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.