WPCA Awards Banquet (October 3)

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends,

Well, time is ticking on and it’s been a very busy time on the Ranch this fall. When we arrive home from the chuckwagon circuit, things don’t just come to a halt. There are many things to get done before the snow begins to fall. I find that there is very little time to accomplish them so we get right at the list of chores.

Some of the crew stayed on a few days to help Rick with fencing, cleaning out the liner and a few of the other odd jobs around the yard. Rick managed to locate some hay and hauled a few loads in for the winter. One load of oats has arrived to fill the bins but more is yet to come. I have been busy cleaning out the traveling trailer on wheels, catching up on yard work and tending to the house chores. And now we have to gather up the paperwork, as it is time for our yearend accountant meeting. There is just never a dull moment around here.

The winding road

The winding road

The Golden look of fall.

The golden look of fall

The Beautiful Rocky Mountains

The beautiful Rocky Mountains

Rick and I, along with our relatives Bruce and Bonnie, took a day last week to enjoy a drive to see the fall colours and the progress in the fields. We toodled a couple of hours west to the town of Rocky Mountain House. It was a beautiful clear day so we enjoyed seeing the beautiful Rocky Mountains in the distance. What a sight to see. If you have never been to Alberta this is the place to come, as we have every kind of scenery you can imagine. While we were there we stopped in at a few of the local stores, including one of our favourites, the famous Henry’s Western Wear. This store has more fashion, tack and footwear than you can imagine. If you ever get a chance to drop in there, be sure to say hello to Mabel and the crew. They will treat you well and make sure you find just what you are looking for.

Sue presented Jaycee Gorst with the Ty Tournier Memorial Award

Sue presented Jaycee Gorst with the Ty Tournier Memorial Award

This past weekend we attended the World Professional Chuckwagon Association awards banquet, held at the beautiful Grey Eagle Casino Resort on the west side of Calgary. It was fun to get all cleaned up and enjoy an evening out. I was honoured to be asked by Kim and Leo Tournier to present an award to Jaycee Gorst. This award is in memory of their little angel up in heaven who lost his life at a very young age due to some heart health issues. An award was set up in memory of Ty to recognize a female in our chuckwagon community who shows strength, care for horses, and is also a nurturing spirit to children and family.

Terry Sudnick and Crew Accepting the award for Committee of the Year

Terri-Ellen Sudnik and crew accepting the award for Committee of the Year, Grande Prairie Stompede

The committee of the year was the hard-working Grande Prairie Stompede crew. They spend many tireless hours putting on one of the best shows up in the peace country. Without all those volunteers, there wouldn’t be any chuckwagon races. Congrats to you all!

Rick accepting a Special Tribute Award on behalf of his Dad, the Late Dave Lewis

Rick accepting a special tribute award on behalf of his dad, the late Dave Lewis

Rick said a few words in accepting an award that was given to his late father, Dave Lewis. This  award was a special recognition award, to recognize all the accomplishments that Dave had completed throughout his career.


A big smile after a night of racing

He was quite the guy. I was honoured to have called him my father-in-law. He was a very humble man, a man of few words. He loved to tease and he was satisfied with very little.

Dave Lewis and his equine crew

Dave Lewis and his equine crew

Rick learned many things from his dad pertaining to training and driving the horses, something that can never be taken away.


The cleaned-up Team 23

It was fun to see all the crew cleaned up and ready to have some fun. For a complete listing of all the awards of the evening, you can go to http://www.wpca.com and view them there.

A good read and toque and mitts

A good read and toque and mitts

A celebration of 6 years old

A celebration of the six-year-old

Birthday Boy

Birthday boy

Soon after arriving back home again, we celebrated our grandson Coy’s sixth birthday with an afternoon of swimming with friends, hot dogs, cake, ice cream and presents. We all had a great time, and I’m finding it hard to believe he’s already six years old! My, how time flies!

