GP Stompede Night 1 of the Last Run

Howdy All!

Tonight, the rain gear was sitting on hold, as the evening progressed throughout all the activities of the first night at the 2018 Grande Prairie Stompede.   The clouds were continuously threatening to open up for the water to fall upon our parade, but we were lucky enough to elude such moisture.



Tonight, Cody our son drove an outfit in the Western Chuckwagon Association with a team of our horses.  He drove Orchid, Speedy, Club and Bacardi.  Coming off the 4 barrel, a line got flipped around over one of the horses heads, which in turn, slowed Cody down in his forward motion turning the barrels.  He managed to get around them both cleanly and head down the track.  He gained plenty of ground on the wagons ahead of him and finished the race pretty respectfully just the same.  He placed 12 on the day out of 19 competitors in total.


Practice on 1

As we were in the last heat, the track seemed to get heavier as the races went on.  Rick whistled to his horses when the horn sounded to start the race.  He made a clean pattern around the top and bottom barrels, then away they went as fast as they could go.  Rick was very happy with how the boys ran.  Tonight he had Spirit on the Left Lead, Ranger on the Right.  Cowboy was on the Left Wheel and Glory on the Right.  Quaid Tournier held the leaders with our horse named Ed.  Chance Flad rode Andy throwing the stove and those both rode quite well arriving right close behind Rick when he crossed the finish line.  When the times came out, we had posted a 1:17.77 on the day putting us 5th over all.


Over these last 6 or so years, I’ve enjoyed learning about photography, while takeing many, many Chuckwagon action shots along with happenings along on our journey down the trail.  I am definitely no professional, and have so much more to learn in this area of photos, lenses, light and settings.

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Together, Rick and I have had lots of fun living, learning and loving in our chuckwagon journey.  A roller coaster at times,  with many highs and sometimes a few lows.  But we grew from all that we did and we raised 3 wonderful kids along the way.


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I may not be an expert at harnessing the horses today, but I do get in there and help out where help is needed.   Thanks to Rick’s dad, the late Dave Lewis, as he was the one to teach me the ropes many years ago when I was just the new girl on the block.

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The Right Connection

For a cowboy who lives, loves and breathes what he does,  connecting the lines, crosschecks and snaps together is just another quick job to be done.

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Laughter is a Medicine

This guy that I married, always keeps one on their toes.  You never know what joke he will come out with next.

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Checking things Out

Well, I do have to tell you, this man and I have done a lot of thinking, debating and decision making this past while.

Rick & Sue in Vegas

Two become One

And through all this thinking and planning, we came to a decision.  A decision that was not easy at all to come out and say.  But yet we knew it was time to say it and share it.


Mr. and Mrs.

We have decided that this year will be our “Last Run”.  Yes, our “Last Run” on the Chuckwagon Circuit.  Grande Prairie, Sasaktoon, Medicine Hat, High River, Ponoka and Calgary too.  More stories to come and many more miles to drive.  So stay tuned, and enjoy, our “Last Run” of this year.


From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and “Team 23”


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P.S. Coming together is a beginning.  Keeping together is progress.  Working together is success.  Success is “Team 23”.

Opening Game Day

Howdy All!

Well, today is the day!  The first race day of the 2018 Season of the World Professional Chuckwagon Association Tour.  Are we ready?  I do believe we are.  Spring training went according to plan and we enjoyed every minute of it.


The Observant Douglas the Cat

And one fella that made our time at home very interesting and fun was Douglas the Cat.  He loves attention.  When we headed out to the barn for practice, along came Douglas and our dog named Nugget as well.  These two were quite the pair.  Watching all our moves.


Morning Cuddles

While the team was hooking up the ponies, Cody was giving some lovable attention to Douglas.


Catching a Ride

Douglas would often be on the wagon while we were getting ready to launch our trip around the track.  And this one particular day……………….he never got off!!!  Douglas went around for 3 full laps and then decided it was time to get off.  Oh the personality of that little kitty is priceless.


Headin to the Infield

We are excited to say, that our son Cody will be racing a wagon here at the Stompede.  Not with our association, but with the Western Chuckwagon Association.  They had a few spots available, and we had a few extra horses to run, so the decision was an easy one.


A Natural

Rick and I are very proud to see Cody up in the box driving a team.  He has such a natural ability when it comes to Chuckwagon Racing.  He really enjoys bonding with the horses and feeling the power in the lines from his hands to their mouths.  It’s quite a connection.


The Wagon Tells a Story

Cody designed his own Chuckwagon.  He chose colors the same as his dads.  The Diamonds represent his great Grandfather Tom Dorchester, the stars were from his great Uncle Dallas Dorchester’s Chuckwagon, and both World Champions.  And the “48”?  Well Cody is the fourth generation driver in the Dorchester family, and the eighth driver to compete.  A job well thought out.


