Bashaw Qualification Run-Off: Day 4 (August 23)

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends,

Well, it is Sunday already and Day 4 of the Bashaw WPCA Runoff is a wrap and in the history books. The racing season for the WPCA is complete.

Being an early race day, there was not a lot of time in the morning to do too much. All the camps in our circle took the pleasure of sleeping in. Even me. I’m not sure what time it was but I heard the door rattle while still in bed. Cody had come to get some coffee. Only thing was, it wasn’t made yet! I got myself up, prepared the coffee and started the breakfast for the crew. Once we finished that little job, it was time to close up the trailer for the trip home after the races.

Fans of Team 23

Fans of Team 23

We couldn’t have asked for better weather for the final afternoon of racing. It was warm, sunny and beautiful out. The crowd was awesome, as they filled the bleachers and more.

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Turning the top

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Headin’ to the bottom

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Off to the track

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Cody and Vern

The Post Parade

The post parade

A Wave to the Fans

A wave to the fans

Our son Cody was off the 1 barrel today with the horses Spirit, Ranger, Sneakers and Law. Another great run around the barrels and track.  Cody maintained the highest number of points over the four race days, giving him a spot on the 2016 WPCA chuckwagon circuit. We are so proud of this young man of ours. I think for me, it hasn’t sunk in yet, what our 2016 year ahead holds for us. It will be very busy but a good busy.





Again today they had the crazy sheep scramble for the kids. They have to catch up to the sheep and grab a bow off their backs and take it to the lady for a win. This particular little guy made me smile. He looked like he was having so much fun out there and was oblivious to anything else around him.




I’m not sure if he managed to get a bow but he sure had fun trying to get it.


I think I won!


I won the 50 50! says Neil


Congrats is in order

At the races, there is always a 50/50 draw. Many folks always buy to help out the agriculture society for whatever they need the funds for. My friend Gin thought for sure she was going to be the winner but not so. Retired chuckwagon driver Neil Walgenbach was the lucky winner today, taking home the cold hard cash. Good for him!


Down at her level


Taking the time


A gentle touch

After the races, there is always time to visit with friends and fans who come by. Today Cody had a young gal come by with her family. From afar she loved the horses but up close she was scared to death of them because to her they were so big. Cody got down at her level, bringing one of our horses forward for her to pet. It took some time for the young gal to trust that large animal. For some, horses can be very intimidating. Cody did an amazing job by slowly gaining the young girl’s trust to pet the horse. These moment are so very precious.

A Baby Announcement

A baby announcement

To close off on my blog today, I have some very exciting news. Our daughter Kaylee and her husband Chris have announced that we are going to be grandparents again. Kaylee is having a baby, their first, due next spring, on March 2. We are thrilled to say the least. Only six months to go! I can hardly wait!!!

So my friends, my 2015 chuckwagon racing blog has come to an end.  My blog itself will continue in some casual form. I will write from time to time of things that are going on in our day-to-day lives. I appreciate you all for checking in and keeping tabs on my summer journey. Thank you to those of you who have written comments; I have read them all and enjoyed hearing from you even if I have not responded. Cheers to you all!

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Life is short, LIVE IT. Love is rare, GRAB IT. Anger is bad, DUMP IT. Fear is awful, FACE IT. Memories are sweet, CHERISH IT.

Bashaw Qualification Run-Off: Day 3 (August 22)

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends,

Day 3 was a very sunshiny day but cool. Come the evening for the races, it was warmer, sunny and calm. Come the after-race celebration, it cooled right off so our bonfire was definitely needed.


Cody’s buds Jack and Kieran chillin’


Judy and Norm Cuthbertson, 2003 Dodge Tour champion


Our friend Rod Streeper

The day was pretty laid back. Rick zipped off to Edmonton to visit our friend Paul who is in the hospital for a few days. We wish him speedy good health. Norm and Judy and Rod and Virginia joined us here in Bashaw. It’s great to just sit and catch up on life with friends.


Amy and Allie


Sharon and Jesse


Me and my friend Gin

Lots of laughs, tales and beverages were the name of the game for the afternoon. Then most of the crew took naps so they’d be ready for the big night of racing.


Preparing the much drier infield


And they’re off!


The top barrel turn

The gentle giant and his girl

The gentle giant and his girl

The infield dried up tremendously with all the sunshine of the day. No more soupy mess to race in. Cody and all the other drivers were in total need of the pressure washer as a pre-soak before a shower on Day 2.

For his hook on Day 3, Cody had Spirit, Ranger, Sneakers and Law. He had a tremendous run to capture top time of the day to put him first overall of the pack. Momma and Pappa are happy and proud parents. He’s driving very well.


After-race bath

With driving a chuckwagon comes plenty of hard work. Cody has a few of his good buds come to cheer him on as well as give him a helping hand in the barn with the horses. Rick and I are sitting back, letting him do it all. Rick is there for support and to answer any questions but Cody’s the boss of the barn. My role in the barn is nil but my job as the chief cook has remained. It’s all good, though. We enjoy having all the kids around.