A westward sky in the rear-view mirror

A westward sky in the rearview mirror

Down the line

Down the line

Breathtaking Alberta Sunset

Breathtaking Alberta sunset

I had a chance to capture a few photos of the beautiful Alberta sunset sky. It can be so amazingly breathtaking! I just had to share them with you.

From Home on The Ranch,

P.S. A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking because its trust is not on the branch but on its own wings. Always believe in yourself.

Dawson Creek Exhibition and Stampede: Day 4 (August 8)

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends,

The countdown is on. In less than 36 hours, we will be headed south to Rocky Mountain House for the last show of the season. My, how time does fly. But you know, I’m ready to be done. I’m tired.

It was a beautiful sunny and hot day today. I spent the day helping out with Olana Vigen. She put together a silent auction to raise funds for the WPCA Benevolent Fund and also to give some assistance to our friend Mrs. Laundry Louise in Strathmore. Louise will be so excited to receive this gift of kindness. I’m excited to deliver it.


Ken along for the ride


Crossing the finish line

Our race evening was good. Cody had a good race but just grazed the barrel enough to have it fall down. Unfortunate…but that’s wagon racing. Cody had a new helper in the wagon tonight. It was Ken Drysdale, our sponsor from Kendal Pipeline from a few years back. Nice to see him back in the box.

Rick was off the coveted 1 barrel tonight. I was crossing my fingers we would have an awesome run tonight.

Our hook was Spirit on the Left Lead, Ranger on the Right Lead, Sneakers on the Left Wheel and Law on the Right Wheel. The horn sounded and the horses heard it. They hit it! The skinner drove those ponies around those barrels in fine fashion to steal the rail. Looked like a clean race to me crossing the finish line first.




The outriders Cole and Rory rode Beau and Stadium, and they came back saying it was good. When the dust settled, we had posted a 9th on the day and are sitting 16th in the show.

We enjoyed some visiting after the races with some special friends and family that stopped by. It’s always good to reminisce and catch up on things.
Brother Darcy with grandson Cash

Brother Darcy with grandson Cash

Ava Lynnne

Ava Lynne

A sticker of Uncle Ricky

A sticker of Uncle Ricky

Just visiting

Just visiting

enjoying a cold one

Enjoying a cold one

Until tomorrow….

A great attitude becomes a great mood, a great mood becomes a great day, a great day becomes a great year, a great year becomes a great life.

Strathmore Heritage Days: Day 3 (August 2)

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends,

Happy Sunday! With a few more bodies in our camp, this means things are a little busier but a whole lot more fun. We have all three of our kids here, Amy, Kaylee and Cody, our grandson Coy, our son-in-law Chris, and Cody’s girlfriend Allie. Our good friend Paul is here too with his daughter Carrie and her daughter Anna. Oh, and I can’t forget my so-called adopted daughter Candice too. With all this crew around, my time in the barn pretty much becomes nil. They look after things really well.

This leaves me to tend to the meals. It’s worked out pretty good the last two days. I dug my heels in and used up all my food in the refrigerator and freezer. It’s amazing the things you can put together when you put your mind to it. Nobody complains and they go away with their tummies full. The work gets done so it’s a pretty good trade.

A DQ Treat

A DQ treat

On hot days such as the ones we’ve been having, Rick scooped up a few kids and snuck off to the local Dairy Queen for a nice cold treat. The kids loved it!

A Crappy Move

A crappy move

When things have to be done, no job is too big or to small. Just call the retired vac truck operator. I’m not quite sure if I would be trusting him to be going in the portable unit as he attempts to move it.

Fixin the Wagon

Fixin’ the wagon

As the first few heats are going, last-minute checks happen on the wagon. Just a good safety measure.

Tales on the Trail

Tales on the trail

And then there are always time for jokes, pranks, tales and laughter. Good for the Team 23 moral.

Coming off the 2 barrel tonight, Rick hooked the same outfit of Left Leader Spirit, Right Leader Spin, Left Wheel Keenin and Right Wheel Zorba. With Keenin being a newer horse, these runs are important for him. So far he’s doing pretty good but still needs some work. But from what Ricky says, “He’s gonna be a good one!” Some of the horses are like a good glass of wine…they get better with age.

