Ponoka Stampede Day#3

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends!

What a beautiful warm sunny day with temperatures hitting around 25 degrees celsius.  A perfect day for a parade.  Rick and I have been in the parade in prior years, but not this time.  After chores I zoomed over on my bike to see our grandson, Ryker.  He got to go with his other  grandparents, Les and Linda to watch all the action along the parade route.  He was quite curious about it all.

Ryker & Grandpa Les at Ponoka Parade

Ryker and Grandpa Les

Along our travels in the summer there are few parades,  but Ponoka has one of the best with so much talent involved.   From horse-drawn wagons, to musical marching bands, to kids on bikes, antique cars, beautifully decorated floats and so much more.  The crowds coming out to watch were plenty.

Of course, what is a parade without the candy that they through out?!  Well Ryker was good with the grape sucker he received.  What kid doesn’t like that?


Dace and Rick

Our Chuckwagon Family consists of so many kids ranging in ages from baby to teens and above.  I would love to feature them all.  So many awesome personalities.  Dace comes from the Irvine Family up in the Bonnyville area.  Dace, with down syndrome is such a ray of sunshine to our community of families.  Her mom and dad, Jimmy Lou and Doug have raised her to be quite the young lady.  We’ve watched her grow every summer along our travels.  She is now 14 and going into grade eight she tells us.  She never passes Rick by without saying a hello and giving him a big hug.  So so special.

As our sport consists of outriders,  over the years we have seen many come and go.  Rick himself was a very good outrider winning many championship buckles.

Dave Lewis driving Rick Fraser outriding

Dave Lewis and son Rick Fraser

He rode for many drivers including his grandfather Tom Dorchester, his dad Dave Lewis, his Uncle Dallas Dorchester, Kelly Sutherland and last year for 1 ride for his son Cody Fraser, to make history.  And he did a pretty darn good job at the age of 57.  I’m not sure that anyone can top that one in the future.


Outrider Dean

Our outrider list today is pretty small.  We currenlty don’t have too many up and coming.  With having 4 chuckwagons to a heat, it doesn’t leave many sitting on the fence.  Here in Ponoka, we have hired Chuckwagon Driver Dustin Gorst to hold our leaders.  He is one of the few drivers that continue to outride as well as drive.  It is so important to have a good lead man to set the horses as they come into position.  Our stove man, is rookie outrider Dean Arcand.  He comes to us from the Saskatchewan area.  We see very good potential in this young fella.  He mounts the horse well, he listens to pointers to improve his riding and he was very excited to be hired for “Team 23”.  He will do very well into the future.


On the Home Stretch

Well I did have my cameras with me, but I didn’t have it put onto the proper setting.  Darn it!  So this is how it turned out.  A little fuzzy but you can still see the 4 wagons.

Rick hooked Bacardi on the Left Lead, Speedy on the  Right.  Jim on the Left Wheel and Law on the Right.  Same outfit as last night, we just switched out Nickle for Bacardi.  Ed and Andy were the outriding horses, again rode by Dustin and Dean.   All 4 Chuckwagons started together and cleared the infield in unison.  Rick was off the four barrel and so he had to race 4 wide all the way around the track.  This just means his outfit has many more strides to run.  Kurt Bensmiller on 1 barrel won day money, so our heat was fast.  That gave us a 13th on the day and sitting 10th in the aggregate.  With a very clean fast run tomorrow, we could possibly make the cut for the top 8 in the semi-finals on Sunday.  That would be so exciting.

Until Tomorrow

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and “Team 23”



P.S.  A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things that renew humanity.       Buddha

Ponoka Stampede Day#2

Howdy All!

After the windy, cold day yesterday, today was a very nice and welcomed warm day.  Rick and I were up and at it early, fed the morning oats, then walked over to have a breakfast date at the hitching post for 6 am.  With only 1 other patron in the restaurant, we enjoyed each others company chatting about our life on the road.


Morning Hook

Our son Cody is here in Ponoka lending us a helping hand.  We had to hook an outfit this morning and he was more than happy to drive the rig.  He sure loves to drive, and has a very natural talent within.


A Special Gift

This afternoon, my friends I met last year that follow my blog, arrived from Carstairs to say hello.  They brought me some lovely red and white flowers.  Yes, red is my favorite color.  What a pleasant surprise.  They will look lovely sitting on the table in my home on wheels.


On Great Big Bear Hug

Friends are always good to have, and Don Adams swung by to say hello.  Rick wasted no time in giving him a great big hug.  Don and his wife Sheila were sponsors for many years on our World Professional Chuckwagon Association.  They contributed so much to our Western Heritage Sport.


Flying High

While we are doing our thing,  many folks young and old alike take in the rides, food and games up in the Midway.   There is plenty to do and see here at this week-long Stampede in Ponoka, Alberta.


