Dateline: August 29th — Trail’s End (day one)

We decided to do something a little different this year.  WELCA wasn’t in a position to do much with us, so we went to St Albert instead.  The St Albert Kinsmen offered us their Rainmaker Rodeo Grounds, which worked out perfectly for us.

I don’t know how I wound up talking to Canadian Cowboy Challenge, but somehow I did.  And their challenge sounded like something I’d like Wild Pink Yonder to be involved with. They aren’t extreme. I like that. So away we went.

Saturday, August 29th, was CCC day for WPY.  There were competitors who came from all over Alberta and some even from Saskatchewan. The CCC people graciously allowed that our Wild Pink Yonder riders would be able to enter the classes too — though we weren’t in for the money, and we were pretty sure we wouldn’t be a threat either. (They compete for prize money and points.  Top points get to compete in the finals some time this fall.)

This is a neat event. If you’re into daredevil stuff, this is not for you … but if you’re into teaching your horse to trust you and learn about different obstacles you might encounter on the trail (or on the ranch), this is cool stuff. They are family friendly and have classes for everyone: youngsters, novices, younger adults (I think they are the “Buckin’ Crazies”), those over 40 (we’re called “Older Than Dirt”!!), pro division and “open”. Each division has different standards of difficulty and there is a time limit.  You’re given a 5 minute warning whistle, and at 6 minutes, you’re done. Judging is by certified CCC judges who are normally paid, but our most wonderful judge, Don, donated his time being as we are a breast cancer fundraiser. (Three cheers for Don!)

D-I-L, Raelene, was on the stop watch. Other D-I-L, Brandie, was on the music and was our official paramedic for the event. Son, Rusty, ran the gate and did odd jobs. Peavey Mart representative, Gord Hunter, looked after resetting obstacles.  And I got to be the announcer. We were a well-oiled machine.  Okay, maybe a slightly rusty one, but it was our “first rodeo” and we didn’t do badly.  We got ‘er done … and what fun it was to watch these people compete.  Rusty rolls his eyes, but I think this is something Rosie and I might take a kick at after a little practice at home.

There weren’t as many participants as CCC thought there might be, so we didn’t run as late in the day as we might have, but it was good and everybody seemed to enjoy themselves.

I can’t think of one of our trail riders who wouldn’t enjoy this kind of competition and camaraderie. I am seriously looking at Wild Pink Yonder hosting one of these a year … maybe two. Each could be a Pink-a-Palooza, or maybe “The Pinkest Little Cowboy Challenge in the West“!

While we were doing that, our inimitable Cookie (aka Carole DeSchover) was working on our Farewell Dinner.  It was to be under our big white tents, a little more upscale than meals on the trail, and to have a special guest from The Cross Cancer Institute.

Carole did a spectacular job on the dinner. Her pork tenderloin was out of this world, and all the trimmings were to die for. She even came up with fancy schmancy desserts!

The tents? Well, they were a bit more of a challenge.  My husband, David, and his son, Kevin, worked on that. Those tents are difficult at the best of times, but a decent wind came up late in the afternoon, so keeping them from going parasailing became a challenge. Eventually they didn’t put them up all the way, put sandbags on all the corners (both post corners and up in the canvas!), and brought all our large trailers over to use as windbreaks!  (Love the ingenuity and “get ‘er done” attitude of both my husband and Kevin.)

It was an intimate, if rustic, dinner setting, and the very personalized talk by oncologist and researcher Dr. Katia Tonkin from The Cross and the U of A, was well received.  In fact, everybody had thoughts and questions, and so I think we kept her, and husband, Andrew, too long!

As far as Wild Pink Yonder Farewell Dinners go, I think this was the best yet.  It certainly had the most significance to our cause and I think everyone came away appreciating it.

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