Battle of the Rockies: Day 5 (August 16)

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends,

Well, I never forgot you, I just plain didn’t do my blog yesterday. Races were early in the day at 2pm. Finishing up by 5-ish. We headed to the Broken Spoke Saloon for a delicious supper put on by the Rocky Committee, got back to the trailer about 7:30pm. Then my bed was calling me. Thought I would lie down for a few minutes. Turned out to be until the next morning! So sorry!!!


A very muddy chapeau

Doing a delivery

Doing a delivery

The Crew and all the Rocky fans woke up to a very cold morning. So much so you could see our breath, had our warm coats on and lit the campfire to keep warm.


Get ready, get set…



Despite the rain and mud on Saturday and the cold weather on Sunday morning, the afternoon races turned out to be pretty good. The sun came out to shine on all the competitors.




Rick’s last hook of the year was Spirit, Ranger, Speedy and Vegas, with outriders Cole and Rory finishing up with Mover and Mandalay. The start and charge was great. The top barrel turn was as close as you would want it without knocking it over. Ricky spun it. It weebled and wobbled but it didn’t fall down. Thank the Lord!!!


DSC_1055  DSC_1059

The finish was a crowd-pleaser as the 2015 world champion Kurt Bensmiller came charging hard at the finish. Only 6 one-hundredths behind Rick. We were really hoping to claim a day money but again came up a bit short as Doug Irvine, the new Rocky champion, snuck in ahead of us. Congratulations to Doug, Jimmy Lou and crew on a show well done.


Giving away the last mini chuckwagon of the season to an excited little fan


A happy dance parade


Final cheers on the way out


Taking a look at the top barrel tracks


After the dust settled, we took a second on the day. We were happy. The world standings put us in fourth overall for this season. Come next spring in Grande Prairie, we will be back in heat 9 with Kurt, Kirk and Obrey.

Once the races were completed, the kids performed for the crowd in the wild pony race. This little gal, at the ripe age of six, was the little roundup gal on her pretty pony. She sure was a cutie out there, doing her job.

The little round up gal

The little roundup gal

Chasing the minis

Chasing the minis

Before heading out to go home, we surprised Anna, our friend Paul’s granddaughter, with her very own horse. Was she surprised.

Anna and her new horse Bingo

Anna and her new horse Bingo

HUGS! To a new best friend

HUGS! To a new best friend

You see, Bingo was a wagon horse and an outriding horse. He has done us very well over the years. And there always comes a time when these special horses have to be retired. We gifted Bingo out to Anna and we know he will have a loving home for years to come. This is not the first horse that we have found a home for. There are many others out there enjoying a restful life out in the pasture. They deserve it.

Team 23 and all the ponies arrived home safe and sound early afternoon today. It was a good feeling to be here. I love to walk around in the yard and see how things have grown. Despite the dry weather, I have apples on my tree.

Glad to be home

Glad to be home

We will only be home for a few days, then we are heading down south just a short bit away to the WPCA Qualification Run Off in Bashaw. Our son Cody will be competing along with 12 other drivers. He is hoping to be one of the top six to join up on the tour in 2016.

I will keep you informed as to the outcome of the races down there.

Life is like a camera. Just focus on what’s important and capture the good times, develop from the negatives and if things don’t turn out, just take another shot.

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.

Battle of the Rockies: Day 3 (August 14)

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends,

Brrrr! The temperature was somewhat colder today than yesterday. OK! It was a lot colder. I had to put my sweater on this morning during the morning breakfast preparation.  We had some rain off and on throughout the later part of the afternoon.

The day before, Bruce had gone on a quad ride out west with some friends, and along his adventure he stopped and picked some wild blueberries. Oh, they were so good. We decided to add them to our morning pancakes and were they ever delicious with a little bit of syrup.

A few of us in our camp decided to head out and try to find a garage sale or two this afternoon. We found two and a few of us came out with a deal. We were disappointed we didn’t find more but that just means less stuff to pack home.

Coming into the barrels in the mud and rain

Coming into the barrels in the mud and rain


A muddy situation!


