Home on The Ranch

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends

It’s been 1 week since our arrival home.  When we departed Rocky Mountain House on Sunday afternoon, we were thrilled to be going home.  Other years, we would have stayed an extra night to relax, celebrate and enjoy an evening with other crews that stayed back along with the committee members.  This year we checked out the forecast and saw that the rain was coming to most of Alberta.  And come down it did, starting in the early hours of Monday morning.


We unloaded the ponies at around 8:30 pm I do believe.  It was dry and so beautiful to see the green trees,colorful flowers and the sun set into the west.  The forecast was true, and we were so glad to be home and not packing and loading up in the mud and the rain as some of the other camps did.


All Tuckered Out

Once all was put away, it didn’t take us long for our heads to hit the pillow.  You see, when you live life on the road, with 20 something horses to tend to, barn crews to feed along with others that stop by, you pretty much run on adrenaline because you just know you have to rise up everyday and tend to what has to get done.  We realized this the first year we were back on the road full-time in 1998.  We came home and had full intentions of watching a movie when we got into the house.  Not sure if we even got to the title, as we all fell asleep we were so exhausted.


And The Rain Came Down

While it poured rain for 2 days, we took the time to just relax and catch up on some sleep.  Everything was low-key.  There wasn’t much we could do outside with that kind of weather upon us.  I did take some to read up on all your great comments from my writing.  I want you know I have read them all and I thank you.  Kari sent me an interesting message, so I thought it would be good to share with you all.  It made me chuckle.

Whoa… I did not see this ending like this at all! I started following your blog just over a mth ago and it seems you have fed hundreds of famous breakfasts to hungry chuckwagon team peeps all season long. McWho cares how many trillion they served, there you are serving it up at your chuckwagon travelin’ trailer! In this day n age of huge gourmet kitchens that often only feed a family of 4, this seems worthy of a cooking segment on HGTV Tiny Houses so triple points for this n all the ambassador n community support you give in all you do!

But I digress on how I saw this end…I favor one of Wiki’s theory’s on the history of how chuckwagon races started and thought the season should finish accordingly:

“…cooks from two chuckwagons who had completed serving a barbecue at the 1919 Victory Stampede in Calgary then raced to the grandstand’s exit, inspiring the event”

In my alternate seasons ending, the announcer was still on the infield and this race was so quick he didn’t make it to the outfield in time so here is my recap from a birds eye view from Sask.  Super Skinner Sue was on barrel 1. No outriders were needed, her hook didn’t dare budge until her say so, and in her ever efficient way you know she already had her wife saver cook pans, fry pan and stove loaded herself. When the horn blew Sue made a clean start gaining  the rail to the Grandstand exit in an unheard of record time finish of 1.01 !

Well as I saw it Sue did not stop at the exit but hollered a “wagons ho” and raced on not stopping until she hit home!  There she graciously entered the Nugget winners circle and accepted her prize as World Champ winner of the 2016  WPCCA (World Pro Chuckwagon Cook Association) and was awarded a good night’s sleep in her own bed …home sweet home!

So glad to hear you will post from time to time in the off season so I don’t have to make up my own stories-yours are so much better!  I am reading the archives n have more questions!  But first relax, get caught up n get your wheels back under you after weaning off your summer too cute side kick Coy! Thanks so much for sharing your adventures in this blog! You, Rick n all the Team 23 are champions in my books!  Kari

Thank you Kari for this.  I love your imagination of writing!  Thank you also for your questions, and stay tuned as I will be writing one on the outriding boys and their duties. As I said before, us chuckwagon folk take what we do for granted.  We tend to forget that not everyone knows the in’s and outs on all the rules and regulations of our great Western and Heritage Sport.


One Full Load

When the rains had seized, it was time to get to work.  Little by little and load by load, I began unloading the Travelin Trailer.  The wheel barrows are used for more than manure you know.  My mini office, is now consuming my kitchen table.  The food was all taken out and put away. We picked up another extra passenger in Dawson Creek and I have been hunting him ever since.  When in Rocky, he startled me when I opened up the outside storage compartment.  That little fat mouse was eluding my traps ever since.  I figured I didn’t have enough traps so Rick picked up 6 more.  I was going to win and win I did!  Friday afternoon the little fat wonder was stuck to one of this little square  sticky pads.  I was going to dispose of him when I returned home from town.  He was gone when the time came to do the duty.  Rick said he did it,  but I knew better because he’s more scared of them little creatures than anyone I know.  Rick got our good friend and neighbor Doug to come to the rescue.  I’m just glad he’s gone and hope for no more, no more, no more!