Birthday Celebrations

With so many people in our Chuckwagon World, there is always a birthday to celebrate somewhere.  Rick did the honours in presenting our friend Nico with his very own birthday cake.  Nico (Nicolas Hardy) is a barn hand in the Logan Gorst camp.  Nico hails from the country of France.  He came to the Gorst camp a few years ago not knowing a thing about this sport we call Chuckwagon Racing.  Well,  it didn’t take Nico long to get addicted and he keeps coming back every year to help out.  He has also set a goal to become an outrider, and an outrider he is.  Nico is a world traveller, and has been to many nations in his journey of life.  He has many stories to tell.  If your interested to see where he’s been, you can check him out on Facebook.


Treats from the Candy Man

They know him as the “Candy Man”.  Yes Rick and I like to spoil all the little kids from the other camps and the fans that come to visit.  What little person doesn’t like a candy or two?  At each and every stop, they all seem to find where the Candy Man is parked and come by for that quick little treat.


They’re Back!!!  Yes, Rick and I are giving out our mini Chuckwagons after each and every race this year.  We are excited to have our Veterinarian out of Sherwood Park,  Ryan and Lana from Delaney Vet Services come on board and sponsor this giveaway.  Over the years that we have raced, and in the off-season, their company has been an integral part of our “Team 23”.  We thank them for the tremendous hours of work and knowledge that has gone into taking care of our herd of horses.


Ready to Race

Here’s to another great season.  I thank you from the bottom of my heart, for following along on my journey, along with Rick and  “Team 23”.  I also thank you for all your comments and well wishes over the past years that I have been writing.  I enjoy  hearing from you, sharing my photos, stories and letting you all experience just a bit of what it is like here on the o’l dusty trail.

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and “Team 23”

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P.S.  Moving forward, and not looking behind, is the way to live ones life.






On the Road Again

Howdy Friends

Many nights and days were spent packing and preparing for the 2018 Chuckwagon season that fell upon us so quickly.  With groceries purchased, clothes tucked away in the closets of the RV, winter wear for those chilly evenings and early mornings, water hoses, lawn chairs and so much more……………I hope I didn’t forget anything too important.  And if I did, we will be stopping in at home on our way to the 2nd venue of the season, Saskatoon Saskatchewan.

When one pulls out of the yard, you never really know how the day will turn out.  You carefully plan ahead of all the things that are needed, the route you will take, the time of departure and estimating the time of arrival.  Well this year, we chose to begin with an early start.  We arose at 3:30 AM, departing at 5:00 AM, hoping to arrive in Grande Prairie by 11 AM.  Everything was going according to plan until we reached the west side of Edmonton, only an hour on the road.  Our pickup pulling the horse trailer would not shift out of four-wheel low.  Our decision to the problem was to turn around and head back home to hopefully fix the issue with the vehicle.

Once we arrived back home, unloaded the horses, and the guys tended to the pick-up, low and behold, just like a miracle, the truck shifted back to where it belonged.  A group decision was made.  I was to make a quick breakfast for all, we loaded the horses and away we went, 2nd time around with the time of departure ringing in at 10:30 AM. Not bad at all.  The rest of the journey was as smooth as quiet waters, landing in at Evergreen Park in Grande Prairie close to 5:30 PM.  Then the set up began.


Just Relaxing

The 7 hour journey can be tiring for us the drivers, and the horses too.  When they come off the truck they run, buck, kick and stretch then slow right down and rest.  At night they are treated very well in their stalls with a fluffy bed of straw, a bucket full of oats, beet pulp, vitamins and clean cold water.


Shoes All Around

Ty, our farrier arrived right on time to tend to all the hooves of the ponies.  While we humans like boots and shoes, the horses all need their feet covered as well.  They are plated with aluminum horse shoes  and need to be replaced every 3 to 4 weeks while racing around the track.  It’s all called maintenance.


The Little Red Baron


Ready to Fly

While the days were beautiful here in Grande Prairie, my nephew took me for a little tour around the area, up in his plane, the Little Red Baron.  I thoroughly enjoyed our excursion, seeing how much growth has taken place since we left the city over 10 years ago.


Evergreen Park

I managed to get a shot of Evergreen Park, where we race, beginning this week on Wednesday evening.  It is a beautiful area surrounded by many pine trees, lots of sand and wildlife too.

The track is open for practice early in the morning.  Many of the camps, hook up and utilize this time to exercise their outfits.  Sometimes hooking up 1, 2 or even 3 outfits in a day.   This makes for a busy time along with the morning chores.

