Calgary Stampede, Alberta Canada Day #4


Howdy Chuckwagon Friends,

It is the day after.  The happenings of yesterday seem so surreal today.  For me, looking back, it seemed like it all took place in the blink of an eye.  But then I ask myself, did it really happen?  Did Rick really tip over the chuckwagon going over the bottom of 1 barrel?  Yes he really did.  And  only by the grace of God, is he and our horses fully fine with no injuries.

Rick and I watched this video together.  It was good to see in slow motion to assess what we thought had happened.  In the end, things worked out for the good.

Today is a time for rebuilding of the wagon.  And rebuilt it will be.  A few of the other competitors have offered their chuckwagons if need be.  How good is that?

As I wrote my blog  last night in the quietness of my trailer, I heard a snap that came from the back bathroom just outside the back end office.  I was excited!  I knew exactly what it was.  Not wanting to investigate till morning, I finished up what I was doing and headed to bed.  First thing when up and at it, this is what I found……………………………………….


A Mouse No More

……………One Big Fat Mouse.  This little creature snuck in from the Ponoka grounds and traveled his way to the big City Lights of Calgary.  I knew he was in there with the toilet paper mess he had made and the eating from the snack drawer.  But I got him and I got him good.  No more mice in this trailer.


A Helping Hand

Back to the incident, we can’t thank each and every one of you out there enough, that came out to help in one way or another.  The Chuckwagon and Stampede Committee members, the Media members on the ground, our Chuckwagon Family, Friends, Fans, Sponsors and Family.  Rick and I have been overwhelmed with all your helpfulness of gestures, from phone calls, Facebook messages, texts, hugs and more.  Each and every one has touched our heart.  We are so thankful the outcome of the incident was what it was.


Together the Morning After

We had to take a photo of ourselves this morning, just to let you know, we are all okay.


One Damaged Wagon


Jim, Chad and Rick doing Team Work

After morning chores, Rick and I took some time to visit with a friend, and then it was time to get to work.  Our sponsors, The Mavericks provided us with some awesome companies to help us through the process of welding, macining, making wood pieces for the seat.   By race time, the Chuckwagon was ready to roll.  Excellent Team Work by all involved.

It is always a pleasure to have friends pop by.  Today, Rick and I enjoyed a surprise visit from long time school mate and boxer, Willie deWit and family.  Another good friend, Shelby and her mom Chris stopped in to check in on Rick. Making sure he was okay.


Tonight’s races started out with a big old black sky that opened up on us.  Just enough to make it muddy for a few more loads of laundry tomorrow. Rick hooked the same outfit as last night, Spitit, Spin, Cowboy and Glory, with Stadium and Andy ridden by David and Cole.  Coming off the 2 barrel, with Kirk Sutherland on the inside on 1, Chad Harden on 3 and Chanse Vigen on 4.  Just a split second before the Klaxon Horn sounded, our team moved just a bit forward.  Minor!  But just enough that the judges called it a false start which in turn is a 1 second  penalty.  The race was ran, and boy did they go and go hard.  Rick drove them around the barrels and onto the track, and by the 3rd turn you would have thought the burners were turned on.  Rick and the team pulled away from the other wagons and crossed the finish line in a 1:12.77.  This would have been a day money run without the 1 second assessed.  So we settled for 4rth and that is just okay to.

Again, I would like to express our thank you, to all of the messages we have received by way of email and texts.  We have yet had time to read them all.  We may not respond to each and ever one, but just so you know, we will have read them.  Hearing from you means so much and we cherish you all.

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and Team 23

P.S.  Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and start being excited about what could go right.



Calgary Stampede, Alberta Canada Day #3

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends

Every day’s a great day when you can get up and breathe!  So many times, one can take life for granted.  When our health is in check and things are going smooth we don’t realize how many others have issues day to day, and just make it by with no complaining.


A Barn Tour to Meet the Horses

Today, we had a group of families come by called the Starlight Foundation.

Starlight Children’s Foundation partners with experts to improve the life and health of kids and families around the world.

For over 23 years, Starlight Children’s Foundation has been transforming the lives of Canadian children who live with serious illness and their families. What makes us unique is that we are there for the entire journey—from the emergency room to recovery.