Passing By

There are many barn hands in each camp to make things work like clockwork.  Of the 36 drivers, there are 72 horses that have to be saddled, bridled and brought up into the infield each and every night for competition.  While the handlers await for they’re driver to come out, they get to watch the other heats go by.


Barrel 3 Practice Turn

Our barrel three outfit consisted of Jim on the Left Wheel, Law on the Right.  Nickel on the Left Lead, and Speedy on the Right.  Ed was ridden by Dustin and Dean rode Andy.  All four wagons came into the barrels.  One or two of the other Chuckwagons moved, then stopped.  Ours in turn, were ansy to go.  They moved ever so slightly just before the horn sounded.  The race of the four Chuckwagons was a crowd pleaser.  But when the dust settled, we were assessed a 1 second penalty for starting ahead of the horn.  Just a bit disappointing.  In this business, one can’t afford any penalties.  Having said that, there are still 2 more days of racing to get into the top four in the aggregate, for the dash and its doable.

One of my blog followers, Marilyn, asked how the World Point System worked in our association.  So, for every race that is ran, the drivers are ranked according to their time.  The fastest to the slowest, including penalties.  The fastest time of the day receives 36 points for that race, the second fastest receives 35, and so on, all the way to the last place driver receiving 1 point.  Or if an outfit for some reason does not race due to equipment problems, let say, and receives a no time, he will not be awarded any points.  Points are then accumulated after each race for each driver.  There is also aggregate points awarded which after a four-day show, as in High River,  if you are first, you receive 36 points.  Rick ended up fourth in the show, so he was awarded 33 points to all his points that he earned for each race day there.  At the end of the season, the driver with the most points is declared the World Chuckwagon Champion.  Thank you for asking Marilyn, and I hope this clarifies it for you.


One Happy Little Man

After the races and the chores were complete, this little guy came to us to say thank you for the mini chuckwagon that he received after the race in the grandstands from Rick.  He was grinning from ear to ear.  We couldn’t let him go back empty-handed, so we also filled the Chuckwagon with candy to boot.


Strong and Free

Canada is getting excited as we are celebrating all over our country, its 150th birthday.  There are plenty of things planned right here in Ponoka as well as in many other communities and cities across our great nation.  I am very proud to be a Canadian, born and raised right here in Alberta.  Freedom is such a gift.  On July 1st, is the day of celebration.  If you are Canadian, do take time to reflect and say “Thank you” for the freedom that you have.

Until Tomorrow

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and “Team 23”



P.S.  One of the happiest moments in life is when you find the courage to let go of what you cannot change.

Ponoka Stampede Day#1

Howdy All!

Monday and Tuesday were non race days here in Ponoka.  When we arrived Sunday evening, it was exciting driving into the grounds.  Some of the fans that were parked were standing by their units waiting, waving and watching as we pulled into our spots to begin our setup.  We’ve been coming here every year for over twenty some years.  It is one of the best Chuckwagon/Rodeo events around.  It’s a small town with BIG results.   People come from all parts of Canada and the United States to partake, whether competing or watching.  There are holiday trailers on wheels parked all over the town.

Rose Bush

Some Color at Home

Monday, Rick and I were up and at it  helping the kids with the chores, then headed north to Leduc, then swung by home for a few things. It was so good to be home and see the beautiful greenery.  The grass had just been cut, the flowers were all in bloom and the dog was happy to see us.  I wanted to sit down and stay awhile.

Ryker and Sue

My Little Man and Me

It was Tuesday before we got to see our 2nd grandbaby, Ryker.  My he had grown since we last saw him 3 weeks ago.  But he did remember us, so that made me feel real good.  And at 14 months he finally is beginning to walk.

Life is so much like that.  We must take baby steps first in order to make progress and achieve the big steps in life.  And when we do accomplish our goals, there is much celebration.

Rick in Wheel Barrow

Taking a Break

On Tuesday, the temperatures rose close to 30 degrees.  We were loving it so much, that the water fights began.  We all didn’t mind as it helped us to cool off.

Redneck and Sue


I had time to pop in to see our friend Redneck Barbie up in her loft at Bruce’s Tru Value Hardware Store.  There, she has lots of goodies for the ladies.  The line of clothes she carries is amazing, and my favorite, Joseph Ribkoff just kind of jumps out at me.  If you get a chance when you’re in Ponoka, drop in and say hi, you won’t be disappointed.  A little bit for everyone in that store.

Lucy and Sue


Tuesday was the start of the Ponoka Stampede 2017.  There were a few things going on, along with the rodeo slack and the evening performance, with a concert in the infield featuring the Band Diamond Reo.  I went up, along with my friend Lucy, daughter Kaylee, son Cody and Allie and a few others too.  It was time to let loose and have a bit of fun before our first race day of racing.  Those that attended weren’t disappointed.  The music was great and we all had a pretty good time.

