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.

Battle of the Rockies: Day 4 (August 15)

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends,

Well, I must confess. I slept in this morning. Right until 9am. I feel kind of guilty, mind you. I am usually an early riser and I like the quiet mornings. But when I went to bed last night I had my mind set that that was what was going to happen. It felt even better when I heard the rain falling on the trailer as I was in bed. It rained continuously throughout the night. I thought for sure that the races would be cancelled, but not so.  The rain let up later in the morning and never did break open again. There were plenty of dark clouds looming around all day and the temperatures were cool. But no more rain.


Can and bottle picking

While we’ve been here, I have been teaching Coy money lessons. We were at a store and Coy wanted a toy. We left there, telling Coy that if he wanted to buy any sort of toy he had to work for it. Coy was told he had to pick cans and bottles. And he did just that. The first go round bought him a little toy but now he wants to work even harder to earn that Avenger Lego kit. Good for Coy!

As the day was a slow, quiet one, once I got the Team 23 crew fed and watered I headed to town to pick up a few items for dinner. I got the list completed and then headed back to camp. There is never enough time in a day, as the afternoon chores were ready to be tackled and I began to cook the spaghetti and garlic toast for our supper meal.


Headin’ out of town


A bit behind on the first corner


Coming down the home stretch

Because we were on the 3 barrel tonight, Rick hooked Speedy on the Left Lead, Air on the Right Lead, Sneakers on the Left Wheel and Law on the Right Wheel. The outfit started but not enough to come near the rail! This made Rick take the outer route of three wide coming off the barrels but then he decided to pull and go to the rail when the coast was clear. It worked out fine in the end as he took the rail route on the fourth turn to speed ahead and take second of the heat. We posted an 8th on the day and ended up 12th in the show. Tomorrow there are no points awarded. We will all be just running for day money. It will be our last race of the season.



Our outriders Cole and Rory have done a great job for us these last few shows. Tonight they rode Mover and Andy.


A special moment

This shot of Cody was taken this evening by Kim, our crew member. Cody was holding the horse to be washed up for the evening. Baths are very important on these muddy days.


Time to relax by the fire

Once the work was all completed, some time was spent around the campfire enjoying the evening before we hit the hay.

Someday everything will make perfect sense. So, for now, laugh at the confusion, smile through the tears and keep reminding yourself that everything happens for a reason.

Dawson Creek Exhibition and Stampede: Day 3 (August 7)

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends,

I arose at an early 5:30am BC time this morning. I turned on the percolator, had my shower and got ready for the day. Cody fed oats, Rick had a sleep-in morning. We enjoyed a quiet morning at the barn. With making coffee in the trailer, we save a whopping $30 from the local Tim Hortons, as the guys usually show up with those fancy doughnuts too.

Not much excitement to report to you today. Amy and Coy and Kyle and Kiley Rae and their kids headed to the amusement park on the grounds to let the kids go on some rides.





Coy met up with Logan Gorst’s kids and they had fun on some of those fancy spinning, up and down rides. I did that last year, and I tell you my stomach was a little bit woozy afterwards. I’ll leave it for them to enjoy!

Before the races started, the crowd was treated to some kids wild pony racing. This is where three kids to a team hang on to a shank tied to the pony.







When the pony comes out of the chute, they try to control him and one of them tries to mount and ride the little hummer. The crowd loves to watch them. It’s a crowd thriller.

Cody was off the 3 barrel tonight. He hooked Speedy, Speirman, Vegas and one of Chad Harden’s horses. Cody had a good turn coming on to the track three wide.


The start of the horn


Headin’ to the track

On the second turn he pulled and tried to get to the rail but the wagon behind him caught up and was only able to go two wide.  A good race for experience.



It takes team work to get to the track and back, and we sure appreciate all the extra hands that help out here in Dawson Creek with all the extra work having two outfits going out.


Started hard…caught off guard!


Charging hard

Rick hooked Air on the Left Lead, Nickle on the Right Lead, Sneakers on the Left Wheel and Law on the Right Wheel.  We changed things up and put Trixter up front with Cole holding leaders and Andy went in behind with Rory throwing stove.

