Rocky Mountain House Battle of the Rockies Day #4

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends,

It’s important to have friends.  You don’t necessarily need many, just a few good quality ones sometimes is the best.



Well Saturday night, my friends and family headed to the Broken Spoke Saloon for some fun.


Watching Over Me

Well we did have lots of fun, a few beverages and even a dance or two.  My son Cody and his friend High Tower (aka Tim) towered over me just a little bit.  I call them my body guards.


Can You See Me?

The races were slated early for today, so after breakfast and a bit of relaxation of coffee and visiting, it was time to pack up for the trip on home.  Everyone got at it, and baby Ryker kept busy playing.  Who needs store-bought toys when you  have a cardboard box to play with.

Our 2nd hook, racing in the first heat off the four barrel, was made up of Chad Harden’s horses, with only one of our outriding horses being used.  Rick had an amazing tight turn around the top barrel, and then they fired.


By the second turn, Rick had to have been at least six lengths in front of the other teams.


It would have been a day money run, but unfortunately he went so fast, one of the outriders had a hard time getting to the finish line in time.  We were assessed a one second penalty, bringing our time to a 1:16.36.  It was a very impressive run ranking us 3rd on the day and 3rd overall in the show.


Full Steam Ahead

Our main hook for heat number 8,  was Law on the Left Wheel, Jim on the Right.  Louie the grey on the Left Lead and Speedy on the Right.  Our outriders, Chance Flad rode Air and held the leaders, with Ryan MacNeill throwing the stove with Andy.


Focusing Ahead

Things went well in the infield, and then they ran hard around the track posting a 1:16.53 which was good enough to put us 5th on the day.



We were very proud of how they performed along with all of our others horses this week.  After all the times were tallied, we ended up taking 5th in the overall race meet.  Very good indeed.  Congratulations to Dustin and Jaycee  Gorst on winning Rocky.  Well deserved.


My Sidekick

This past weekend and during Bonnyville, we had Searirra out friend from Saskatoon come and help us with the chores and other jobs around the barns.  Some day she will be old enough to become a full fledge barn hand.  She sure enjoys it.

We made it home to our Ranch safely around 8 PM, unloaded, enjoyed a nice long hot shower and headed to bed.

I will be doing a wrap up blog soon.  Thank you all for following  along.


From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and “Team 23”

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P.S.  There is no limit to the amount o good a person can do if they don’t care who gets the credit.

Rocky Mountain House Battle of the Rockies Day #3

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends,

After the races last night, the wind came up and the rains came down.   We didn’t stick around the bonfire, as a matter of fact we put it out with some water and headed for cover.  Once inside with the adult kids, the discussion was on about heading to the Broken Spoke Saloon here on the grounds for some two stepping, beverages and some fun.  The final decision was the younger kids headed out, and us wiser group stayed back.  That was okay with me as I was tired from the night before and I also got to cuddle with Ryker our little grandson.  We’ll go out tonight for sure.


Happy Receivers

These young bucks came by so Rick could sign the little mini Chuckwagon they caught last night.  They were very happy to receive it.  The best part about them coming by, was they told us they were deciding to give the gift to their Great Grandfather, as he is in the hospital and is a very big fan of the Chuckwagons.  WOW!  How cool is that for these kids to think of such a thing.  So  very proud of them.



This morning I had the pleasure of going out early and playing a round of golf with my two son in laws.  And would you believe, both are named Chris!  So as a family, we have been calling them Chris 1 and Chris 2.  I know there has been a little competition going, each trying to gain a few brownie points with their Mother-In-Law.  And today on the greens, it was definitely obvious.   All in all, we had a good time, lots of long drives, a few balls lost, more balls found (just not ours), and some early morning exercise.  And at the end of it all…………….I think they are tied in the points department.