Infield Panoramic

A Panoramic View From High Above the Infield

Rick and I scooted up into one of the Sky Boxes to meet up with some of our Sponsors and their clients before race time.  It was neat to see the view of the infield from so high above.


Ready to Roll

The air was cold, the skies were dark and cloudy and a bit of rain was falling off and on just before the races.  We all wore very warm clothing to keep from getting chilled.

Rick hooked Spirit on the Left Lead, Ranger on the Right.  Sporty on the Left Wheel and Cowboy on the Right.  Beau was ridden tonight by Driver Dustin Gorst holding the lead team and Dean, a younger rookie rider throwing the stove and riding Stadium.  Rick was drawn the 2 barrel tonight.  The team started hard and got around the barrels just in ahead of fellow competitor Layne MacGillvray to steal the rail position.  Kurt Bensmiller came along side of Rick and the two of them dueled to reach the finish line first.  It was a pretty close call at the wire, but Kurt came first with a time of 1:14.68 with Rick only a hair or two behind with a time of 1:14.74.  So close!  We finished a respectable fifth on the day.

I think Grandmas Elsie needed to cheer just a little bit more next time to get us to the finish line first, don’t you think?   Love that good o’l soul.  Ricky’s number 1 fan I do beieve.

Looking forward to some warmer temperature tomorrow and Friday, parade day.  Oh and by the way, our mini chuckwagon missed its ride up to the grandstands tonight, so tomorrow, there will be 2 lucky recipients that will receive the coveted little wagon.  So if you’re able to attend tomorrows racing, be ready as you might be the lucky one or two.

Until Tomorrow,

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and “Team 23”



P.S.  Do what makes you happy,  be with those who make you smile, and laugh as much as you breathe.




Guy Weadick Days High River Alberta Day #4

Howdy All!

Beautiful sun shiny day with a breeze here in High River, Alberta with a temperature sitting at 24 degrees.  A great day for Chuckwagon Racing.  Our son Cody and his sidekick  (AKA Girlfriend) Allie arrived last night before the races.  Was good to have them here.

This morning we had some track time so Rick hooked an outfit and Cody got to drive.  He loved every minute of it.  Duncan our Australian hired hand jumped in with him.  After a night at the cabaret, he said it was a great way to wake up, going full bore around the track with a team of beautiful thoroughbreds.


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There’s no other feeling like it he says.


The Water Girl

One of the jobs that most don’t like is filling the water buckets.  So when I’m out in the barn, that is one of my jobs.  I don’t mind doing it.  It gives me time to chat with the horses if they are in the stalls.


A Cool Bath

Every horse that races on our team, gets a nice shower of water before and after the race.  Karina and Duncan got it handled.  The horses enjoy it so much.

This afternoon, not long before race time, we had a visitor show up at our door step.  I was busy packing the trailer when she arrived.  I did not know this lady, but  she introduced herself to me as Margaret.  Well Margaret came bearing gifts.  A beautiful note for me, along with a special rose quartz and chocolates for the kids.


You see, Margaret heard about me and my blog last year through Ron MacLean the Canadian Hockey Sportscaster, when he was live on TV at the Calgary Stampede Chuckwagon Races.  She thought she would check my Travelintrailer blog out and has followed along ever since.  I was so very moved when she gave me this beautiful gift.  It touched  my heart to think that someone I don’t even know, searched me out to let me know that through my writing, I have touched her in some form in her life.  How cool is that?


Margaret and I

We chatted awhile, and decided we needed to have our photo taken before she went on her way.  Thank you so much Margaret, and I’m sure we’ll meet again.


Friends are so very important.  We were honored to have our friends Bob and Linda stop in today before race time.  Bob had been an officer with the World Professional Chuckwagon Association back a few years.  Through his volunteering, we got to know him and his wife.   Well when Rick and Bob get together, you just never know how things will go.  Lots of laughs are had, and we most certainly enjoy their company.

Before the races, we were busy as beavers packing up what we could so we would be on the road at a decent time once all things wrapped up.


What a Skinner

Today we were off the coveted 1 barrel.  It does have a bit of an advantage, as if you start and turn hard, you should be able to secure the rail all the way around.  Rick hooked Spirit on the Left Lead, Ranger on the Right.  Sporty on the Left Wheel and Air on the Left.  Chance Flad and Chanse Vigen rode Beau and Stadium  holding the leaders and throwing the stove.  The outfit started pretty good and Rick did a great job getting around the barrels to get the rail.  Kurt Bensmiller managed to overtake it on the second turn.  However, Rick managed to take over the lead coming home and crossed the finish line first.  His time was a 1:15.65 good for 9th on the day.  We ended up 4th in the show.  Congratulations goes out to Kurt and Ashley Bensmiller on the Guy Weadick Days Championship win.