4 Abreast

Four abreast

All four outfits were four abreast. Then Obrey started to make a move on the back stretch while on the rail. Rick said two wide where he was running was a bit heavy from the watering of the track. Kirk came along the outside and passed Rick to come second. Rick was third and Kurt was fourth. It was a pretty good wagon race.

The Outriders are in Line

The outriders are in line

Huntin him down

Huntin’ him down

Outriders Cole and Dustin didn’t miss a beat, riding Beau and Trixter.

A Happy Little Guy

A happy little guy

This young fella was pretty happy when he received the mini chuckwagon giveaway tonight after our race.

Tomorrow the races begin at 1pm. We will be departing from Strathmore for home immediately thereafter, stay the night at the Ranch and head for Dawson Creek in the morning on Tuesday.

When life changes to be harder, change yourself to be stronger.

Bonnyville: Day 3 (July 25)

Last night was a late one. Sat out by the warm camp fire chit chatting and then came in to write my blog. I don’t think I laid my weary little head down until after 1am. Coy, our grandson, stayed over in our camper, so we both slept in until 8 this morning. I needn’t worry, as our barn crew girls and Candice, along with Rick, got the chores done up.

When I did arise, I got out in time to help hook an outift for the morning practice run. This made making breakfast a bit later than usual. Once everyone was fed and watered, humans and horses, a few of us headed to town to seek out the local garage sales. We managed to find a few, and everyone came home with some kind of bargain or two.

This weekend, Coy has been having so much fun playing with the kids and adults. His mom Amy won a small swimming pool at the Ladies’ Day Spa Auction, which was just perfect for Coy to have a so-called bath in.

A splash in the pool

A splash in the pool

Coys loves superheros, but his favourite would be his mom!

Coys Superhero.....his mom

Coy’s superhero…his mom

Coy loves lego so much that our friend Nicole decided to bring some from home for him to play with. It didn’t take long for Coy to make fast friends with Nicole, as she is a teacher at the local school and she has the perfect way with the kids.

Some serious Lego Playing

Some serious Lego playing

Coy and his new friend Nicole

Coy and his new friend Nicole

This weekend, we have been fortunate to have Candice join us to help out with the chores and the horses. Candice is like an adopted daughter to us and we appreciate all the assistance that she gives to us when going down the road.

DSC_9597 DSC_9600

When it’s race time, Candice helps prepare the horses and then comes with me and brings one of the outriding horses to the infield to give to the outriders when our heat is on. This helps me out tremendously.

Bruce and Bonnie our camping companions

Bruce and Bonnie, our camping companions

This weekend we’ve really enjoyed our relative’s company here in Bonnyville. I think Bruce and Bonnie have been coming up here to the races every year since it started. They also live in Wetaskiwin, where we do. It’s just like camping when they join us. We share making all the meals and just enjoy sitting and chatting around the campfire at night.

Tonight Rick was excited to be turning the 1 barrel. His hook was Spinner on the Right Lead, Spirit on the Left Lead, Keenan on the Right Wheel and our big grey Zorba on the Left Wheel. Cole rode Bingo tonight and Dustin was on Trixter.

The team was ready to charge and so they did. Ricky turned just a little bit too soon and managed to crunch the top barrel. Oh, how I felt so bad for him. No driver ever wants this to happen. He felt pretty bad when he came back to the barn. He knows we are all part of a team and we rely on him to do his part. But at the end of the day, we are all human and things just happen. On a brighter note, if you took the penalty off, we would be sitting first in the show. What this tells us is that the horses are running very well and performing to their best ability.

DSC_9688 DSC_9696

Tonight’s recipient of our mini chuckwagon after the race was this good-looking little cowgirl with a very happy face. This sure makes us smile when we get to see who takes it home.

A proud recipient of the mini chuckwagon giveaway

A proud recipient of the mini chuckwagon giveaway

I heard we should be getting some rain tonight, so things were cleaned up and tucked away outside just in case.  Tomorrow’s another day; looking forward to another great run.

