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.

Battle of the Rockies: Day 2 (August 13)

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends,

Another beautiful day in the Rockies! Warm weather and sunshine! I’m lovin’ it!!  And to think that in only eight weeks, it will be October.  Brrrrr.  I am just going to enjoy what we have now.

Breakfast with Bonnie

Breakfast with Bonnie

This morning we had a full breakfast made. Bonnie was in charge of the griddle. She was a little hard on herself on how the eggs turned out. There were no complaints from the ones who were eating it so I think it was all good.

Gary Gross's #1 fan....Bonnie

Gary Gross’s #1 fan….Bonnie

Gary Gross, our chuckwagon announcer, stopped by with a few Timmies drinks for the crew. Bonnie had to get a photo taken with her favourite guy.  Don’t they look great?

This journal journey has been quite interesting and fulfilling for me. Since I have doing an actual blog that is open to the public, I have reached 26 countries! That’s crazy! I never would have dreamed that this would reach people worldwide. People who have either committed to follow or have viewed the blog are from Canada, USA, Ecuador, Thailand, Switzerland, Cuba, United Kingdom, Australia, Panama, Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, New Zealand, Mexico, Costa Rica, Sweden, Cameron, China, Slovakia, Israel, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Norway, Poland and Turkey. WOW!  That’s cool. What a neat way to share just a little of what we love to do here in Canada.

A 6 horse hitch

A six-horse hitch

Every night before the chuckwagon races begin, the committee has a few other entertainers come to perform in front of the spectators. Our good friends and neighbours from back home in Wetaskiwin, Foss and Shawna Irwin, have brought their beautiful six-horse hitch to Rocky Mountain House. They come in and parade in front of the grandstand for all to admire. A lot of work to get this team looking shiny and groomed.

Aurora and Lexus

Aurora on her equine therapy horse Lexus

Horses really are amazing animals. And they can be used for so many purposes. My friend Tara, who helps me with my blog, had her beautiful and unique daughter ride this equine therapy horse named Lexus out in Truro, Nova Scotia. Aurora sure enjoys her lessons.

The sound of thunder on a clear blue sky

The sound of thunder with a clear blue sky

Here at this show, they run a demonstration race of a chuckwagon before the real races begin. Last year, our son Cody did it. This year, Lane Tournier, son of fellow competitor Luke Tournier, is doing it for the crowd.

Ethan Motowylo

Ethan Motowylo

Derek Kent

Derek Kent

Tyler Robinson

Tyler Robinson


Lane Tournier



With him, they are having four outriders who race  along, just like it used to be. It’s great entertainment and brings us back to the good old days when we had four outriders per chuckwagon.

A charging start

A charging start

An excellent barrel turn

An excellent barrel turn

Rick hooked the same leaders tonight, Spirit on Left Lead and Ranger on the Right Lead. Then he put  Zorba on the Left Wheel and Vegas on the Right Wheel. Cole rode Trixter and Rory rode Stadium. The team started hard, as you can see. Rick got out alongsideJohn Walters. They ran a respectable race but unfortunately one of our outriders knocked over a barrel. That’s a no-no. It cost us two seconds in penalties. You can’t afford that if you want to win the show. Tonight’s position was 31st on the day and sitting 17th overall.

Whatever you’re going through right now, just remember there’s hope in every breath, in every heartbeat and in every mile. Don’t give up!

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.

Dawson Creek Exhibition and Stampede: Day 1 (August 5)

Race day #1 is done and it is history. What a gloomy kind of day it was. Although it did not rain, it sure looked like it could have opened up the taps at any time and get us wet. But it never did.


A banquet waiting for its guests

a bouquet of freshness

A bouquet of freshness

Rick, Cody, Allie and I attended a sponsors meet and greet supper yesterday. I was admiring all the lovely decorations the committee worked hard on for this function. They did a really nice job. It caught my fancy enough to get me to take photos. The ideas may come in handy one day if we have another wedding to prepare for.

Here in Dawson Creek, our son Cody has entered to compete with his chuckwagon in the Western Chuckwagon Association. It has fewer members and gives many of the younger guys starting out a chance to compete and test out their driving before hitting the so-called big league.

A Practice turn on 1

A practice turn on 1

Top barrel Turn

Top barrel turn

A proud father watching his son

A proud father watching his son

Tonight Cody was off the 1 barrel. The practice turn went well. The horn sounded for the heat and away they went. Cody made a nice top barrel turn but then went a bit wide and couldn’t quite make the bottom barrel. Squished it! Automatic five-second penalty. Oh well, there’s always tomorrow.

