Medicine Hat: Night Five (June 15)

It’s kind of chilly here in Medicine Hat. This morning I think it registered in the plus-5° range. I needed to put my hoodie on to keep warm outside.

Do you ever slowly wake up in the morning, and think…just five more minutes, then doze off again, wake up and do this a few more times? I was guilty of that this morning. Just didn’t want to get out of bed.

The team got busy doing the chores while I busied myself tiding the trailer for departure tomorrow. We hooked an outfit of the good ol’ boys to give them a blow. Evan Salmond jumped in to give Rick a hand as Cody had to go home yesterday. They were a little fresh and a little hard to hold, especially that grey, Zorba. All went well, though.

Once we finished that up, I had to zip into town to do a grocery run and pick up some feed for the ponies. Costco wasn’t very busy, thank goodness, so I was in and out fairly quickly. I got to go to the new location of the Co-op store just south of the city to pick up the beet pulp for the horses. Very nice, brand-new building.

Team 23 horse collar

chuckwagon outrider

Tonight we were in the ninth heat, just a little bit earlier. Rick decided to let Cole ride Stadium and throw stove. He did a super job. Chanse Vigen is a pro on Beau holding leaders.

Rick changed up his hook tonight just by changing out one horse. Air was on Left Lead, Ranger on Right Lead, Duba on Left Wheel and Friendly on Right Wheel.

Coming into barrel one, Duba was a handful to hold. They went just a bit ahead of the barrel and also failed to stop when the horn blew. We were assessed two seconds for wagon ahead of barrel, one second for failing to stop and one second for interference. The judges thought he went too wide into barrel two area. Rick’s wagon wheel just knocked the bottom of barrel two. Tough luck!

Rick Fraser chuckwagon

A HUGE thank you to Northwell Oilfield Hauling for sponsoring us here in the Hat and along the tour. They are the best!!!

In the final heat for the dash, Johnny Walters came out on top, coming off barrel one racing against Obrey Motowylo and Evan Salmond. Johnny wins some shiny new hardware for that run.

We are off and running early tomorrow morning to the sights of High River, Alberta, just a short three-hour drive. Hoping the weather treats us well there.

It is more useful to be aware of a single shortcoming in ourselves than it is to be aware of a thousand in somebody else.

Medicine Hat: Night Four (June 14)

I was very slow and sluggish this morning, as were a few others. The reason being is today is Allie’s birthday, so Team 23 and a few others decided to go out to the local Ralph’s Pub last night to celebrate her coming of 20! It was late when we arrived there, as we had to care for the horses and make sure they were all tucked away with their evening mash, fluffy straw and fresh water before heading on out. Rick and I two-stepped around the floor a few times and visited with some of the patrons. The kids were having lots of fun when Rick and I exited around 12:30. We had to get to bed for our early morning schedule.

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Chores took a bit longer this morning but we got them done in time for us to hook up an outfit for practice. The weather was cool most of the day and we even got a bit of rain. Nothing to worry about, as the ground is so dry here that it just soaks up any moisture. We’ve had such a mix of temperatures since we have been here. You just never know from one day to the next so you have to be prepared with all kinds of clothing.

After making the crew a yummy bacon and egger cheese bun, this chick had had it and snuck off to bed for a nap. But then I wasn’t the only one with that idea, as everyone else did too! This was all okay, as we had an early race day with the first heat running at 2:15. When this takes place it just mixes our daily routine around somewhat.

With 12 heats at this venue, we get all the horses that are going washed, brushed, wrapped and harnessed, and then we are able to scoot over to watch a few of the first races. Being in the 11th heat allows us to do this. It is really a treat, especially here in Medicine Hat, because we are parked right on the 3rd and 4th turn. At some of the tracks, we are too far away to see any of the races so are only able to listen on the Sirius Satellite Channel 80 live broadcast.

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Once again, Rick hooked Air on Left Lead, Ranger on Right Lead, Duba on Left Wheel and Ernie on Right Wheel. This time around Duba did not rear up, thank goodness. Coming off of barrel 1, the start was a bit slower than we would have liked. Layne on 2 and Kelly on 3 came out a bit ahead of us but we were still able to maintain the rail. It was tight, as Kelly was coming down on both Layne and Rick wanting to take the rail. At the finish line, our Team crossed first, giving us a time of 1:02.28, 11th on the day and 12th in the aggregate. Bingo and Stadium were twinned up with Chanse Vigen and Dustin Gorst today, and they all did their job perfectly. Two awesome outriders and two awesome outriding horses. Congratulations to Colt Cosgrave on a speedy day money run. After three days of racing we get re-seeded in a redraw tomorrow in a new heat.  The top three aggregate drivers, John Walters, Obrey Motowylo and Evan Salmond, have earned a spot in the final dash to vie for the Medicine Hat title.