Don’t wait for the PERFECT MOMENT, take the moment and make it PERFECT.

Down Time Between Shows

Seven days at home and was I excited! With the Calgary Stampede all finished up, it was all I could do to drive our unit home to the Ranch. All of our Team 23 were pooped right out. We made it safely and had the ponies unloaded by 4pm. I had no choice but to head to my bed and go to sleep. I slept for five hours. Awoke for another couple, and went back to sleep until morning. Tuesday was a day of organizing, laundry and decluttering from all the Calgary extras that we bring along. IMG_5166 It was nice to be home. The ponies sure enjoyed the green grass and the wide-open space.IMG_5153 I love to see the hay field baled up and looking good. It brings me back to when I was a kid on the farm. Our neighbour Ed does our haying for us and seems to do a pretty darn good job. No rain on it this year, which is a bonus.

We had some special company on Friday. Ed and Vera Wittchen and family came to the Ranch. Ed is our World Professional Chuckwagon Association President. The main purpose of the visit was their daughter Tara and her daughter Aurora were in from Nova Scotia, and Tara has been my main instrument of setting up and keeping my blog running smoothly. So she came over to give me some much-needed pointers. Their son-in-law and grandson came along too. We thoroughly enjoyed the visit, with a lasagna supper to boot.

crop IMG_1951

crop IMG_1953

crop family time

On Saturday, Rick, our family, my sister Dana and I were flown out to Grande Prairie to visit my dad who has not been feeling too well. We were fortunate to have three hours to spend with him. A huge thank you to our sponsor Northwell Oilfield Hauling for arranging this special trip.

My Dad and I

My Dad and me

My kids, dad and me

My kids, Dad and me

My Beautify Girls, Dad and I

My beautiful girls, Dad and me

Dad and and my sister Dana

Dad and and my sister Dana

Coys first Plane Ride

Coy’s first plane ride

Great Grand Kids are So Much Fun  Coy and Grandpa Sig

Great grandkids are so much fun – Coy and Grandpa Sig

We visited and then he took us out on a little trip in his Kubota around the RV park that he built right on the home front where I grew up. I’ve been gone for nine years now and things have sure changed. My dad is so proud of the park, and so he should be, as he built it with his own hands. If you ever need a place to park your unit when in the area, look up Country Roads RV Park; you won’t be disappointed.

I no sooner landed back in Wetaskiwn and I was headed out west to go “glamping” with Rick’s Aunt Sharon, cousin Debbie and friend Connie. I thoroughly enjoyed my time away.

Glamping at Twin Lakes with the Gals

Glamping at Twin Lakes with the Gals

Auntie KooKoo

Auntie KooKoo

Chillin at the Lake

Chillin’ at the lake

We had good times with food, friends and laughter, and now have cherished some great memories.

On the Road Again

On the road again

Our time at home came to an abrupt halt, and it was time to jump back into the freightliner and head north to the city of Bonnyville for our next WPCA show. We got away approximately at 7:30am, arriving in at 11:30am. We made great time and it was a lovely, enjoyable trip.

Back home, my friend Mary Lynn, AKA the Red Neck Barbie, contacted me, saying there was a wicked storm a-brewing in the Ponoka area. I don’t listen to the news when we are on the road, so I rely only on the sky and my friends to fill me in on the things going on. Well, it was a doozer when all was said and done. Mary Lynn sent me all these amazing photos to share with you. storm photos IMG_9279


IMG_6710 IMG_6765 FullSizeRender_1 FullSizeRender_2Thank goodness no one was hurt that I know of. What a wicked storm it was. Fortunately our Ranch in Wetaskiwn was not damaged. Back in 2011, the day after we arrived home from the Calgary Stampede we were hit with a very similar storm. I never wish to experience that type of thing again.

Well, races begin Thursday, and we are looking forward to a fast and speedy race meet. We are the defending champions and hope to retain the title.

There are many things in life that will catch your eye. But only a few will catch your heart…pursue those.