Howdy Chuckwagon Friends!
It was an overcast morning with rain clouds in the distance. Rick went ahead of me to the barns to feed oats and plug-in the coffee pot that I prepared the day before. If I look after that job in the afternoon, then I feel so much more organized. I came down, to join Rick and cousin Troy in the next shed-row over for the morning chat session. I went to get a cup of hot fresh coffee out of the peculator, and it was much like the color of tea! I was so efficient, I forgot to put the coffee grounds in. Oh boy, so many things to remember. I’ll get it all right some day!
Every day is a new day, and you never know what will be handed to you. You just have to learn to take it as it comes and deal with it. The handy fridge that we use in our tack room, was cold no more. We sure appreciate having it, but it does no good not working. Our friend and sponsor, Jeremy, was able to slide by Trail Appliances to pick up a replacement motor for us. Rick was busy heading onto the grounds to sign autographs, the kids were going for nap time, and me, well I thought I better tackle the job of replacing the part whether I knew how to or not! I dismantled it screw by screw taking photos as I went along so I would know how to put it back together. My method of madness worked. When I plugged the unit back in to see if the fan was propelling, viola! It was working!!! Just one less job for Rick to worry about.
Each and every day, four Chuckwagon drivers go onto the Calgary Stampede grounds to the GMC tent to sign autographs for an hour. Well today was Ricks day, along with Dustin Gorst, Troy Flad and Jordie Fike. It is always good to see the interaction with the drivers and the fans. This year, they have a special feature at the tent. It is called the Virtual Reality Chuckwagon Race. It is open to anyone to try. The drivers each get to try their hand at it and so they did.
It is quite the action to watch and very real like. A participant sits up in a chuckwagon, holds the lines, puts on a special goggles. Momentum and Flight School created the GMC Rangeland Derby VR experience. Participants race around a CGI replica of the legendary track, also known as the Half Mile of Hell. The only difference is that instead of horses, they are harnessed to the power of a GMC Sierra 2500 pickup. Instead of calling it a Chuckwagon, its a “Truckwagon” . It creates a perfect balance of realism and fantasy, and fans so far have been enjoying it immensely. It’s a hit!
I can’t express enough, how this life we live is a family affair. It takes kids, young, middle-aged and older to help make the wheels go round. Every member of the family pitches in somewhere, somehow. Each of these girls help out in the barn walking horses, mucking stalls, tending to little siblings and more. They work hard for their families, yet still take time to be a kid and have some fun. Our Children are all adults today. They too grew up along the dusty Chuckwagon trail. And you know, I am proud of each and every one of them. They learned responsibility, respect for others, dependability and have grown into very mature adults today. And I will attest, that our life we live, has contributed immensely as to who they have been molded and shaped into today.
Tonight was the last of the first four-day barrel draw. We were set to come off the two barrel with Spirit on the Left Lead, Ranger on the Right. Sport on the Left Wheel, and Bacardi on the Right. Our outriding horses were to be Stadium and Andy, with Dustin and David holding the leaders and throwing the stove. Unfortunately, a severe wind and rain storm blew in hard immediately after the 6th heat. With three heats to go, (with ours being the last) we sat and waited for things to let up.
In all the years that I’ve been around the Chuckwagons, I have never ever seen this happen where the officials cancelled the races part way through. I believe they made the right call with the way the track conditions diminished so quickly from all the moisture that fell in a very short time.
Once we were all back at the barns, with the horses put away safely, the announcement came forward as to how they were going to proceed. This is what they said:
Please be advised the remainder of tonight’s races are cancelled. Tonight will not be included in the aggregate. All day money for today, the amount of that day money will be announced tomorrow. There will be a redraw tonight based on the first 3 nights of racing. the re-draw will be in effect for nights 5, 6, 7, & 8 Saturday and Sunday will remain unaffected. The aggregate will be calculated on seven nights of racing. There will not be open track in the morning. Chuckwagon practice time is cancelled for Tuesday July 11th. Any horse competing in heats 1 – 6 are considered competed for fitness to compete, including drug screening.
We continued to visit back at the barns with everyone discussing the evenings event. The most exciting thing for us, was having our friend Tyler stop in to say hello.
Rick and I, along with fellow Chuckwagon driver Logan Gorst, met Tyler a couple of years ago during our annual Childrens Hospital visit. He is such an inspiring young man who just “WOW’S” us with his positive personality. He is a dialysis patient who had a wait time for a replacement kidney of 2 years. Now that he is an adult, they moved it to 5 to 10 year wait. So sad to hear this news for our friend, yet he continues to have hope for a donor sooner.
From the Travelin Trailer
Sue, with Rick and “Team 23”
P.S. If you are persistent, you will get it. If you are consistent, you will keep it.