Let the sheep scramble begin!


Look out, here I go!


Sheep on the loose!

Our after-race entertainment was great as usual. Those little kids and the sheep are priceless. One of the sheep escaped and thought he was a race horse running down the track. It didn’t take him long to run on back to the others.





The Ewart and the Bushnell families came out to cheer the guys on. We are always happy to have friends come out to watch.

Cody Talance and Seairra

Cody, Talance and Seairra

My little friend Talance

My little friend Talance

We were surprised to have our new friends from Saskatchewan show up. They were donning their Team 23 t-shirts proudly. We had to take some more photos of those cute smiling faces.

Today is day 4 and the races will be held at 2pm. The sun is shining and the air is cool. I will update you all after the races wrap up.

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Bashaw Qualification Run-Off: Day 2 (August 21)

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends,

Through the night, the wind blew and the rains came down. We woke up this morning and it was still raining. Maybe not as hard but it was still raining. It wasn’t looking very promising for an evening race day. But the weather man said it was going to quit later in the day, which it did, but it was still overcast and cold throughout the rest of the day.

Very Muddy Infield

Very muddy infield

The track had been eyed up as very muddy but still race worthy. The races were to carry on.

A Wee Fireman for the Day

A wee fireman for the day

Waiting for the races to begin, I eyed this little guy just below where we were sitting. He got to spend some time with a local firefighter today. His orange lips and tongue gave away the orange pop that he was drinking.


Getting ready to hold leaders

Rick did such a great job last night that Cody would have him hold the leaders again tonight. Not sure what he’s getting paid but it sure must be good.



rolling along

Rolling along


Clean…but not for long!

Coming into the practice turn, we could all see the design on the wagon and the sponsor’s name on the tarp. It wouldn’t be that way for long, with the soupy mess in the infield and on the track. Things were looking good, though, as the base was great for the footing of the horses.

And He's Off!

And he’s off!

Coming around the Top

Coming around the top

Then the Bottom!

Then the bottom!

Once the horn sounded and the horses heard Rick’s distinctive whistle, the equine crew on the wagon knew it was time to start. Cody the skinner made a perfect turn on the top and bottom barrel. Tonight he was driving Spirit, Ranger, Vegas and Zorba.

First turn pace

First turn pace

Backstretch Booging

Backstretch boogying

Muddy race for the finish line

Muddy race for the finish line

I couldn’t be much prouder as a mom how Cody’s race panned out. When the race times were posted, he was first on the day and first in the average. Excellent!

Sitting Tall in the Box

Sitting tall in the box

I’m not sure who’s doing the laundry but I do know that the pressure washer will come in very handy tonight.

A birds eye view

A bird’s eye view

Once Cody unhooked the ponies and put them into their pens to cool down, it was up to the top of the liner to watch the rest of the heats’ performances.

Ed Wittchen our WPCA President and photographer

Ed capturing some magic moments

Throughout the season, Ed, our WPCA president, has been taking great shots of all the action of the races and events within our circuit. He’s one busy man, posting many of the photos on Facebook and writing up the association’s newsletter once a month. He does a great job getting this all written up for the enjoyment of our chuckwagon fans.

Serene Sunset

Serene sunset

Back at camp, with the fire a-blazing and cup of hot coffee and Baileys in our hands, we all enjoyed the awesome sunset in the western Alberta sky.

Never give up. Keep your thoughts and your mind always on the goal.

Bashaw Qualification Run-Off: Day 1 (August 20)

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends,

Rick, Cody, Keerin (Cody’s friend and helper for the show) and I arrived in Bashaw just past lunch time on Wednesday. There was really no hurry to get here. I totally enjoyed the hour drive south by myself, but this time I was pulling our house on wheels rather than the Freightliner with a load of horses. It was nice to see the countryside of crops that the farmers work so hard to put in.

Setting up camp for me was good, although I moved  once as the first spot didn’t seem quite right. The second time was by some trees for shade from the sun. Rick just shook his head at me. No worries, as I can handle it all by myself. You learn to hook up and unhook the trailer when you’ve been on the trail as long as I have.


A threatening night

Come the evening, we lit the campfire to enjoy a quiet evening with the neighbours. We sat out an hour or so and visited, and then the sky that came rolling in brought some wind and a bit of rain. That did it for us. It was time for bed. I couldn’t resist taking a photo of the magnificent-looking sky in the horizon.

Boys will be boys

Boys will be boys

Today the sun shone and it was nice and warm. There’s a little park here on the Agriculture grounds and the not-so-small boys couldn’t resist playing on it. I don’t think they knew I was watching. It was great entertainment. Oh, to be a kid again.


Cowgirls at heart


Where’s my mom?

Before the races began this evening, I took my camera out and captured a few photos of some of the young spectators in attendance. These kids are just way too cute for words.