Cody's #1 Fan

Cody’s #1 fan

Allie loves to have fun. As Cody headed to the track, she jumped in the wagon for a quick snapshot with two thumbs up.

2 young onlookers enjoying the ponies

Two young onlookers enjoying the ponies

Here in Dawson, we get a fair amount of people stopping along the roadside checking out the horses. They love to watch and call out to the ponies.

Our Friend Paul with Cody

Our friend Paul with Cody

It was a very touching moment tonight for our friend Paul. These races tonight marked a milestone for him. For many years,  Paul was involved in chuckwagon racing. Paul helped Rick’s grandfather Tommy Dorchester and his uncles Garry and Dallas Dorchester. Paul has also helped us over the past nine years and now he gets to help Cody. A four-generation stretch. He was one happy camper tonight and proud of it.

A Turn on Two

A turn on the 2 barrel

Our outfit tonight consisted of Right Leader Spin, Left Leader Spirit, Left Wheel Keenan and Right Wheel Zorba. Beau and Trixter were ridden by Cole and Rory Jarvis. The outriding crew did their job. As for the wagon horses and driver…not so good. For some reason, the left wheeler kept crowding the right wheeler Zorba.  Coming around the 2 barrel, Rick missed a line and ran right over the bottom barrel. Sometimes those things just get in the way. As we always say,  there’s always tomorrow.

Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase. You just have to take the first step.

Strathmore Heritage Days: Day 4 (August 3)

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends,

Well! Team 23 didn’t take very long to pack up and depart the town of Strathmore to head on home to the Ranch just outside of Wetaskiwin.

Hooked on a ready to roll

Hooked on a ready to roll

Racing before the Rodeo this year was a real treat. It gave us just enough time to get home before dark.

My friend, Mrs. Laundy Louise and I

My friend Mrs. Laundry Louise and I

Before we left, I had to go see my friend Mrs. Laundry Louise at the hospital. Just one more visit. This time I came bearing a gift from a few of the WPCA chuckwagon families. A few $$$s to help her out in one way or another. Louise was in pretty good spirits considering her unfortunate loss of both legs due to health issues. We chatted and shed a few tears together. Louise was very humbled to take the cash. She sends her many thanks to the ones who donated.


The Pace Kids Breakfast turnout

Pace Kids Auction

Pace Kids Auction

Morning breakfast for most was eaten at the Kirk Sutherland camp. Daughter Misty and her working crew hosted a pancake breakfast to raise funds for PACE KIDS. This is an organization from Calgary that helps children with disabilities. The breakfast was delicious and it was a treat not having to cook for the crew. They also had a live auction of horse-related items and a number of raffle ticket items too. It was a success, as they raised somewhere in the amount of $30,000.


Latest mini chuckwagon recipients

Team 23 Good Lookin Girls

Team 23: Good lookin’ girls

Dustin' it up!

Dustin’ it up!

The final race wrapped up, and we placed sixth on the day. A speedy one that we’ll take. Our aggregate standing was 15th overall. Congratulations to Jason Glass and his crew for winning the Strathmore Heritage Days.

We departed by 4pm and drove into the driveway by 7pm. It was nice to see home and all the greener grass and blooming flowers since we finally received some rain. The crew got busy unloading the ponies into pens to run around and stretch. Supplies were reloaded and things were taken care of before the morning departure.

My little traveling monkey

My little traveling monkey

Traveling Mr. Paleontologist

Traveling Mr. Paleontologist


Coy teaching the barn crew next door how to dig for bones

The caravan was right on time, departing the driveway by 5am. We had 646 kms to travel north to the city of Dawson Creek, BC. My little passenger was hung ho for the first 30 minutes but then it was lights out for the next two hours. He was one tired little monkey. The trip north went smoothly, and we arrived sometime around 2pm. Setting up went without a hitch. It had poured rain the night before so it was a bit muddy in spots. We didn’t get stuck so that was a good thing.

An afternoon hospital visit

An afternoon hospital visit

Our first day of the show and we had a little excitement happen. Our hired barn gal Cayley was out feeding noon oats. One of the ponies got just a bit excited, swung around, kicked up his feet and managed to graze the left side of her face. Thank the Lord, she only ended up with a small bleeding wound and a minor concussion. We took a trip to the hospital just for good measure.

We’re hoping for a dry run tonight, but it doesn’t look promising. Cross your fingers and your toes! Look for my updated blog tomorrow morning. Thanks for listening.