Now in-between times, I’m very much taking time to enjoy these two little munchkins in our life.  They make me so very happy.  And I know one thing for sure………….my work will still be there when I get back to it!!!

From Home On the Ranch



P.S.  A child’s life is like a piece of paper on which every passerby leaves a mark.

Rocky Mountain House, Day #4

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends

Sunday, the last day of racing for the 2016 season has arrived.  With an early day race time of 2 pm, we had to plan out our day accordingly.  The crew got busy with  the chores, and Bruce, Michelle and I put together breakfast.  As a Team, we made a corporate decision to head home immediately after the races.  So once we were all fueled up with the delicious food, everyone got to work packing up the many  belongings that could be loaded ahead of time.


Final Day at Rocky Mountain House


Tight Turn on Two

Cody’s final race of the 2016 season was in heat 2 off the two barrel.  He had a great start, charged hard and posted a pretty decent time of 1:17.24 to split a 14/15 on the day.  We are proud of how our son Cody handled his Rookie year on the World Professional Chuckwagon Association Tour.  He has a great future ahead of him in this heritage sport of ours.

Rick was off the 4 barrel in heat 6.  His hook today was Nickel (LL), Speedy (RL),  Jim (LW Cody’s horse) and Law (RW).  Cole and Chance Flad rode Andy and Ice.  He had a great start when the horn sounded, but so did all three of the other wagons.  So when he saw he was 4 wide, he pulled his team into the first turn to go down to the rail and follow in behind the leader.  Many wagons drivers will do this as it often is a good move so when they hit the home stretch a hole can open up for them to charge hard to the finish line for a great finish.  Rick’s time was posted at a 1:17.72 to be 24th on the day.

2016 RMH Champs

World Champ, Luke Tournier and Battle of The Rockies winner Chad Harden

When the final wagons crossed the finish line, and all the times tallied up, the winners were announced.  Mulhurst resident, Chad Harden and his outriders Cole and Kale, accepted the winning belt buckles for being the fastest team at the Battle of the Rockies year-end venue.  Congrats to the Harden Camp.


Champion Outrider Cole Somerville

Cole works for us, and he received a beautiful buckle for being one of Chad Hardens outriders.  He was pretty proud to have won this title.

Our 3 months of race meets have points awarded for each day of racing according to your performance on the day.  The driver with the most points at the end of today’s race, wins the World Title of the World Professional Chuckwagon Association.  This year, Luke Tournier has captured the title.  This is his first ever world title and he was pretty excited to receive it.  Congrats to Luke and Michelle and their crew on capturing this award.


One of our Biggest, Littlest Fans

Just before we headed out, little Talence and her sister came by for one last hug before they headed back to Saskatchewan.  We always enjoy their support in the fan department.


With just under a 2 hour drive home to our Ranch in Wetaskiwn  AB, we were happily greeted by our dog Nugget.  She was pretty happy to see us, doing many circles around us.

It didn’t take long, and we had all the horses unloaded and running free without their halters.  They love to run.  We all just stood and watched for a while at how playful they looked in the sunset.


Freedom on the Ranch

I let the crew tend to the horses and the barn,  and I headed to the house with a few things from the trailer.

I stood and took in all my beautiful flowers, our  daughter Amy put together and tends to while we’re gone on the road.  They were all so beautiful.  It’s so good to be home.

The ground is pretty dry and dusty  here at home, compared to when we stopped in after Strathmore.  We are so glad the last race days of the season were not pelting  us with rain or having us trudging through mud.  We definitely  had our share of it this summer.


We may be home now, and the season of racing is finished.  But life goes on .  We have many things to get done around the Ranch before the fall and winter settles in.  Our list needs to be made and the boxes checked off as we go along.  I am thinking of continuing to write through out the off-season in of course a more sporadic time frame.

I thank each and every one of you for poking in and taking the time to follow my journey on the road this 2016 season.  I read each and every comment from you, and I intend on answering any questions that have come my way.  There have been many good ones asking in particular different rules of chuckwagon racing.  I know we just take things for granted, as we have been doing this for many years.  Yet many readers out there have little to go by as to the hows of the sport. Again,  “Thank You!”  I have thoroughly enjoyed writing.