O Canada

O Canada

A local gal led the decent-sized crowd in our national anthem. Billy Melville, our WPCA historian and commentator, along with his beautiful wife Joanne were in attendance to call the races for the weekend.


Watch out, lead man!

Cody was off the 2 barrel tonight. He hooked Spirit, Ranger, Sneakers and Law. Rick was the lead man, just like the days gone by but he just didn’t have a horse to jump on. He was one of the best back in the day.


Turning the top

Cody and Rick brought eight horses here for him to drive. A much smaller equine lineup than what we are used to.


Leaving the dust behind

He did a great job driving around the barrels and hitting the track. He was two wide alongside Todd Baptiste all the way around.


On the home stretch

The race was a good crowd pleaser, as Cody was coming hard down the homestretch trying to catch the leader.


The finish line

He was only back a horse length at the wire. Cody did a good job capturing second on the day, with Todd being first. I’m one proud momma.


Thank to the spectators

There’s always time for a wave and  acknowledgment to the crowd. And a huge thank you goes out to his sponsor, Ken Drysdale with Midwest Pipelines Inc.


Baa baa colourful sheep


On your mark! Get set!




Gotta get the bow!

For some added entertainment for the kids and laughs for the crowd, they had a sheep scramble. The kids had to collect three of the colourful bows off the backs of the sheep. Coy was out trying his best to get one but he was just not quick enough. He will have to try again tomorrow.

Well, the forecast is for heavy rains in the night. I can hear it falling already. Hopefully it won’t dampen it too much or we may have to cancel the day tomorrow and run a day on Monday. Time will tell.

The past should be left in the past or it can steal your future. Live life for what tomorrow can bring and not what yesterday has taken away. Every day is a gift.

Dawson Creek Exhibition and Stampede: Day 5 (August 9)

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends,

Such a busy day for me. With so many extras helping, my day just seems to fly by. I managed to sit for a cup of coffee out at the barn with the kids after breakfast before heading to the trailer to begin the cleaning and packing. Shanise, my niece, helped me clean the trailer and then I headed to the grocery store for another re-load. Made a quick stop to fill the truck with fuel for the trip tomorrow. Back at the trailer, the groceries were unloaded and put away. The fruit was cut up and supper was put into the oven. I made several batches of popcorn on the stove for the trip to Rocky Mountain House. Popcorn is a staple in our household. Everybody loves the way I make it. It’s even better than at the theatres.

No sooner had I got all that done when  the crew was in and out for supper, and Cody was harnessing his hook for the evening. Both Cody and Rick had superb runs.

Excellent Posture

Excellent posture

Cody came flying off the 4 barrel with Air, Speirman, Speedy and Vegas. So much so that he stole the rail from the other three wagons. Rick was pretty excited. I didn’t realize he was sitting where he was until I looked at my photos. A pretty proud father, he is.

Finding `Waldo`` I mean Rick

Finding “Waldo,” I mean Rick

On the backstretch

On the backstretch

Cody and Paul a happy moment

Cody and Paul share a happy moment

Father and Son

Father and son

I love these photos of the guys together. A son learning the trade from his father. How cool is that?

Pulling out from a false start

Pulling out from a false start

Tonight fellow competitor Mitch Sutherland on barrel 3 had a false start. This means his horses jumped ahead after he stopped and before the horn went. This causes a false start and all the wagons pull out and regroup, then come back in again. Rick made sure Cody was able to jump in before he pulled out as Zorba, our grey horse, is very hard to hold. He didn’t want to chance having a runaway.

Charging At The Horn

Charging at the horn

When the horn sounded after they pulled in for the second time around, the horses started hard.


Headin’ to the track

Three of the four wagons got to the track at the same time. Rick’s team had more speed and was able to overtake Gary Gorst by the second turn to take the rail. The horses were just running so fast, Spirit on the Left Lead, Spin on the Right, Zorba on the Right Wheel and Law on the Left.

On the Backstretch

On the backstretch

Ricky held the lead the whole way around. It was exciting to watch. We were hoping for a day money run.

Checkin for the outriders

Checkin’ for the outriders

Because he was so far ahead, Rick was checking back to see if our outriders, Cole and Rory, were within the proper distance as to not get a penalty. They were safe! Beau and Stadium ran hard. We ran a 1:14.32. Ricky held on to the lead for day money, up until the last heat. Then the new Dawson Creek champion, Luke Tournier, and Rae Croteau, Jr., snuck in to beat us. But we will still take third on the day. Best part about winning our heat was there was bonus cash for each heat winner. I just have to figure out a way to get it from Ricky!!! HAHA!

Better get to bed as it will be a very early morning rise. Rocky Mountain House, here we come!

What is right for one soul may not be right for another. It may mean having to stand on your own and do something strange in the eyes of others, but do not be daunted. Do whatever it is because you know within it is right for you.