This was Trixter’s first time up front and I believe he did a pretty good job. When the horn sounded, they started!!! So much so you can see Rick was jolted back a bit. This is a good sign, when they start so hard. He was happy with that. We ended up with 11th on the day and 19th in the overall standings.

Whatever makes you feel bad, LEAVE IT! Whatever makes you smile, KEEP IT!

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.

Strathmore Heritage Days: Day 1 (July 31)

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends,

Friday has arrived. The end of a week for most, a race day for us. What a beautiful day it was, right from morning through until the evening. Very hot midday. Not sure of the highest temperature but I sure enjoyed it.

The horses are sure feeling good. When we let them out into their pens in the mornings and the afternoons,  they perform for us. They love to run, jump, and roll in the dirt.  Rolling is their way to scratch their backs. It feels good!!!

Finding the Perfect Place to Roll

Finding the perfect place to roll

Rollin Over for a back Scratch

Rollin’ over for a back scratch

Yee Hahhhh!

Yee hahhhh!

Our Team 23 loves to watch them do their thing. It makes us feel good knowing they are feeling good. Once they’ve had 10 to 15 minutes to do their thing, they start to settle down and eat the grass on the ground or the hay that we feed them. Some of them even will lie down for a rest.

Gettin Up......

Gettin’ up…

..........Takin Off!

…takin’ off…

and Running!

…and runnin’!

We love our grey named Zorba. He’s been with us a few years now. He’s just a powerhouse kind of horse. Loves to do his job as a wheeler, either side.





Our chores went smoothly, as the girls got at it. Rick wanted to hook an outfit, along with cousin Troy Dorchester and neighbour Mike Vigen. Here in Strathmore, we are all parked beside one another. So the drivers and everyone in their camps help each other out when it comes to morning hooks. It sure goes pretty smooth that way.

Due to the hot weather, there is always someone bound to play in the water.  And yes, Coy did just that.

Boots On

Boots on

Fillier up!

Fill ‘er up!

Both of Them!

Both of them!

Now 1! 2! 3! JUMP!!!

Now 1! 2! 3! JUMP!!!

He found the water hose and decided to have a little fun with it while Nana watched near by. Did I egg him on? You bet I did!!! That’s what Nana’s do.

After an enjoyable day in the heat, it was time to get at it. Day 1 of the Strathmore Heritage Day Races were just beginning. As there are four to a heat here, that means there are only nine heats in total. Rick was placed in the ninth heat, as he is sitting fourth in the world standings. Rick was hooked with Kurt Bensmiller on barrel 1, Kirk Sutherland on 2, Obrey Motowylo on 3 and Rick had 4.

Comin onto the track

Comin’ onto the track

Being on the short barrel, Rick decided to hook Air on the Right Lead, Speedy on the Left Lead, Sneakers on the Left Wheel and Law on the Right Wheel.

Team 23

Team 23

The ponies were feeling great. The horn blew and away all four outfits went. Kurt got the rail, Kirk went alongside him. Obrey pulled in behind and Ricky turned out alongside Kirk. When they came around the second turn, Team 23 was starting to make a move. They were a horse length ahead and not slowing down!

2nd Turn Challenge

Second turn challenge

What a performance all the way around. Coming down the homestretch, Rick had the others headed by two horse lengths. We all did a little celebration dance because it’s HUGE when an outfit runs three wide against his competitors and manages to win the race.

3rd turn

Third turn

Outriders headin to the race

Outriders headin’ to the race

When the dust settled, our running time was a 1:15.55, which was good enough for 12th on the day. Gary Gorst happily accepted Day Money with a posted time of 1:14.31. We’ll call him speedy!

Wonderful Sponsor Terra HDD

Wonderful sponsor Terra HDD

Looking forward to another warm day tomorrow. We may even take in the parade! Well, okay, maybe not Rick. But I’m sure Coy would like to go on a date.

Promote what you love, instead of bashing what you hate.