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 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.

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.

Calgary Stampede Wrap-up

I promised to write a final full wrap-up of Stampede. It was just way too late when we got in from congratulating the new 2015 winners and enjoying the company of Team 23’s Stampede participation. Monday was out of the question, as it was a packing, traveling and sleep day. Now that we are home and it’s Tuesday, I found a few minutes to write.

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So we celebrated our youngest child’s birthday. Cody turned 24 on Sunday. WOW!!! I will forever remember the day he was born, as he came a month premature. Cody was born only a few days after Grandpa Tommy Dorchester’s passing. He’s become a gentle giant at 6’5. He is just a bit big to sit on our knees anymore but we love to have him around just the same. He’s been a huge help in the box training horses with Rick. He’s going to be a great driver himself one day.

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Being at the Calgary Stampede, we always have folks drop by that we rarely see. Kim Nevada swung by for a hug and photo with Ricky. She’s beautiful inside and out and hasn’t changed a bit over the years. Her husband Jimmy used to outride with Rick and also drove a chuckwagon too. Another family, Alden and Natasha Harms, stopped by. What a surprise. Alden went to school with our kids but is just a few years older. My, how the years go by. Great to see them and their family.

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Rick’s looking for a new job in the fall so he thought he would try his hand at filming. Not sure how that went for him. There was no job offer after. He’ll keep looking.

Rick Fraser Team 23

Rick Fraser Team 23

We were very excited with our hook on Day 10 of the Stampede. Rick had Spirit on the Left Lead, Ranger on the Right Lead, Law on the Left Wheel and Keenan on the Right Wheel. Our outriders were Cole on Leaders riding Bingo and Rory throwing stove with Trixter.

Coming into barrel 1, I was nervous if they would stand with Keenan being a new horse and this would be his second race. They didn’t have to wait long and the horn blew. Off they went, Rick did a great job turning the figure 8 and they were gone! What a superb race, almost clinching a day money run, but we came in second on the day. We’ll take that! We were first in our heat by quite a bit. What a great way to finish off the Stampede and even better in front of our sponsors, Northwell Oilfield Hauling. A huge thank you to them for all their support. We couldn’t do it without them.

Rick and I and Team 23 made an emergency exit out of the Stampede grounds on Monday morning.

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We’re going incognito for a week to curl up and sleep some hours away during our few days off before we head to Bonnyville.

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In between my naps, I am tending to the laundry and the garden. It’s pretty dry here so not many weeds and the grass is rather brown.

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I must say, all in all, we enjoyed our 2015 Stampede. Team 23 was exceptional with all their work with the horses and all the barn chores. Couldn’t ask for anything better than that. This chick’s happy. Thanks to all of you for following along. Bonnyville is our next tour stop, beginning Thursday, July 23. I may blog a time or two before the show starts. Until then, howdy ho!

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

Calgary: Night Three (July 5)

Rick and I are so very fortunate to have a Team 23 barn crew like these kids for our 2015 Calgary Stampede. We may have a lot of helpers but they have come to work, play and keep the morale up each and every day.

They keep us entertained let me tell you. For some of them, I call them my other adopted kids.

From left to right in the photo below, we have Kaylee (our daughter), Candice, Kim, Chris (our son-in-law), Cayley, Mylene, Jesse, Allie, Alisha, Me, Harold (our farrier), Rick and Cody (our son).

Rick Fraser Team 23

Rick Fraser Team 23

Morning chores have been getting completed very quickly in the mornings. The crew is very efficient. This leaves everyone a bit more time to catch up on some much-needed sleep, or to run some errands or even to get some laundry washed and dried.

Today, our relative Brace and I took our yearly trip to the Roundup Centre to check out all the booths and look at all the art displays. Was it ever crowded down on the grounds! But then again, when is it not? After all, it is the Greatest Outdoor Show on earth.

I treated myself to a nice souvenir sweater and a belt from one of the booths on the grounds. I was also craving a twist ice cream cone and so I had one. I told myself I better enjoy it, as they charged $5 for it!!! Yikes! But we crazy people pay for treats such as this. What a killing they make on the food down there.

While walking through the venue, we came upon this little jigger behind the board. I couldn’t resist taking a picture to share with you. He made me smile.

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We had some guests pop by the barn before the races. First off, a little surprise from the Stampede Committee. They came and presented Rick with a beautiful halter for our horse Law. You see, Law won an equine award from last year’s stampede. They were just a little behind delivering it. But we will accept it just the same. Proud of that pony.

Rick Fraser Team 23


Our other guest was Dr. Shirley McClellan. Shirley told us stories of days gone by and how she followed the chuckwagon races, and still loves it today.

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Two of our Team 23 members slipped off the grounds to help out at a pancake breakfast. Kim and Candice went to the Sunwest Church to participate by giving kids rides on horses supplied by Camp Evergreen. What a feel-good story when you can make a child smile.

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Yesterday’s sponsor was Terra HDD Solutions. Scott and his clients were thrilled to watch the races from an infield suite, and then come back to the barns to meet and greet us. We like to give barn tours to give the people a sense of what it is we do and how we do it. A huge shout out to Terra HDD Solutions for the great sponsorship here at the Calgary Stampede.

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It was a cool evening for races. I think my husband may have even donned on his long underwear for tonight. I know he was cold and so was I. But I didn’t have any long johns. Boy, this weather has been from one extreme to another.

Our hook tonight was Spirit on Left Lead, Ranger on Right Lead, Air on Left Wheel and Zorba on Right Wheel. They sure started hard but not quite enough to get the rail position over competitor Evan. They were running okay but coming down the homestretch they just seemed to quit. They posted a 1:11.68, which gave us a position of 13 on the day and we are also sitting 13th on the three-day average.

We have one more race tomorrow coming off the 3 barrel. Then there will be a redraw to start all over at the different barrel positions. The name of the game is to stay clean and steady. Our goal is to be standing on that stage come Sunday evening.

Rick Fraser Team 23

Keep your head up. God gives his hardest battles to his strongest soldiers.