While in-hospital, Starlight provides distraction, entertainment and relief from the stress and boredom of hospitalization.

When out-of-hospital, Starlight children benefit from our ‘Escapes’ and ‘Wishes’ programs— giving them an opportunity to leave the ‘sick’ behind, create special family memories and return home with a renewed sense of strength and hope.

Starlight is looking to expand to more hospitals and in more communities across Canada. The need is tremendous—and it is only with the generous support of our donors and partners that we will be able to reach and impact these special children, who so greatly benefit from our programs.

The smiles on the faces of these families today were very touching.  They so much appreciated to be getting out to experience a little bit of our life in the barns.  I commend each and every family in this program.  They are my heroes of today.


Our Home Away From Home

Our shed row is decked out with flags and banners with many sponsors that have come out to support us.  The Mavericks are amazing guys that love to have fun and work hard to support so many charities along the way.  We give a huge shout out to them for believing in Rick, Sue and Team 23!  I’m loving also the live flowers provided to me by my friend Mary-Lynn (aka Red Neck Barbie) from Bruces’s Tru Value Hardware in Ponoka  that don the entry way and hang in the barn.  I hope I can keep them alive for the full 10 tens.  I’ve been watering them every day.


“Team 23” Photo Credit: Char G Photography

TEAM 23 loves to have fun and it wouldn’t be right if we didn’t get a group shot for Stampede 2016!


A Quiet Afternoon

From noon till 4, the barns are quiet, quiet, quiet.  Many are sleeping, others are doing errands.  The barns don’t have much movement by people and horses alike.  The horses rest very well in the barns with big fans going, keeping them comfortable with cool air movement all around.  They get treated royally.

Tonight before the races, Rick had a live Facebook interview with WPCA personal Brian and Tammy.  They asked many questions about Chuckwagon Races and our Horses.  If you would like to see it, just look up World Professional Chuckwagon Association on Facebook.


Heading for the Bottom Barrel


Just Before the Tip


Going Over

So, tonight’s heat 4, which was the one Rick was in on barrel 1, didn’t play out quite the way we had envisioned.  The horses started pretty good, went around the top barrel, but didn’t quite make it around the bottom. .  Instead, the barrel got ran over, and somehow it tipped the Chuckwagon, spilling Rick out onto the dirt and the outfit ran off.  Our outrider David Bensmiller was able to catch up to the runaway team and get them woed up by the 3rd turn.  Once the dust settled, my hubby was fine, and his main concern was our horses.   We caught up with them, and found out that they were perfectly fine as well.  All of them were vet checked and given a thumbs up.


A Bit of a Spill

As I sit and write in the quietness of my Travelin Trailer, so many emotions pass through me.  First off, I Love my husband Rick very much.  When we first met, he won me over by his teasing personality.  He loves to have fun.  I married into his family of Chuckwagon Life on the road.  I must say we have had quite the wonderful journey these past 32 years, and would not take back anything for the world.  We have laughed, cried, sang, cheered, fought, been quiet, disagreed,forgiven, bonded, and loved along the way.  I have seen him hurt other times before during his race career.  Tonight’s incident  was frightening for all to have watched.  When the dust settled, Rick was fine.  No injuries.  The horses, were fine.  No injures.  We are very thankful for this.  At the end of the day, it is what it is.  Rick has been living his dream, racing around the track with many beautiful powerful thoroughbreds to which we call family.  My heart hurts for my husband and I quietly shed tears for him, because I know that our dream to capture the Calgary Stampede title has been diminished once again.  Does this title really matter in the big scheme of things at the end of the day?  No not really. And we both agree on this.  What really matters is the kids we will meet tomorrow when we go up to the local  Children’s Hospital and meet the young souls there,  that struggle day to day with health issues and never complain.  That is what really matters in the big scheme of things today.

So we urge you to hug your kids, your grand-kids and family and enjoy them each and every day.


The Wheel of Life

We are the hub, and the kids are the spokes, keeping us all connected in this wheel of life.

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and Team 23

P.S.  You never know how STRONG you are until being STRONG is the only choice you have.