What the Cowboys do at the Western Store

Today, many of the drivers stopped in at the local Western Wear Store called Henry’s.  Mabel and her crew were having a sale day with beef on a bun for all the customers who came by.  Many drivers, families,friends and fans came by to take it all in.  I had to chuckle when I notice Rick, fellow drivers Ross Knight and Mitch Sutherland watching a horse race on a phone that was tucked in the jeans pile while their wives did some shopping.  I guess if you asked the wives opinion, it would be a win win situation.

Henry’s Western Wear store has sponsored driver Ross Knight here at the Battle of the Rockies.  He’s a very friendly, nice guy with a very infectious laugh.  When you hear it, you just laugh right along too.  So the girls bet Rick $5.00 to make Ross laugh hard and loud for them to hear.  Well, Rick did the job by telling Ross a great funny story of some sort and he laughed and laughed and so did they.

Rick earned his $5.00.  But, that is not the end of the story.  Rick gave the girls the option to win back the $5.00 or he would gain another $5.00.  He got one of them to foot race down the street, and back up to where they started.  Well, she didn’t listen to the rules very well, she didn’t win.  She was supposed to BACK UP to the finish line.


Double the Money

Some of us don’t take directions very well.  Yet it was all in some very good fun.  A great crew, Mable and the girls at Henrys Western Wear downtown Rocky Mountain House Alberta.


Money Well Spent

And with Rick’s earnings, he took his wife out on a date to the local A&W for a teen burger.  He made sure he let the girls know that it didn’t go to waste.  OK………just my waist.


Tonight, Rick drove on our 2nd outfit sponosored by Tomco Group of Companies in the first heat, Louie our grey on the Left Lead, Speedy on the Right.   The wheelers were 2 of Mike Vigen horses.  The outriding horses were one of our horses, Ice and one of Chad Hardens horses.  They didn’t start like Rick would have wanted, but yet posted a 1:17.24.



Our main outfit in the eighth heat, sponsored by Northwell Oilfield Hauling Ltd. was Spirit on the Left Lead, Speedy on the Right.  Law on the Left Wheel and Jim on the Right.  Spirit got a little excited and moved the chuckwagon just sligthly before the horn sounded.  The judges assessed us with a 1 second penalty for starting ahead of the horn, darn it.  This brought our time up to a 1:18.02.

Our outriders tonight were Chance Flad holding the leader with Ed, and Ryan McNeil throwing the stove on Stadium.  Both these guys have done well riding for us.


Chance Flad


Ryan McNeil

One more night of racing, and it will be a wrap.  Looking forward to going out and enjoying my time with friends at the Broken Spoke Saloon tonight.

Until Tomorrow

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and “Team 23”

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P.S.  Close friends are truly life’s treasures.  Sometimes they know us better than we know ourselves.  With gentle honesty, they are our guide and support us, to share our laughter and our tears.  Their presence reminds us that we are never really alone.

Rocky Mountain House Battle of the Rockies Day #2

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends,

We are now at the very end of our summer here on the Chuckwagon trail.  With only 3 more days of racing, it is kind of surreal.  Mainly because the days from the beginning of April in training, to the middle of May when we depart to travel on the road, to now, has gone by so fast.  It really feels that we just began.  When one travels from one location to another each and every week, it kind blends the time together.

As we were visiting family, friends, fans and sponsors around the campfire last night after the races, it was said to us that the life we lead in this Chuckwagon world, is unique like no other.  For these folks, it has brought family and friends together to come and enjoy kind of a country style way of life without having to leave the city so to speak.


Each and every week, we are camping at a different location.  Our daughter bought a pony named Gus from a friend up in the Grande Prairie region.  When we left Dawson Creek, we brought him south with us.  We have him here in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta.    He is a big attraction to all the kids, big and small alike.  He’s getting plenty of attention.  Kids from other families among the Chuckwagon group, will come and go for a ride.  When sponsors or fans come about, we make sure the kids get to hop up on him too!.


