Calgary Stampede 2017 Day #9

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends!

The count down is on.  Only 2 more days of racing and then we’re headed home.  “How Sweet it is!”  As my husband often says.  It’s been a good ride here in Calgary Alberta.  Rick decided to hook an outfit for a practice run this morning at 7 AM.  Our daughter Kaylee and husband Chris wanted to be a part of the action, so I offered to stay up in the camper with baby Ryker while he slept.  So in turn, I got to have a sleep in morning and it lasted until 9:30 AM!  Oh my Gosh that was so good.  When Ryker awoke we headed down to the barn to find all the chores complete and breakfast done and cleaned up.

With the Stampede coming to a close, that means there is lots of packing to do.  Our one tack room acts as a kitchen, clothes closet, and storage unit all in one.  I decided to pack some of our belongings up to the camper that we did not need down there anymore.  I got busy and did what I could.  Back at the camper, I unloaded it all.  Dishes had to be washed, bags put away, and the fridge cleaned out.  Once that was all done, I got busy and made 2 pans of Christmas Morning Wifesaver for breakfast tomorrow morning.





When you have horses, there are always legs to attend to.  Our “Team 23” has looked after each and every one of our equine animals this week with their utmost care and attention.  We couldn’t ask for anything better from them all.


Holding the Leaders

When the chuckwagon team has been hooked and warmed up by trotting a few laps around the barns, they then line up into the 4th furlong chute to await their heat.  Our team member Karina stands with the leaders  to steady them until it is time to go.  On the most part, the horses stand pretty good in the chute.


Only a Breath Away

For safety precautions, the Stampede has random drug testing.  The drivers and outriders have to blow into the mechanism for detection of alcohol usage.  A breathalizer test.  I’m not sure how many times Rick has had to blow, but I do know it’s been a waste of money, as Rick hasn’t drank any liquor for 34 years.  None the less, they still have to test him.


A Helping Hand

Coming into the infield for a practice, after the barrel turn, often the drivers get their helpers to lend a hand at pulling on the lines to slow the horses down.  The four thoroughbreds can be hard to hold as they know the race is approaching very fast and it is soon time to run fast.  Once in a while, after completing the barrel turn, the horses can get away on a driver and think it is time to race.  They pull harder and harder where the driver can not stop them and they have what we call, a run away.  Eventually they get them stopped and head back to the barn with an unfortunate no time.


The Top of 1

Tonight’s hook was Spirit on the Left Lead, Ranger on the Right.  Sporty on the Left Wheel and Bacardi on the Right.  With having a new barrel draw, it meant we had to change-up our outriders.  Chance Flad was available to hold the leaders with Ed and a young rookie named Ethan Motowylo threw the stove using Andy.


Coming Down the Home Stretch

Rick had a great turn around the one barrel, yet when he came onto the track, his Chuckwagon was just a little wide on the chalk line.  The judges assessed us with a 1 second penalty.  We ended up 23rd on the day.


Driver in Training

On the way back to the barns, Duncan gets a few lessons from Rick on how to drive.  He’s been enjoying the experience as he has nothing like this back in Australia, his home country.


One Happy Group

After the races, our sponsors from Western Star had come by to visit us and the horses back at the barns.  For some of them, it was their first ever Chuckwagon race.  They loved it.  For them it was great to get up front and personal with the horses.

Tomorrow evening will be a very exciting time for the four finalists that will be vying for the $100,000.00 prize.  Congratulations to all the finalists who consist of Logan Gorst, Kurt Bensmiller, Obrey Motowylo, and Chanse Vigen.  May the fastest wagon win!

Until Tomorrow

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and “Team 23”

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P.S.  Failure keeps you humble.  Success keeps you glowing.  But only Faith and Determination keeps you going.




Calgary Stampede 2017 Day #8

Howdy Chuckwagon friends!

Today was another warm and wonderful day.  We had no scheduled appointments to attend.  Chores started a bit later than 7 AM.  We can tell that the 10 day marathon is coming to an end.  Everyone is getting tired from the very hectic pace that the Calgary Stampede puts on a person.  Don’t get me wrong, it is always good to be here, but very grueling at the same time.


Day 8 and Counting

I think the photo of Baby Ryker says it all.  Crazy hair and the stunned look.  It was our turn to cook breakfast for the Dorchester Crew and “Team 23” .  Bacon, eggs, pancakes and hash browns.  Our friend Keith and I felt like a piece of bacon after we were done with the hot griddle spattering the grease everywhere.  We do the cooking right at the barn.  It works out pretty good.

After breakfast, I headed to the trailer to do a few things.  While there, my eyes were getting heavy.  I knew it was time to have a nap.  And that is just what I did.  It felt good to rest for  2 1/2 hours.


Different Kind of Shoes

These are the hooves of our horse named Cowboy.  He has been a bit lame, so we have not used him here at the Stampede.  Our farrier has been working on him to help him with his issues.  We hopefully can use him at the next show up in Bonnyville, Alberta.



Rick and Ryker were taking some time to just sit and enjoy some quiet time before the races.  He is one busy little boy.