Coy batting

Ball Season in Full Swing

Back in Consort, the home of our daughter Amy and her family, keep busy on the farm and taking Coy our grandson to his afterschool activity of playing ball.  I managed to take a quick trip to watch him before we hit the road.  He was so excited when he got to bat, and hit the ball 3 times in a row.  And to top that off, he caught a fly ball that came his way!  Kids are so important, and they love to be watched in all that they do.  I look forward to when they connect with as at some of the shows.


Just a Little Bit of Cowboy

Back in Saskatoon, my good friend Lucy awaits our arrival of our 2nd stop on the tour.  On her doorstep she has just a little bit of “Rick” with flowers planted within a pair of his old cowboy boots.  How cool is that?

Until next time,

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and “Team 23”

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P.S.  Don’t just count your years, make your years count.

Ernest Meyers

Spring Training

Howdy Friends

Spring training began in the cold wet snow and ended with the bright warm sunshine.  As the horses are just like a human athlete, they need to get in shape for the upcoming Chuckwagon races.  It is imperative to have real good helpers alongside us as we prepare the horses during their training.


Harness Ready


To the Chuckwagon we Go

On April 8th, we welcomed David and Kim onto the Ranch hailing from the far island of New Zealand.  They had heard and watched Chuckwagon racing previously, so it piqued their interest when they read our ad for hired hands for the 2018 season.  There has been plenty to learn and many horses to get to know, but all in all we’ve had a bunch of fun so far, and they have gotten right into the swing of things.


Always lending a Hand

Our friend Tom was in the Wetaskiwin area, and came out for the week to give us a hand.  My husband Rick, and Tom go way back to their growing up days in Grande Prairie.  So he’s had a fair bit of experience handling those big thoroughbred horses.


Telling Stories

Paul, a good friend stopped in a day or two to say hello and go for a ride.  When we moved to Wetaskiwin in 2007, Paul became a permanent fixture here at the Ranch for a number of years, each spring helping us train the ponies.  He loved each and every minute of it as Chuckwagon Racing has been in his blood for a very long time.  Over the years, Paul helped Rick’s Grandfather, the late Tom Dorchester along with Rick’s uncle, the late Dallas Dorchester as well as our son Cody, when he raced in 2016.



Garth hails from just south of us in a small hamlet called Maskwacis.  He has been involved in Chuckwagon racing for many years, as an outrider and a hired hand in a few different camps.  We are looking forward to him joining up with us during the Calgary Stampede for the 10 days of racing.  Always a good hand with a smile, a funny joke and laughter that keeps the crew upbeat.


Years Experience

Our relative Bruce, has been coming out regularly over the years since we moved to Wetaskiwin.  His heart is in helping.  He loves the horses and always has many stories to tell from days gone by.  We are very fortunate to have him oversee things on the Ranch while we are away on the road during the racing season.


All Smiles


Watching and Bonding

And then there’s the grandkids!  They make me smile day in and day out.  Little Ryker is at the fun age of 2 years old.  He is a going concern, loving the great outdoors, trucks, trains, sandboxes, quads, tractors and more.  He knows his Papa drives a Chuckwagon and loves to stand and watch as they go around and around.


A Gentle Giant

As the seasons pass by, we so appreciate the help of our son Cody.  While he puts many hours into his welding job, he always makes time to help us harness, hook and drive.  Both Rick and Cody say the best days are the training days.


Coming Together



A Born Natural

When Cody raced in 2016, we were very proud to hear some of the retired veterans of the Chuckwagon world, say “That kid’s got it!”  “He’s a natural.”  We look forward to him joining the ranks again some time in the future.  We’re not sure when that will be, but when it is, it will be the right time.


Back in the Saddle again

As the training continued, the outriding horses needed a rider.  And well, Rick was it.  Back in the day, he was one of the best outriders, riding along side others such as Mike Vigen, Brent Wolsley, Jerry Bremner, Jim Nevada, Gary Lauder, Jim Sheilds, Randy Armstrong and more.  He did very well, but I don’t think he will be competing anytime soon, even though the outrider pen is pretty small this year.

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Helping Harness

As we neared the day to head out on the trail, the list of things to do was compounding daily.  Yet, I still enjoyed taking some time and helping the crew harness and hook the outfits that needed to go.  I always like to be out there as I think I might miss something if I’m not there.


Never Felt So Good

After a plentiful day of training, the horses and “Team 23”  enjoy a good back scratch that always feels so good!

From the Travelin Trailer

Sue, with Rick and “Team 23”

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P.S.  There is always time for gratitude and new beginnings.