A Dedicated Fan

We meet so many folks, and many of them are die hard fans, that don’t miss a race.  This fella is here for the weekend enjoying his time during the day riding around and watching the horses run, buck and play in their pens and also chatting with the wagon folks at their barns.

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Our Australian barn hand Duncan, was looking to blow out a horse.  This is the term we use when we are exercising the horses and they run full force speed ahead.  Duncan was pretty excited as this was something he really wanted to experience.  We saddled up our horse Ernie, got our outrider Chanse Flad to ride alongside and away they went.

Things went very well and when I asked him what he thought of his experience  when coming off the track, his reply was “That was sick!”.  I’m thinking that was a full on successful experience of a lifetime.


The Guiding Hands

Our 2nd hook tonight in Heat number one was comprised of all of Chad Hardens horses pulling the chuckwagon.  The outriding horses were one of Chads and one of ours.



Rick said they started and charged hard around the barrels.  He had a great run placing 8th on the day.  He was assessed a 1 second penalty for a late outrider.  Without the penalty the outfit would have been 4th on the day.


On the Run

Our main hook tonight coming off the one barrel was Spirit on the Left Lead, Sporty on the Right.  Rick changed things up and put Law on the Left Wheel, and Jim on the Right.  Cody our son is here and giving us a helping hand, and we sure do appreciate it.


Father and Son



Rick was really happy how Jim did on the Right Wheel.  He really charged hard when the horn sounded.  Sometimes its good to make a change or two to see if a horse works better in another position.  Tonight was one of those nights.


Charging on the Horn

You can see the chestnut on the Right Wheel position, Jim how hard he started.  He’s a pretty good horse.  After two nights of racing, our main outfit and 2nd outfit are sitting 3rd and 4th in the average.  That feels pretty good.  I think the driver is doing a pretty awesome job.

Until Tomorrow

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and “Team 23”

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P.S.  Healing doesn’t mean the damage never existed.  It means the damage no longer controls our lives.

Rocky Mountain House Battle of the North Day #1

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends,

On Monday we were up and at it very early to head south to Rocky Mountain House.  We thought we would get a good head start by getting up at 4:00 AM.  We did just that, things were packed up and when it came to close up the hydraulic liner, the generator gave us grieve.  It did run mind you, but it kept wanting to quite when he moved the levers to close it up.  So the sides went in inch by inch, probably taking an hour by the time we started when it should only take 10 minutes.  We were finally on our way by 7 AM Alberta time.  Things were going good, then as I was cresting the Smoky River Hill east of Grande Prairie, a sound happened.  I swore I had a lawn mower running under the hood.  Well, the air hose shot off.  I did manage to make it another 20 minutes into the next town of Valleyview.  Not sure how the air kept up in the big o’l Freightliner, but it did thank goodness.  Another hour gone by, having a mechanic come and help us fix the problem, and then we were on our way again.  We finally rolled into Rocky by 4 PM.  I keep saying that we should compile a book on all the travel issues every camp has on our summer journey, because there are so many others that we hear about when we arrive at each stop.


Our Little “Team 23”

We were pretty excited to have our little grandson show up and stay the weekend.  He’s growing like a bad weed every time we see him.  And you just can’t get enough of those big blue eyes.

Before the races, our friend Don arrived.  Don is the talented fella that makes our little mini chuckwagons that we give away each night.  He brought something very special today, for Rick.

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Rick’s expression on his face was priceless when the unit was revealed.  A mini replica of our truck and liner.  It’s the cats meow as they say.  It is so detailed, its crazy.  There are lights, horn and it moves too.  It was a moment like a kid at Christmas time.

Don did an amazing job with over 400 hours put into creating the unit.  Thank you Don, it will have a special place at home in our Great Room, along with all our other Chuckwagon memorabilia.


Going Incognito

Well, my husband, as some of you know, is no shortage of entertainment at times.  Well, unbeknownst to me, as I had already gone out to the infield with the outriding horses, he decided to have a little fun and don a mustache for the first heat driving the second wagon.


