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 3 (August 2)

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends,

Happy Sunday! With a few more bodies in our camp, this means things are a little busier but a whole lot more fun. We have all three of our kids here, Amy, Kaylee and Cody, our grandson Coy, our son-in-law Chris, and Cody’s girlfriend Allie. Our good friend Paul is here too with his daughter Carrie and her daughter Anna. Oh, and I can’t forget my so-called adopted daughter Candice too. With all this crew around, my time in the barn pretty much becomes nil. They look after things really well.

This leaves me to tend to the meals. It’s worked out pretty good the last two days. I dug my heels in and used up all my food in the refrigerator and freezer. It’s amazing the things you can put together when you put your mind to it. Nobody complains and they go away with their tummies full. The work gets done so it’s a pretty good trade.

A DQ Treat

A DQ treat

On hot days such as the ones we’ve been having, Rick scooped up a few kids and snuck off to the local Dairy Queen for a nice cold treat. The kids loved it!

A Crappy Move

A crappy move

When things have to be done, no job is too big or to small. Just call the retired vac truck operator. I’m not quite sure if I would be trusting him to be going in the portable unit as he attempts to move it.

Fixin the Wagon

Fixin’ the wagon

As the first few heats are going, last-minute checks happen on the wagon. Just a good safety measure.

Tales on the Trail

Tales on the trail

And then there are always time for jokes, pranks, tales and laughter. Good for the Team 23 moral.

Coming off the 2 barrel tonight, Rick hooked the same outfit of Left Leader Spirit, Right Leader Spin, Left Wheel Keenin and Right Wheel Zorba. With Keenin being a newer horse, these runs are important for him. So far he’s doing pretty good but still needs some work. But from what Ricky says, “He’s gonna be a good one!” Some of the horses are like a good glass of wine…they get better with age.

4 Abreast

Four abreast

All four outfits were four abreast. Then Obrey started to make a move on the back stretch while on the rail. Rick said two wide where he was running was a bit heavy from the watering of the track. Kirk came along the outside and passed Rick to come second. Rick was third and Kurt was fourth. It was a pretty good wagon race.

The Outriders are in Line

The outriders are in line

Huntin him down

Huntin’ him down

Outriders Cole and Dustin didn’t miss a beat, riding Beau and Trixter.

A Happy Little Guy

A happy little guy

This young fella was pretty happy when he received the mini chuckwagon giveaway tonight after our race.

Tomorrow the races begin at 1pm. We will be departing from Strathmore for home immediately thereafter, stay the night at the Ranch and head for Dawson Creek in the morning on Tuesday.

When life changes to be harder, change yourself to be stronger.

Strathmore Heritage Days: Day 2 (August 1)

Howdy Chuckwagon Friends,

I woke up earlier this morning, put the coffee on and enjoyed the morning silence. A few folks are just getting going around the barns at this time. After the horses were fed their oats, Rick was out on the local tractor pushing up the manure into one big pile. The kids got going with the chores. Cody and his girlfriend Allie arrived in the wee hours of the morning. So we scheduled to hook an outfit during track time. Things went according to plan.

After I served my ham and egger breakfast buns, it was time for cleanup. Shortly after, our friend and chuckwagon historian stopped by. Doug is collecting video interviews from different folks along the trail. Doug interviewed me about life on the chuckwagon trail over the years and then also interviewed Rick. It’s fun to reminisce of days gone by.

An interview with historian Doug Nelson

An interview with historian Doug Nelson

The rest of the day was pretty relaxing until I found I was having some issues with my computer. Pop-up viruses, that is. A call went out and Ed Wittchen, our WPCA President, came to the rescue. He came on by and with the aid of a friend in Calgary they got working on my computer to clean it up and install some protection. I think we got  a good chunk of things figured out and I thank Ed a whole bunch for his help.

Canal Bridge Jumping

Canal bridge jumping

While I was dealing with that, the kids from Team 23 and other barn hands from the grounds headed out to the local cannal bridge for some jumpin’ fun! Yes, they were brave and jumped off into the water. They all came back, saying it was a blast. Oh, to be young and full of no fear again.

Helping Troy

Helping Troy

As the first few heats got underway, some from our crew helped cousin Troy prepare for his run.

Law peaking out

Law peeking out

As we prepared our horses for the evening races, Law stood patiently waiting.

The backstretch run

The backstretch run

Our hook tonight off the 1 barrel was Spirit on the Left Lead, Spin on the Right Lead, Keenan on the Left Wheel and Zorba the big grey on the Right Wheel. Cole rode Beau and Dustin rode Tixter. These boys did a great job!

When Rick came in and Cole went to grap the lines to put them straight, they went far over to the right. Rick was out of shape! The team was sucking to the right. When the horn blew, Ricky managed to drive the team around the barrels in a clean state. Our time gave us a 14 on the day. Pretty respectable. lucky mini chuckwagon recipiets

Happy little chuckwagon recipients

Happy little chuckwagon recipients

Yesterday and today, the happy and lucky little recipients came by to say thank you with the big smiles on their face. What a joy this is for me to see.

Sometimes we need someone to simply be there. Not to fix anything or to do anything in particular, but just to let us feel that we are cared for and supported.

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.