Alberta Day #1

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends

Today was a hot and enjoyable day.  I love the heat and the sunshine.  The sunshine just seems to put people in a much better mood.


Early Morning Practice

Morning practices are early, so many barns are up and at it getting out onto the track with an outfit or two. This morning we had one hook, and Cody had two to go.

Our Calgary Stampede sponsors had a charity golf tournament back in June.  One of the items up for grabs was a ride in the chuckwagon with Rick.  Well Gary  was the proud recipient of the auction item, so we scheduled for it to take place here in Strathmore.  Gary was thrilled to the nines, as he got his moneys worth and more.  He got to go for two rides, one with Rick and one with Cody.   All went well, and he even got to assist in driving the team back to the barns.


A Night of Fun

Cody’s sponsor here, is a bunch of ladies that got together to buy a tarp, and they called themselves “Sweet Cheeks!”  Sounds like fun!!!  And fun they had, as they put on a fundraiser fashion show to raise some money.  Their extra cash is going to the local hospice.  What a great cause to support. Cody enjoyed being part of the evening escorting all the lovely ladies down the runway.

Night #1 of racing went well for most.  Not many penalties were assessed.  Cody was in the 3rd heat off the barrel 4.  I was back at our barn tending to our  outriding horses as we were in the next heat so I didn’t get to see him race.  Cody rolled just ahead of his barrel before the horn sounded, thus receiving a 1 second infraction to his time.  Despite that, he drove his team very well around the track.


Rick hooked Spirit (LL), Speedy (RL), Trick (LW) and Vegas (RW), with Stadium and Andy for outriding horses.  Chad Cosgrave and Cole were our outriders.  It was a penalty free heat with Rick coming off the 2 barrel.  He said they sure ran and performed well.  It was such a good close race with the other 3 wagons, that they called it the heat of the night.  Rick, Chad Fike and Jess Willard dualled for the lead pretty much all the way around the track, with Rick taking the win by a nose at the finish line with a 1:15.52, Chad a 1:15.55, Jess a 1:15:61, and Mitch a 1:16.41.  A crowd pleasing  race.  Our time positioned us 11th on the day.


Smiles All Around

What a great bunch of kids, excited to have received our mini chuckwagon giveaway tonight.  They looked like they were having a great time at the Strathmore Heritage Days Stampede.

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and Team 23

P.S. Stand up for something, even if it means standing alone.  Because often times, the one who flys solo has the strongest wings.





Strathmore, Alberta Bound

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends

Monday, after Bonnyville, and we were loaded and headed down to the Southern part of Alberta to the town of Strathmore.  Our next stop on the tour.  We departed around 11 am and drove the country scenic route of Highway 36, 9, and 21.  The trip was quite uneventful, and I enjoyed the peace and quite of my truck.  The grounds looked quite empty when we arrived as there was only 1 other unit set up.  The horses were happy to get unloaded to run and stretch in their large pens.  It was an early night as travel days are tiresome.  I believe we crawled into bed by 8:30 pm.  I Loved It!


Enjoying the Sunshine

Tuesday and Wednesday were my office days in the trailer.  No barn chores for me as the bills had to be paid and the quarterly Government GST had to be figured out and reported.    It takes some time to do especially when I haven’t looked at it for the past month.  Once that got completed, some of the neighboring gals joined me on my back deck for a cocktail in the warm and delightful sunshine.


Early Morning Sunrise

Today, Rick and I were very fortunate to be invited by our friend, retired Colonel, Mr. John Melborurne to go up north to the Air Force Base in Cold Lake, to attend a ceremony of The Change of Command.  This is something new to us, as neither of us have any ties to family in the military.  We were very honoured guests to partake and witness this important ceremony.

Our trip was rather quick, as we were able to fly up and back for the morning. We couldn’t have asked for any better weather, as it was smooth sailing both ways.