We had the cutest little girl receive our mini chuckwagon giveaway today. We are thrilled when they come back to meet us. She was pretty shy but loved meeting Ace, one of our horses.

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Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.

Medicine Hat: Night Three (June 13)

Today was Saturday! One of the best days of the week. For one, it was farmers’ market at the hall next door. And two, garage sales were on the menu! I stocked up on fresh eggs and vegetables, and refrained from buying any sweet goodies. Then my friend Lucy and I headed out on the town to sniff out all the great deals at the garage sales. And deals we found! A few clothes, a brand new water hose for my trailer, a Star Wars costume for my grandson Coy, a purse, a few movies and a great deal of $40 on a Sirius Satellite radio so we can hear the races at the barn. Yippee!!

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The kids were very efficient today getting the afternoon chores done. Cody and Allie showed up last night for the weekend to help, and Kyle, a local friend, pitched in too. Just relieves me from the barn to cook some supper and head with Rick to a tailgate party to meet some folks and sign some posters. Life on the road with all the kids is never boring. They make us chuckle. Ohhhh to be kids again.

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While at the tailgate party, we got to meet the local royalty and have our photo taken together. Great gals! After the races we were greeted by our some of our favourite young ladies from Medicine Hat, some of Rick’s biggest fans, Kathalina and Juliana. Love their smiles. Tonight the little wagon Rick handed out was given to a grade 12 student named Brittany. She came back to the barn to say thank you. What a firm handshake that girl has. Rick was impressed and so was I.

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Tonight’s race off barrel 3 was interesting. Left Wheeler Duba was hard to hold. He wanted to go. As you can see, just as the horn sounded, he reared up. Air on Left Leader, Ranger on Right Leader, Duba on Left Wheeler and Ernie on Right Wheeler were the hook. Bingo and Stadium both went again, and Chanse rode Bingo and we had Cole go tonight on Stadium. Cole is a new outrider. We are working him into the Team and he’s doing great.

With Medicine Hat being a short track, if you don’t get out first you usually come in last. That’s how we ended up today but we still posted a 14th on the day. So we’ll take that.

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.

Medicine Hat: Night Two (June 12)

I tell you, there is never a dull moment around here. The day started out fairly cool, weather-wise. Rick fed the ponies and then headed out with cousin Troy Dorchester to pick up some hay bales from a local farmer. The girls got started with the chores in the barn. I took time for myself and went for my power walk/jog/stair climbing at the grand stand. I enjoyed it and really felt those stairs. I returned just in time to help hook an outfit for track time at 8. Some of the good ol’ boys needed to be blown out around the track. So what Rick does with this particular outfit is drive one trotting lap for a warm-up and then goes full speed for the second lap. He refrains from turning the barrels, as these guys know the routine.

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After we finished up at the barn and had breakfast, I snuck on over for a visit with my good friend Olana. We sure enjoyed our visit. We shared many stories, laughing, crying and reminiscing. Olana was a beautiful bride just one year ago. With so much to accomplish in a day, I rarely make time for these kinds of visits when on the road, yet I know I need to do this more often. I think this year I will make myself a promise to do just that.

Three hours later, I headed back to the trailer as some local friends of ours came to work on my trailer to tack the bottom cover back up on the belly of the trailer. I tell you, these trailers cost a few dollar bills; you would think they would be put together just a little bit better than they are. At any rate, Roger and Gina did an impressive job to repair the issues and we are so thankful to them for this. It saves us from hauling it in to the repair shop, which would be a real big hassle, especially when we live in it for three months of the summer.

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While they were working away, some other good friends dropped by. Norm and Bev Little swung by to say hello and stop for a visit in the sunshine. Norm is one of the guys behind Alberta Premium, so he dropped Rick and I off a few goodies for the road. Now I must tell you a story about Norm and Bev and how we got to know each other. It was back in 1990, I believe. We were at the Calgary Stampede and Rick was outriding. The girls were only one and three at the time. I would arrive at the stands with the girls in our mini chuckwagon used like a stroller. Grandma Joy Dorchester would be with us too. We would go a half hour earlier to get a seat. The kids were always so good. Norm and Bev happened to be there too and they commented how good the kids were. Bev loved the chuckwagons and this began our friendship. We kept in touch over the years as Norm always worked at the rodeos and Bev would want to stay around to watch us race. We have met so many great folks along our journey and I’m sure we will meet many more to come.