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and Team 23

P.S.  The trick is to enjoy life.  Don’t wish away your days, waiting for better ones ahead.



Rocky Mountain House Day #3

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends.

We have all been enjoying the warm weather here in Rocky.  It’s a real treat to finish up the season with plenty of sunshine.  It just makes everyone’s moods that much brighter.  Again a few of us tootled  out to a garage sale.  This time is was out south in the country.  It was a nice drive and we enjoyed looking at all the great scenery.  I found an old tea kettle Rick was looking for.  He wants to make it into a steamer so he can steam his cowboy hat.  Rick wasn’t with us as he had year-end meetings all day with the association.


A Gift for My Hubby


Our wagon life is a great way to connect with our friends.  Many come along the way to join us for a few days or two  at different venues.  We have lots of laughs and there is never a shortage of  teasing and tricks.


Michelle and Sir Eddie


Rick and Ginger (mostly Known as Allie)


Many of the Chuckwagon kids were headed to the river nearby to go floating down on air rafts.  They asked me to join them as I have never done this of all the 6 years we’ve been here.


You always have  to try things just once to see if you like it.  Well the weather was warm, but the water was cold.  It turned out to be an enjoyable afternoon and I felt like a kid again.


Horse Baths

As the race evening drew near, chores had to get done.  All horses that compete for the night get washed before and after the race.  On a hot day they sure enjoy it that much more.


The Rocky Wranglers

One of the pre performances of the evening are the Rocky Wrangler Girls.  They Shine up their ponies and do some fancy moves in the arena.  I guess you could almost say its like horse dancing  in a group.  It looks pretty impressive and they sure put a lot of work into the routine to impress the crowd.  And I know they have plenty of fun doing it too.


Many Hands Make Light Work

In this business, we rely on many hands to get our outfits to the track.  So many hours go into caring and preparing for each nights performance.  We appreciate all that give us a hand, including our barn crew and friends that pitch right in.


A Flying Start

Cody had the one barrel tonight.  I got a great shot of him coming onto the track.  His top turn around the barrel was a bit too tight and the barrel was crunched.  I love the way Cody looks sitting up in that box driving.   He looks like a natural.


Father and Son Team


The Top of Three

Rick hooked Nickle (Left Lead), Spin (Right Lead), Speedy (Left Wheel) and Law (Right Wheel).  Tonight Cole held the leaders with Andy and Chance rode Ice throwing the stove. As I watched and took photos of after the horn blew, I thought for sure he was getting around the barrel. An unfortunate touch of the hub, and the barrel fell.  Disappointment for Rick.  When this takes place, it takes you right out of any hopes of winning the show.  It’s always hard for him, as he feels he’s let all the crew down.  But you know what?  We’re all in it together, so you work together, you win together, you lose together, you laugh together and you cry together,  And through all these things in a summer, we all grow and learn many so many things.


An Intricate Site

Just like a web, we are all tied together some way,  and somehow on our journey.  It may seem confusing at times, and we don’t understand the answer to the “Why’s”.  And I honestly think there is a reason for that.  In due time, it will come to us  and we will look back and say “Ahhh, now I know.


The Innocence of a Child

I believe we also need to step back, and just be that kid again.  To stop and forget our worries and our troubles, and enjoy life and the things that surround us at any given moment.  Life is precious.

From The Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and Team 23

P.S.  Don’t think about what can happen in a month.  Don’t think what about what can happen in a year.  Just focus on the 24 hours in front of you and do what you can to get closer to where you want to be.



Rocky Mountain House Day #2

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends

My apologies for being a bit tardy on my submission of day #2.  The internet service down here is most terrible.  We are situated in a low spot and it just doesn’t connect very well.  I was up very early to write, but ran into issues with no service what so ever.  It finally connected and here I am.  We as a society have grown to be so instant.  We want everything now.  Especially in business.  If one company doesn’t answer their email, text, phone call or other, they are contacting the next one on the list.  Its pretty unfortunate I think.


A Birds Eye View

Just next to our camping spot, is the 2nd turn tower.  Bruce decided he needed to climb up and have a look after breakfast.  Its a long ways up there and definitely is not for the folks who are frightened of heights.

Here at Rocky, we are totally  not being that fast pace living.  We are enjoying our laid back mornings of coffee and visiting.  I ventured over to our friends camp Don and Sheilas for a morning chit-chat.  Rick, well I’m not really sure where he ventured off too.