Budweiser Pride

After every two heats,  they harrow the track for the next 2 races.  During this time, they have some quick activities to keep the crowd occupied.  This big hitch of eight big draft horses parades into the infield to show their stuff.  It is a real crowd pleaser for all that attend the evening performance.

When I’m tending to the outriding horses for the evening performance,  I often think back to the days when Rick and I were dating.  I look at all the young outriders and their girlfriends/young wives and think, “I was there once.”  It seems like just yesterday.  In this photo,  Rick is second from the right, retired Chuckwagon Driver and outrider, Jerry Bremner in on the far right.  Jim Nevada and Jim Sheilds are also in the photograph.  Back then, the Chuckwagon Driver and his outriders wore the same color shirt that they chose or the sponsor purchased.


The Old Boys

Today the outriders wear color coded jackets that match the drivers.  Barrel 1 wears white, barrel 2 is red, barrel 3 is black and 4 is yellow.


Almost Show Time

Tonight Rick was off the four barrel.  He hooked Spirit on the Left Lead, Speedy on the Right, Jim on the Left Wheel and Bacardi on the Right.  When the horn sounded,  all the wagons had a decent start to the race.  As I was taking some photos I noticed my hubby fishing for lines.  What does that mean you say?  Well he accidentally dropped a line or two while completing the turning of the top barrel.  He managed to scoop them up into his hands and keep going.  He did a great job.


Top of Four

When he got onto the track, he was 4 wide, so he decided to pull and go to the rail.  At the finish line, it was quite exciting as cousin Troy and Rick were dueling it out to the finish line.  Rick’s time clocked in at 1:13.09 good for 18th on the day and Troy’s was a 1:13.06.  Oh so close.   We ended up 18th on the day, and 14th in the aggregate. Troy had a good clean run that put him into the semi finals tomorrow.  We will be cheering for him.

Until Tomorrow

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and “Team 23”

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P.S.  There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy and the tired.

Calgary Stampede 2017 Day #7

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends!

Day #7 is a wrap!  It is hard to believe that we are here for only 3 more days.  Time flies when you’re having fun they say.  When the lights finally went out in the AM, it seemed like it was a short sleep and it was time to get up already.  I slept in till 7 this morning and then headed to the barns for chores.


A Farrier at Work

Horse maintenance is so very important on our equine athletes.  Their foot care has to be spot on to stay in perfect running condition.  Our friend Leo, from Saskatchewan tends to all our horses feet.  A job well done.

After breakfast, I just needed to go lie down.  I knew I was in dire need of some rest and had a bit of  a headache.  I went down at 10:30 AM and napped till 1:30.  A much-needed rest.  When I arose, I headed off to visit my friends Leo Pretty Young Man and his wife Maureena at the Indian Village here on the grounds.


Inside the Tee Pee

Today was their day to have open house at their Tee Pee.  It is open to the public to come view all their beaded art work, displays of headdresses, slippers, drums and more.  To see all of this in person is amazing.  Such talent these people have.

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It was a very hot day today,  with temperatures close to the 30 degrees mark.  I`m loving the warm weather.


Rick hooked up Nickle on the Left Lead, Speedy on the Right, Jim on the Left Wheel and Law on the Right.  David held the leaders with Ed, and Ryan McNeil threw stove with Ernie.  All the wagons rolled in for the start with Rick on 3 barrel.

The horn sounded and away they all went.  Troy coming off the one barrel didn`t quite  make it out fast enough to get the rail.  Doug Irvine off the two barrel got the rail, with Rick alongside him, and Evan Salmond was three wide.


Our Team ran a great race finishing first at the wire posting a time of 1:12.43 good enough for 5th on the day. and 12 in the aggregate.  With a very speedy run tomorrow, there is still a slight possibility to get into the top 8 for the semi final showdown for Saturday.


Front Row Seat

At 11:30 each night, a program of amazing loud and colorful firework display goes off each night after the amazing Grand Stand show.  Little Ryker likes to watch it from above  on Papa`s shoulders or sitting on the lid of the Kubota.  He wears head phones to protect his ears, as the bang of them are pretty loud for his tiny ears.

Until Tomorrow

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and “Team 23“

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P.S.  Don`t wait for everything to be perfect before you decide to enjoy your life.

Calgary Stampede 2017 Day #6

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends

So before heading to bed last night, I had all our dirty laundry gathered up and ready by the door.  It was laundry day, and I didn’t have far to go.  Jerome’s Appliances of Calgary donated some washers and dryers for the use of us folks down here in the barns.  It’s pretty handy to have, and I like to arrive around 6 am to use them as there is nobody around at that time.

Once the machines were loaded and doing their thing,  I sat and enjoyed some coffee and Bailey’s with Rick,over at cousin Troy’s barn right next door.  Lots of real good old-time  stories are usually told at this time in the morning.  Yesterday, I happened to interview Troy and Rick together.  It’s pretty humorous.  If you would like to see it and other photos and tidbits about our Chuckwagon Life  on the road, check us out on Facebook under the title, Rick Fraser & Team 23 Chuckwagon Racing.