“Team 23” made it safe and sound along with all the ponies to Ponoka in record time.  We hope to see some of you out at the Stampede which begins on Wednesday.

From the TravelinTrailer

Sue, with Rick and “Team 23”



P.S.  We don’t meet people by accident.  They are meant to cross our path for a reason.









Guy Weadick Days High River Alberta Day #3

Howdy All!

What a fantastic day weather wise.  I believe many of our moods are determined by how the weather is on that particular day.  And the weather is also something that everyone talks about each and every day.  Well today was so bright, sunny, and warm  that everywhere we went, people were happy, content, and friendly  and so were we.

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After morning chores, Rick and I, along with fellow Chuckwagon Drivers Chad Harden and Mitch Sutherland, attended a breakfast downtown for MP John Barlow.  It couldn’t have been a better day with the sun shining bright.  There was plenty of food and beverages for all that attended.  Along our Chuckwagon Circuit, all the drivers are required to get out into the communities to promote the Western Heritage of our sport.


Kids of Our Chuckwagon Families

When there are 36 families, and many relatives and friends of those families that travel along the trail all summer long, you know there are going to be many kids among the camps.  We are all competitors, but family too.  We love giving the kids treats when they come along.

Today was one of those days.  Our treat box consisted of some Double Bubble, the kind that is great for blowing bubbles.  Well, Rick bet the kids that they couldn’t get 6 pieces into their mouth at once.  The video tells the story.  So much fun.



At lunch, we headed out towards Okotoks to stop in at the Willard farm that was having a giant garage sale.  Lots of odds and ends, western items, wooden wheeled wagons and so much more.  It was all so very interesting.  Rick came away with a set of old harness with wooden hames.  He calls it a treasure.

Aunty Sarah

Our next stop was for horse feed at the Country Living and Garden Centre.  This big huge chair was sitting out front, and Aunt Sarah from Chad Hardens crew climbed up to have a rest.  Once in there, it was a little iffy trying to get her out!

Wedding Crashers

Wedding Crashers

Have any of you seen the movie “Wedding Crashers”?  Well, Rick and Chad can be somewhat of jokesters and love to have some fun.  So as we were driving along the highway today, along the roads of the beautiful Okotoks area, they seen a very long driveway upon which several cars were driving up.  Past the first house, and at the second, a big huge white tent was set up.  Well these boys were curious and had to find out what was going on.  Wedding Crashers they thought and maybe a free lunch.  Low and behold, there was going to be a wedding.  They jumped out of the truck and I got a shot of the Groom and his men, along with Rick and Chad too.  We may have stayed for the wedding, but the chuckwagon races come first.  We came away with a laugh and I’m sure they did too.

Side Saddle Girl

Side Saddle Ladies

Our day was not finished as there was a Side Saddle race our friend Ryan was in.  The event took place immedialty after the afternoon rodeo.  These gals were dressed to the nines in the lovely olden day attire.  They had beautiful ponies from painted, to roan, to greys and bays.  Their saddles were special saddles where both the legs are to one side.

They raced from the back stretch to infront of the grandstand full gallop and all.  The cinch on the horse has to be as tight as can be, as most of their weight is to the left side of the horse. Those brave girls, they were a hit, and we hope to see them some more.

Our hook tonight was Nickle on the Left Lead, with Speedy on the Right.  Jim on the Left Wheel and Law on the Right Wheel.   Ed and Ice went again with the same outriders Chance Flad and Chanse Vigen.  Coming off the 4 barrel, the team started hard and was clean around the barrels.  They shot off like a rocket and Rick managed to get the rail on the first turn.  There was no breeze tonight and the dust was just hanging, thus the photo is not clear.  I need to learn a little more on using my camera to eliminate that.



A 4 Barrel Turn

As the race continued, Rick stayed in the lead running along the rail.  Coming for home, both our outriders were in the 175 foot zone.   He crossed the line in a 1:14.81.  A day money run!!!!  How exciting our “Team 23” was.


A Day Money Run

That speedy run brought us up into 3rd in the aggregate of the High River Show.  Tomorrow, the races begin early at 4:15 PM.  We will then be packing up and heading north to Ponoka Alberta, immediately after the races.  A full day ahead.


Grandpa Time

Ryley, from Turner Valley got to spend some quality time with his honorary grandpa on Saturday.  Little did he know, his day was topped off with receiving our mini little chuckwagon giveaway after the races.  The smiles tell it all.

Until Tomorrow

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and “Team 23”



P.S.  Show class, have pride, and display character.  If you do, winning takes care of itself.