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.

Grande Prairie Stompede: Night Five (May 31)

Well, it’s a wrap. Another successful Grande Prairie Stompede is in the books. My, how time flies by. Seems like we just pulled into Grande Prairie, but it’s been two weeks, and now we are 95 per cent packed up and ready to head out for home early in the AM.

I spent the morning tidying and packing our home on wheels while the kids and Rick did up all the chores. My famous cheese bun ham and egger was on the breakfast menu. It’s a big hit down the wagon trail. Sometimes I change it up with real bacon.

Our farrier showed up to work on a few more horses. We had the pleasure of having another little visitor at the barns today. Our veterinarians Lana and Ryan Delaney popped by for a quick visit. Their little daughter Ash was excited to meet all the horses, sit in the chuckwagon with Rick and get a poster and a sucker to boot. What a little cutie she was.

DSC_7499[2] crop

My afternoon consisted of tidying up all my last minute bills on my office desk and packing away the printer and supplies to get ready for the trip home. Before I knew it, 4 o’clock chore time was up on me again and it was back out to the barn to prepare for the night’s races as well as pack up all our barn belongings. The crew worked diligently and I believe this may be one of the fastest times in getting ready to go. Looks like we should pull out of town at a very decent hour tomorrow.

I look forward to driving, as this is very much my down time to just sit, reflect and be quiet with my thoughts. Seldom do I turn on the radio. I also never have a travelling partner with me, so I just have me time. I am such a busy person, always on the go doing something, so all the travelling we do in the summer is good for me. We put on approximately 5,000 kilometres in a season, which consists of travelling mostly all across Alberta but dipping into Saskatchewan and British Columbia as well.

Cody raced tonight in heat 4 and had an impressive winning run, taking home second on the day racing Ranger, Sporty, Air and Mike’s borrowed horse, Cash. Cody had the third-fastest time in the aggregate over the four days of racing, which should have qualified him for the final dash for cash. But unfortunately, the Western Chuckwagon Association voted that you must compete in half or more of the shows or you’re not able to run in the Final Dash for Cash and win the prize money. Cody is only going to two shows, so they seeded him in the fourth heat instead. We are so proud of how he drives and how well he performed here at the Stompede. He’s going to win many championships to come.

DSC_7522[2] crop

DSC_7548[2] crop

As for our hook tonight, we did pretty good, picking up a seventh place win. We had Nickel on Left Lead, Speedy on Right Lead, Law on Left Wheel and Sneakers on Right Wheel. Such a great outfit. They all work together very well. They started great and ran hard, giving us a seventh day money in our pocket. Ace and Andy went with Rory and Dustin once again. Thanks to these two guys—they keep everything clean, no penalties.

The four finalists in tonight’s dash were Chad Harden on 1, Darcy Flad on 2, Obrey Motowylo on 3 and Kurt Bensmiller on 4. It was an exciting race right from the get-go. Chad Harden led the whole way, wire to wire, but looked back for his outrider and he was just too far back to catch the wagon. The outriders have to be within 150 feet to be penalty-free for their wagon. Unfortunately, one of Chad’s outriders was late coming out of the barrels and Chad was assessed a 1-second penalty. A 1-second penalty doesn’t sound like much, but it can cost you a show. So when the dust all settled, the Obrey Motowylo camp came shining through as the Dash for Cash champion. Congrats to Team Motowylo!

DSC_7558[2] crop

DSC_7553[2] crop

It takes teamwork to do what we do, and Team 23 did it again…we completed the first show of the season. Great job, everyone!

Sorry, but I gotta go now. My eyes are starting to shut and I can’t concentrate very well. And I don’t want to fall off my chair as I did three years ago writing my blog when I was in Calgary.

So until next time….

There will always be a reason why you meet people. Either you need them to change your life or you’re the one who will change theirs.

Grande Prairie Stompede: Night Four (May 30)

Still cold here today. I so wanted to sleep in. I’m not getting enough hours of Zzzzzs. Cody and Rick got up and fed morning oats, and then headed out to breakfast with Cody’s sponsor. I made a pot of hot coffee and tea for the crew to enjoy before the chores. There were a few slow-going kids this morning, as they went out to the cabaret for a couple of hours last night to have some fun.

Cody%20Myra%20and%20Lucy[2] crop

Cody lets Myra and Lucy sit on Ace.

DSC_7463[2] crop

Time for a minty treat.

My nephew Shawn came by today with his girls to have a little visit and meet all the horses. Cody let them sit on Ace to snap a picture. Many of the horses love to have treats and the girls fed them some mints. A favourite for many.

DSC_7474[2] crop

DSC_7354[2] crop

During this tour stop Harold Chapin, our farrier, has been busy resetting all our horses shoes. It’s a pretty big job but he manages to get through them, a few each day. The horse is such a magnificent animal. They all are amazing and are like people, in such a way that they all have their own personalities. It’s quite interesting when you get to know each one of them. We all have our favourites for different reasons.