March Past

Before the ceremony, we were able to meet the Colonels and their families that were changing their positions in the military.  Although we had very little time to chat, it was an honor to meet and speak with these fine folks who serve our country.  I have utmost respect for the wives and children, of  the giving of their husband and father to such an important call of duty.


March of the Colours

What intrigued me today, was the discipline these people have and it shone through.  They are extremely proud of who they are and the job that they do for all of us Canadians and our Country.


Handshake of the Colonels

As I witnessed this ceremony, my thoughts wandered, thinking how the wives and children cope with being on the move.  They often get transferred to different posts and positions with their line of duty.  What I witnessed today though, was a sense of family among  all that were there.  They may not know each other personally , but they are all a unit, working together for what they believe in .  I commend them all.


Rick & Sue and Retired Colonel John Melbourne

Before we departed, we were able to get a quick shot of us with our friend John in front of an F18 Fighter Jet.  This is the plane that Rick would love to go for a ride in some day.  He has put it on his bucket list.

High into the sky,  I took in, the beauty of the clouds and the land below.  I sat and pondered on our life of freedom  and fun we so choose to live.  We couldn’t ask for anything better than what we have today.

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and Team 23

P.S. The thing always happens that you really belive in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen.



Bonnyville, Alberta Day #4

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends

Afternoon start time  for our final day of the Bonnyville Chuckwagon races was on the schedule. We enjoyed a beautiful morning of sunshine. Chores were completed with extra help from our Bonnyville gals.    Bacon, eggs, potatoes and  toast were on the menu.  Rick likes his bacon and that is what he gets.


The Crew Headin on Out to Dump the Manure……….Team Work

We welcomed the Hebert Family in to meet us, particularly young Dominic.  You see, Dominic and his family have been fans of Chuckwagon races for some time now.  Rick has always been Dominic’s favorite driver since he can remember.  Well the family had been watching the races on TV during the Calgary Stampede.  They would do friendly bets among themselves during each heat.  For Rick’s heat, Dominic picked Rick.  The horn had sounded, Rick barreled around the top, headed for the bottom, and the unforeseen happened, Rick tipped over!  Dominic was devastated, along with his family.  He even had a tear in his eye.  Well this family was quite concerned, sent us well wishes, along with many other folks.  Their message caught my eye as I felt this young man needed to meet Rick.

When the invite came, Dominic was beside himself.  Bonnyville was the time and place.  Today we met the young fella and his family.  We toured them into the barn to meet the horses, and explained our life on the road.  They got to meet retired veteran driver Leo Tournier who does our farrier work and floats our horses teeth.  Dominic was so glad to meet his favorite driver and know he was okay.


There is never a shortage of Chuckwagon Kids on the trail and everyday they stay entertained riding bikes, or pulling mini wagons pretending they are running a race.  They  know where our trailer sits, as the candy dish is  always full and sits right by the door.  Minimal spoiling here!

DSC_6059Cody was off the 4 barrel today.  I wasn’t able to see his barrel turns, as I was busy tending to our outriding horses out back.  He had an unfortunate  mishap today, he knocked a barrel.  He had a great show up until then, and will be looking forward to heading down to Strathmore for more speedy runs.


Rick pulled into the four barrel with his White Bear Work Wear tarp.  His hook today was Nickle (LL), Spin (RL), Cowboy (LW) and Law (RW) with Ice and Sneakers as the outriding horses with David and Cole as our riders.  I was hoping to see them shoot out of there to get the rail, but not this time.  Despite that, they started hard and charged onto the track alongside the other outfits.  They ran a speedy time of 1:15.75 good enough for 5th on the day.  Very good for running 3 wide on the track.  We placed 20th overall in the show.

Congratulations  to Luke and Michelle Tournier on winning the Bonnyville Race meet along with outriders son Quaid Tournier and Chance Flad.


Its All Mine

This young man was standing in the right place at the right time.  He was pretty thrilled to have this little memento hand delivered to him by Rick at the post parade.


Hotdogs and a Fire

The best of the season is here.  Campfires at the last four shows to sit, relax and enjoy some down to earth great friendship visiting.