A muddy backstretch run

Late this afternoon, the clouds began to open up and the rains came down. I would have preferred to stay in my trailer with a good book and have a nap but that didn’t happen. There were horses to tend to for the races this evening.

Rick hooked Air on the Left Lead, Nickle on the Right Lead, Sneakers on the Left Wheel and Law on Right Wheel. When the horn sounded, they sure went. The Team didn’t quite make it to the finish line first but came in at a close fourth. Considering all the mud that transpired after the rain, it wasn’t  too bad of a run.

Cole and Rory rode Trixter and Andy and managed to complete the figure 8 and ride within the allotted time. No penalties! Thank you, boys!


Waiting for the outriders


Rory preparing his ride


Cole adjusting the cinch


A very muddy driver

I’m thinking a trip to the laundromat might be the order of the day tomorrow, with the looks of the driver. But maybe the car wash might be better. We can send the chuckwagon and the driver to the outrider fundraiser car wash at The Brick to get all cleaned up. What a brilliant idea!

Good things come to those who believe, better things come to those who are patient and the best things come to those who don’t give up.

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!

Battle of The Rockies: Day 1 (August 12)

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends,

Been a few days since Sunday’s blog. Bright and early on Monday morning, Team 23 arose quite early to get a good head start on the packing up and traveling south to the town of Rocky Mountain House.  It’s an approximately 647km drive. The traveling caravan departed around 8:30am Alberta time.

We got an hour down the road to the town of Rycroft and were forced to stop, as Rick’s big truck had an antifreeze hose leak. It had to be fixed. Thanks to one of our sponsors, Ken Drysdale and Midwest Pipeline, who was able to send a mechanic our way. While that was being repaired, the rest of our units continued on. We loaded up all the fencing equipment to take with us so we could have the corrals set up by the time Rick and ponies arrived.

Ken Drysdale and Midwest Pipeline Trucik Sponsor

Ken Drysdale and Midwest Pipeline truck sponsor

Vehicle Sponsore Midwest Pipeliine and Driving Foce! Thank you!!!

Vehicle sponsor Midwest Pipeline and Driving Force! Thank you!!!

Along the way somewhere by Whitecourt, our small bathroom window busted off the side of my home on wheels. Not sure why, but it’s nothing that a few hundred dollars won’t fix. Guess Ricky will just have to win a day money to pay for the repair. Go, horses, go!

The girls and I arrived into town at approximately 5:30pm. We set the pens up, filled the water tubs and had a bit of a breather, and then Rick arrived. It was nice for the horses to not have to wait to be unloaded. Full camp setup usually takes us approximately two hours. By the time it was dark, it was time for all our tired little bodies to head to bed and get some much-needed rest.

For me, this is one show that I truly do enjoy. I think more so because of the beauty of the layout here. The mountains are nearby, the river runs by the park, and there are so many evergreens and tall, tall trees. It feels like home.

The weather is beautiful here. Not sure what the long-range forecast is but I hope the sunshine holds for the week.

Handing Stadium Over

Handing Stadium over

Tonight’s hook on the first night of racing here in Rocky was Spirit on the Left Lead, Spin on the Right Lead, Sneakers on the Left Wheel and Law on the Right Wheel coming of the 1 barrel. We had Cole riding Trixter holding leaders and Rory on Stadium throwing the stove. What a superb turn to get the rail and win the race wire to wire!  We were thrilled to hear at the end of the evening, we maintained a second on the day. Our friend Chase Vigen captured day money! Good for him!!!

Chanse Vigen running for broke.

Chanse Vigen running for broke


A veteran driver at his best


Neway on the backstretch


How sweet it is to cross the finish line first!

While the races were on, Coy and buddy Derek were making some kind of potions under the infield grandstand. What imaginations kids have. Love those kids.


Buds! Coy and Derek


Gary Gross, our Rocky Mountain House chuckwagon announcer

Here in Rocky Mountain House we have Gary Gross, who hails from the Ponoka area, announcing our WPCA races. A great job he does.

When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.