Our Friend Paul

Our long time friend Paul has come to spend the weekend with us, giving us a hand hooking and such.  He told Rick that he looked like actor Tom Selkirk.   Yes!  Tom Selkirk!  The crew got a good laugh, as they knew exactly who he was talking about………it was Tom Selleck.   And he sure did Paul.


Ready to Go


Onto the Track


Back to the Barn

I must say when I seen my hubby come into the barrels with the lovely mustache, I was a bit surprised.  What a goof.  I’m sure it made a few people giggle.  I know I sure did.

Our 2nd outfit was comprised of 2 or our leaders and 2 wheelers of Mike Vigens.  They had a pretty decent run, placing 7th on the day off the one barrel.


Watching From Above

As our trailer sits along the backstretch fence, my son Cody and I climbed up on top to get a bird’s eye view of all the other heats going by before our race in the 8th heat.


A Four Barrel Turn

Our main hook was Jim on the Left Wheel, Law on the Right.  Louie on the Left Lead and Speedy on the Right.  Chance Flad held the leaders with Ice, and Ryan McNeil threw the stove with Stadium.  Rick said they started okay, but was not impressed too much with Speedy’s performance.  He ran 4 wide, then pulled to go down to the rail, but then came four wide coming down the homestretch.  We posted a 1:17.51 which was 21st on the day.


A Happy Recipient

We like Rocky Mountain House Venue, as Rick can hand the mini Chuckwagon right to the fan, because the grandstand is right there in front and center of the track.  I’m not sure who was more happier to receive it, the mom or her little girl.  I think the picture tells the story.

Until Tomorrow

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and “Team 23”

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P.S.  Be proud of who you are, and not ashamed of how others see you.


Howdy Chuckwagon Friends,

Another week gone by.  This morning we awoke to very heavy smoke in the air.  It felt smelled and tasted like a smoldering camp fire right out the door.  I cringe thinking of the folks who battle with asthma and how this might affect them.  Later on in the day it did clear up for a very nice evening.



Before the races began, we were able to say a hello to the head chief of all operations of the Dawson Creek Exhibition and Stampede, Connie Patterson.  She is one heck of a lady, that gets things done.  This week was very successful because of her and all of the volunteers under her.  Kudos to them all.


Kelly is honoured

The Dawson Creek Committee took time before the last race night, to recognize Kelly Sutherland and all his accomplishments in his 50 years plus here in this city.  He spoke that as a kid at a very young age, began riding flat horses here in 1968.  He shortly thereafter began racing chuckwagons.  He said at that young age it was terrifying and exciting at the same time.  Yet it got in his blood and never looked back.  He did a lot over the many years of his carreer and he will always be remembered.


Before the first heat ran, the top four finalists were introduced to the crowd and the barrel draw was done.  Mitch Sutherland got the one barrel, Rick got two,  Chanse Vigen driving for his dad, Mike Vigen was on three and John Walters was on four.


Chad Cosgrave


Casey Knight

Our outriders tonight were Chad Cosgrave holding the leaders with Ed, and Casey Knight throwing stove with Andy.  Both did a fabulous job.


Hard Starting Charge


Honest Turn


Jumping On

Our hook was Spirit on the Left Lead, Sporty on the Right.  Jim on the Left Wheel and Law on the Right.  Boy did they start hard.  Unfortunately for Mitch on one, he knocked his top barrel, an automatic five second penalty.  The race continued on with Rick two wide, Mitch on the rail, John Walters three wide and Chanse Vigen in behind.  John managed to take the lead on the backstretch and kept it coming on home.  Rick fell back a bit to finish fourth in the race.  John and Bonnie Walters are the 2017 Dawson Creek Champs.  Congratulations to them and their crew.

We will be heading out south to Rocky Mountain House, tomorrow morning early as we have a 7 hour trek ahead of us.  The last meet of the season begins on Thursday.

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and “Team 23”

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