Well, Rick hooked one of the best teams that we have ever had tonight off of the 3 barrel. Left Lead – Speedy, Right Lead – Nickle, Left Wheel – Sneakers and Law – Right Wheel. They are such an amazing outfit. Rory rode Ace and Dustin was on Andy. Both of these teams did an awesome job. The rains came down about 6 o’clock and it was cold and muddy. I had to drag out all the rain gear just to keep dry. The track here is one of the best tracks we compete on. All four wagons came into the barrels: Kirk Sutherland on 1, Jason Glass on 2, Rick on 3 and Kurt Bensmiller on 4. The horn sounded and they were off. Rick had an amazing start coming out into his lane. Kirk was in his lane, and Jason did not quite turn with them and was slower getting out, which allowed Rick to come alongside Kirk. Rick wears a Go-Pro on his hat when he races and it allows us to see just how the horses perform. Everything looked clean—he was ahead of Jason with room to ease down. Unfortunately the judging staff didn’t agree with this move. The judges came back to say, and I quote from the WPCA Inquiry Review, that Rick received “Wagon 3 moved Wagon 2 over to rail was too close to right leader then hit Wagon 1 on first turn” and  “3-second penalty was assessed to wagon 3.”  Rick also was penalized because the judging staff believed Rick’s wagon hit Wagon 1 on first turn. Yes, the two wagons did touch on the first turn, but according to a film that we reviewed, Wagon 1 passed over a bump, which in turn moved Wagon 1 into Rick’s wagon, thus being called interference.

Tomorrow is another day, and I’m very appreciative for all our Team 23 crew for how hard they worked over these last two weeks. It’s teamwork that gets us to where we are and to where we are going. Rick and I are very fortunate to have the horses that we do, the friends that we have, the people in our lives that come to support us. And we wouldn’t have it any other way. We are champions!

20150528_190048[2] crop

Barn babes!

Barn babes!

Do it big, do it right and do it with style.

Grande Prairie Stompede: Night Three (May 29)

Brrrrrrr! It was chilly this morning when we arose. Good thing I put the furnace on last night or I might have opted to stay in bed a whole bunch longer. Rick fed morning oats at 6am then headed in to tidy himself up and ventured off to his old elementary school, Hillside, to see the kids at a pancake breakfast. Chad Harden and Chad Fike also went along. Throughout the summer at each of the Tour stops, all the drivers and outriders are assigned to go out into the community to different functions to promote our heritage lifestyle. Some of the places they go to are schools, UFA, a sponsor, car dealerships, seniors’ lodges and hospitals, to name a few.

IMG_20150529_080011[1] crop

I zoomed into the city at 11 to buy some more groceries for the crew. Made it a speedy trip, and then headed to a restaurant to meet up with Rick and Ken Drysdale, our sponsor from a few years ago. Some of you may remember the company Kendal Pipeline? Yes, we carried that tarp proudly for seven years. It was a great partnership that began as business but quickly became a friendship that has lasted to today. We must say that chuckwagon racing did well for Kendal pipeline and Kendal Pipeline did well for Rick and Sue Fraser and Team 23.We had lots of great times, and together won a World Champion title in 2004 and numerous shows along the trail. So many great memories.

DSC_6746[2] crop

2004%20World%20Champion%20Family[2] crop

A day can go by quite quickly in this lifestyle we live. After lunch, I got back to our home on wheels and rushed to get the groceries put away and supper layered into the crockpot, with just enough time to take an hour’s nap before the 4 o’clock chores began. I have a hard time falling asleep, so I think maybe only 30 minutes of that counted. Will try to shoot for a nap again for tomorrow.

Coming off of barrel 2 tonight, Rick decided to keep the exact same lineup as last night. Spirit, Speirman, Vegas and Zorba, with the same two outriders, Rory and Dustin, riding Beau and Trixter. I give those boys credit, because it’s a job that takes a lot of talent with a very fit body to boot, especially if they have seven to nine rides in a night. Just as Rick had rolled into position, our lead man Rory was having a bit of a time trying to get a hold of the crosschecks of the two leaders to steady them in place for Rick. The lead horses kept backing up just a bit, refraining Rory from handling them and pointing them in the position to which Rick asked him. Then the horn blew. They started pretty good—Rick drove them around the barrels and came out right alongside Jason Glass on barrel 1. They were running neck and neck until the second turn, then our outfit started to fall back just a bit. Rick said Vegas didn’t run quite as fast as yesterday. Not sure why, but we managed to come out with a  1:18.68, good enough for 15th on the day.

We are sitting third overall in the standings after three nights of racing. If we manage to have a nice, fast, clean run tomorrow, we could find Team 23 vying for the win on Championship Sunday. Let’s cross our fingers and our toes that this will come to fruition!!! As I always say, it’s nice to get into the final dash of the meet, and a bonus to take home the win. Hope we can make Direct Horizontal, our sponsor, very proud this show.

DSC_7404[2] crop

DSC_7058[2] crop

Live to learn, and you will learn to live.

Family Visits

We had some family stop by last night. Just love to have the kids come by. They are so intrigued by the horses and totally love the suckers. Was a good visit while they were here.

DSC_7351[2] crop

DSC_7358[2] crop

DSC_7068[2] crop

DSC_7362[2] crop

I better get going, as I have to do a grocery run and then I’m aiming to get a bit of a nap in before afternoon chores!

Great things are done by people who think great thoughts and then go out into the world to make their dreams come true.