Little Wagon Recipient

This little one, Lily, came over for a photo with Rick as she received the mini chuckwagon giveaway.  She was quite excited as she plans to give it to her little sister as she got one last year. Feeling proud she is.


Goofing Around

Just after lunch, a few of us jumped in the pick up and headed into town in search of some garage sales.  It’s a ritual that we do and love to have fun along the way.  You never know what you will find for a steal of a deal.


Outrider Comes out of Retirement

Well the crowd was in for a surprise on Day #2 in heat 2, barrel four.  Rick was going to outride for his son Cody.   We have had been talking about it for some time now and decided this was the day to make it happen.  Rick in his younger days was one of the best outriders in his group at the time.  He may not have won a World Champion Title, but boy could he outride and do it well.  He was always the first out of the infield.

Very few people knew this was taking place, so it was a surprise.  Cody came in to get set.  Rick was holding the leaders.  Back in the day he became one of the best lead men to hold leaders.  The team was unsettled, wanting to jump forward.  Rick had a great hold on them and settled them into proper position.  The horn sounded and away they went.  Cody had a great turn around the barrels.  Rory and Rick went to mount their horses.  Ricks horse stopped when he jumped to mount up.  He was unable to get on, on the first try.  You see, when you outride, your horse must be going in a forward motion as in trotting to keep things fluent.  This helps the rider to grab a hold of the saddle horn, take one hop, then pull himself into the saddle.  If the horse stops, as this one did, its pretty tough to get on.  Well, Rick persisted and he did get on and away he went.  This was a proud moment for me to see Rick outride for our son just once.  At the age of 56, he did excellent.  All the outriders and our chuckwagon family thought it was pretty cool.  This one will go down in the Chuckwagon history books.


Shortly after Cody’s race, Rick climbed into the wagon box to drive our team.  With Spirit, Spin, Law and Glory pulling the wagon and Stadium and Ice being ridden by Cole and Chance Flad.  He was off the 2 barrel tonight.  He had an impressive start, and a very tight turn around the top barrel.  Once he cleared the infield, boy did those horses run.  They ran so fast he won his race and posted a 2nd on the day with a speedy 1:15.53 just behind day money winner Chanse Vigen with a 1:15.06.  We are sitting on top of the pumpkin as they say, in the 2 day average of the show.  We are looking forward to keeping it clean and fast for the last 2 days of racing of this 2016 season.


Some Wonderful Chuckwagon Fans

We don’t always get to meet the folks that receive our mini chuckwagon give away, but last night we got a surprise.  A whole group of family stopped in and we made sure they all left with posters, some candy and big smiles all around.  They were pretty pumped to meet Rick up and personal.

From The Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and Team 23

P.S.  Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.



Rocky Mountain House Day #1

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends

The count down is on.  Only 3 more race days left of the season.  Yesterday I ran into town to do the last laundry stop.  I just wanted to get it all done.  The rest of the day, we just relaxed and visited with family and friends before race time.


As I wait for the harrows after heat 3 to take our outriding horses to the infield, I have the most prime seating to watch the first three races.  I climb up on top of our trailer which is located right on the other side of the back stretch.  Great for some awesome shots.

We love coming to Rocky, as the scenery here is so beautiful, on the grounds and the surrounding country side.

Cody was in the 2nd heat off the three barrel.  I watched from the roof top.  He had a great turn off the barrels and ran an impressive race 3 wide keeping up with the other 2 wagons inside of him.  Running 3 or 4 wide is just that many more steps than the other guy on the rail.  He placed 29th on the day with a 1:17.02.


We are happy to be carrying our sponsors tarp, Henry’s Western Wear for this show.  Rick was off the one barrel tonight and was very pleased with the out come.  The hook was Spirit (Left Lead) Spin (Right Lead) Glory (Left Wheel) and Vegas (Right Wheel)  with Stadium and Ice being rode by Cole and Chance Flad in the outriding department.  We posted a 1:15.21 at the finish line for a 3rd day money run.  Whahoo!


Sunset Over the Travelin Trailer

The sky was spectacular as the sun was setting.  I managed a few photos of the beautiful sky.


The nights are chilly here, its been getting down to 5 degrees or colder.  We could put the furnace on, but instead we just have to cuddle more……………save on the propane.

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and Team 23

P.S.  LIFE GOES ON…………….Whether you choose to move on and take a chance in the unknown. Or stay behind, locked in the past, thinking of what could’ve been.