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and Team 23

P.S.  Some people are born into wonderful families.  Others have to find or create them.  Being a member of a family is a precious privilege which costs noting but love.

Bonnyville, Alberta Day #3

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends

Last night after the races, the sky to the west was amazing.  The weather forecast was for some rain in the area, but this sight was spectacular.

We were not really sure as to what was to come of it, but in the end, it was minimal rain and some wind.  Today the wind continues to blow and dry up the moisture on the ground.


Team 23 Fans

One of our rituals while here in Bonnyville, is scooting around town looking for some local garage sales, just for fun.  Well today, we found a few and  managed to have a few laughs along the way.  These o’l gals, (relatives on Rick’s side of the family) found some goofy costumes so they just had to try them on for size.  I think we might just see them at the races tonight.

Life is a journey for everyone.  No one knows what lies ahead of us.  We can plan into the future but our day to day outcome can be very different than what we expect.  On my journey today, I took my bike and spent some time alone on some nearby trails.  On my adventure I seen so many things.


An Unknown Journey

Along our path the road is usually visible for a short distance.  We can plan ahead for this and for that, and we anticipate great things.  Some come to fruition and some do not.

Often, we will find holes along the way that we need to fill.  Sometimes the road we travel is less than smooth, and we need to hang on for the ride hoping for the best.

On our journey we may see what we think is a flower but yet it is not.  The weed is classified as just a weed.  But no, it is not just a weed!  It’s a bright, beautiful, colorful plant with a purpose. Just as you and I have a purpose too.

Some days, we just need to stay in and snuggle up into our comfort zone of home.  This is where we feel most safe.  But then, there is a time to swim away, against the current, because you just need to fight.  To fight for what is right in your life.  And that is okay too.

Along the journey, there is a time to sit and  be quiet and remember those special people who were in our lives at one point.  To remember all the good things that they taught us, and for us to take that and use that for our journey too. As we ascend on the stairs, upward, it connects us closer to their spirit of happiness.  That there is comfort in everything.

Emotions can be so strong and different some days too.  Sometimes, we feel we might be held back, but yet we know there is room to go through, in  just small bits at a time.  Other times, we feel so hard, yet we are allowing to be washed and cleansed, to be able to move and carry on.  At other times, we know we need to take flight and just move on to a new and better destination to begin fresh, or to just get away for a time to regroup, then come back refreshed.

Many journeys have paths, where we don’t take mention to  the bad stuff, and just need to cross over it all and not mind it what so ever.  Just let it flow underneath you,  not giving it any thought whatsoever.  Often, we need to put the music on so we can dance, meditate, sing and just fill our being with a melody or two.  Music is so good for the soul!  But yet, we may need to just get out there, in wide a open space and let it all out, till there’s no more left release.

And when we have dealt with many things in our journey, we can take a seat wherever that may be, and just contemplate life.  We can stop to smell the flowers.  We can say to ourselves……”I am NOT JUST me!”  “I am SOMEBODY SPECIAL!”

Day # 3 and Cody was off the 3 barrel in heat #3.  As the horn sounded and the chuckwagons headed to the track, Cody was hung out 4 wide.  On the second turn he decided to pull in behind and go to the rail.  It was all good until he got into a box and had to pull and wait to get some room to the finish line.  He came 3rd in his heat aned 22nd on the day.


Flying off the Three Barrel

Rick too was off the 3 barrel in heat 5.  Tonight he hooked Hot Speed (LW), Trick (RW) Keenan (LL) and Speirman (RL) with Sneakers and Ice as the outriding horses being rode by David and Cole.  It was a clean run of  a time of  1:17.02 good enough for a 16th place on the day.  Only one more day of racing here in Bonnyville and tomorrow will be afternoon start time of 2 pm.

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and Team 23

P.S.  Great men and women are not extraordinary people who do extraordinary things.  They are ordinary people who do ordinary things with integrity.