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.