From noon till 4 PM, the Calgary Stampede Chuckwagon Committee put together an afternoon of relaxation and pampering for us ladies of the wagons.  There was a gal there to do mini massages, 2 hair stylists and a make up artist as well.  The committee prepared a light snack table along with ice cold beverages.  It was such a treat to relax and be pampered.  A Huge Shout out to all that helped us to feel special when we are so busy at the barns.  A Job well done.

I like photos in black and white, and tonight I took a few from where I sit during the races. I trust you will enjoy.  A photo, they say is worth a thousand words.

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I will be honest with you.   It is always hard to come in, sit down and write after we recieve racing penalties.  It is just the disapointment of it all.

Tonight’s hook was, Spritit on the Left Lead, Ranger on the Right.  Jim was on the left wheel and  good o’l Law was on the right.  David Bensmiller held the leaders and Ryan MacNeil threw the stove.  Rick drove the horsess around the barrel perfectly.  On the third turn, the judges made a call to assess a penalty to our team.  It was first put on as a 2 second penalty, then they added 3 more on.  So, so very disapointing.




A First for Everything

On a cheerful note, we had our friend Johnny Morris stop by with a friend from Poland.  John is a well known curler from Alberta.  He also is part of the Maverick team who has for many years sponsored a Chuckwagon during the Calgary Stampede.  We got Johny’s friend to sit on our saddle horse.  Little did we know, it was her first time ever on a horse.  It is so hard to believe,  because when one has been around horses for many years, we just take it for granted some of the time.

Until Tomorrow

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and “Team 23”

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P.S. Falling down isn’t defeat.  Defeat is when you refuse to get up.


Calgary Stampede 2017 Day #5

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends!

The Rain continued through the night and into the morning.  We were pretty unsure at coffee time, if we would be racing in the evening.  It didn’t look to promising.  Chores went down as usual, they just started a bit later as everyone was procrastinating getting going.  The coffee and baileys was going down good.

While the crew finished up the chores at the barn across the river, Rick and I scooted off to the childrens hospital for our annual visit with the kids.  We took along fellow chuckwagon driver Cliff Cunningham and his wife Wendy.   Trick Rider Paynton Bensmiller and outrider Eathon Motowylo.


Group Photo

When we arrive, Sandy our coordinator greets us and then takes us to the different wards to visit with the children, chat about the Calgary Stampede and Chuckwagon Racing along with Paynton’s trick riding.


A Happy Young Gal

We never know who we are going to see when we are there.  Some of the wards we visit are the day wards, the mental ward, and longer term wards.  Many of the children we met were excited to hear about what we do, and had many questions about the horses and such.


A Ray of Sunshine

All these kids leave us with smiles on our faces and warm fuzzies in our heart.  Even though they have health issues that bring them into the hospital, they all seem to see the brighter side of things.  Every single time that we have come here to visit, we always leave more fulfilled with a new meaning on life.  So many of our worries and concerns are put into perspective in a real big hurry.

Once we arrived back to the barns at 1 pm, it was straight away to the grocery store.  When I arrived,  I realized my wallet was not in my purse.  Grrrrrr!!!  I had to drive back to the trailer, pick up my wallet, and head back to the grocery store.  Having that little mistake, I knew that a nap for me was out of the question.


The Same but Only Differrent

Our daughter Kaylee and grandson Ryker came back today from home.  We got them to bring the mini Chuckwagon for Ryker to ride in.  It is alway a big it around the camps.


Heavy on One

When they finally decided what they were going to do with the rain cancellation last night, a new barrel draw was made up.   In the 7th heat, Rick got the 1 barrel, Evan Salmond was on 2, Cousin Troy Dorchester was on 3 and Doug Irvine was on 4.   The hook tonight was Spirit on the Left Lead, Ranger on the Right.  Sporty on the Left Wheel and Barcardi on the Right.  Because of the redraw, we lost Dustin Gorst as our outrider.


David Bensmiller

So we put David Bensmiller up front holding the leaders with Stadium, and then hired Ryan MacNeill to throw the stove with Andy.


Ryan MacNeill

The chuckwagon track committee got the infield and track prepared for the races.  The infield around the barrels on one was quite deep.  When Rick drove in, I could tell the horses were ready to run.  They didn’t stand very long, and the horn sounded.  His barrel turn was clean and when he turned the bottom to come to the track, Doug Irvine had already managed to get to the rail.  Unfortunately for Doug, he knocked 2 of his barrels. The race continued and Rick managed to get to the front of the pack, keep the lead and cross the finish line first.  Our race time was tied for 3/4th split with Chanse Vigen.  When all the times were tallied, we are sitting 4th in the aggregate of the Calgary Stampede.


Back Behind the Chutes

The kids, as I said yesterday are a huge part of our Chuckwagon group.  Here, Doug Irvine’s boy and Mitch Sutherlands were having fun between the heats.  Baby Ryker was taking it all in.  He’s walking  a bit, assisted, and it won’t be long before he’s running and joining in will all those boys.



I just couldn’t resist putting up this one awesome picture of my grandson.  It just makes me smile and thank God for all the little wee ones.

Until Tomorrow

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and “Team 23”

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P.S.  Let the little children be, cause they’re only that way for a little while