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Our visit got cut short as we noticed a storm brewing in the west. Kaylee, our daughter, confirmed this when she texted the weather radar for the Medicine Hat region to us. Yup, we were in for a good one. Team 23 raced to the barns to put the horses under cover, tuck things away, cover up the hay and then hide away in our trailers and hope for the best. No one expected this storm to be so severe. And severe it was, with rain, hail and high winds. While sitting in the trailer, at times we thought it might blow over. Thank goodness it did not. Our barn on the truck weathered the storm out, unlike many other barns of fellow competitors.

The storm maybe lasted an hour, and when it finally passed over we headed out to assess the damages. At least 15 or more of the barns on the grounds had been blown over, torn or somewhat damaged. Amongst all this, all the horses amazingly came through just fine. One hired hand from another camp got kicked while handling a horse and so was sent to the hospital for observation. From what I’ve heard, he’s going to be fine.

Through all this disaster, the WPCA and the Medicine Hat Stampede board felt it was viable to cancel the races for tonight and postpone them until Monday. So we will race tomorrow at 7:15pm, Sunday 2pm, and Monday at 7:15pm. So please tune in again on your Sirius XM channel 80 to hear the races live. And be sure to become a follower of my blog

Always believe that something wonderful is going to happen.  Even with all the ups and downs, never take a day for granted.

Cherish the little things and hug the ones you love.

Medicine Hat: Night One (June 11)

Show number three on the WPCA tour is underway. On Monday, our caravan of three units pulled out of the city of Saskatoon by 6:30am. We decided to pull an early one by rising at 4. Our plan to arrive in Medicine Hat by noon went as planned, but what we didn’t realize was the temperature that day in The Hat was in the 35 degrees range. Oh my goodness, even for a girl who likes heat it was HOT!

Nonetheless, we had to set up the pens, unload the horses, set up the barn and prepare the rest of the camp. Let me tell you, we took lots of breaks that day. Our evening was an early one, as we were all exhausted.

Tuesday was bit of a down day, although we did hook one set of horses in the morning. Once that was taken care of, it was time to head to the office in the back of my trailer do catch-up on the bills to be paid. The darn things follow me on the road too.

Wednesday was a time for me to take a break from the barns and hit the golf course. Not for just any old game—there was a tournament organized with some local businesses to bid on chuckwagon drivers to be on their team. Money was raised for humanitarian charity work, plus it was a great time to meet some new potential sponsors for the chuckwagons. As Rick does not golf, I got to represent him in the tournament. Richard from Rodeo Ford out of Medicine Hat purchased me to play on his team along with Derek and Grant. We had lots of laughs, a few beverages and many great shots that day. And, to our surprise, our team came out on top, each winning $875. I think that’s more than what Rick wins on any given day money! Well, almost!

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While today was a warm one as well, we had some little visitors stop by the barns to meet some of the drivers. The WPCA arranged for some of the local schools to come down and see just what it is we do and also get up close and personal with the horses as well. So many kids and so many questions. What a great idea to get the young interested, then go home to tell their parents and then have them come to the races. Many of the schools were given free tickets for the kids. Rick always does a great job handing out candy and signing posters for the wee ones.

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Tonight we also had some awesome visitors. About five years ago, we met Astrid and Jan from the Netherlands. They happened to be in Medicine Hat visiting some relatives. They came by the barns and we chatted them up about our lifestyle on the road. They went to the races and were hooked. They have come back to Canada with another couple, Stephan and Heidi, to show them the races live. It’s just not the same as seeing it on the internet. Fans for life! They loved it.

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As for the race tonight, by the time it was heat 11 it had cooled off somewhat. There are 12 heats here in Medicine Hat because there are only 3 chuckwagons to a heat. Here we are carrying the Northwell Oilfield Hauling Tarp, an excellent sponsor for a few years now. Rick was off the 2 barrel with the red shirts. Tonight Chance Vigen rode Bingo and Dustin Gorst rode Stadium. Those boys both did awesome jobs. The boys pulling the wagon were Air Afair – Left Leaders, Ranger – Right Leader, Duba – Left Wheeler and Ernie – Right Wheeler. These horses are the newer ones from the ranch. They will be going every night here, I think. The start at the horn wasn’t quite where Rick would have liked it, but they went. He turned with Kelly and Layne, and stayed right with Kelly two wide all the way around the track, coming in second just a horse-length behind. It gave us a 17th place on the day. Tomorrow we will use the track time at 8am to hook an outfit and give them a blow.

Promote what YOU LOVE instead of bashing what YOU HATE.