Happy Father’s Day!
Chuckwagon racing is a family sport. The bloodlines run deep and each and every driver couldn’t do it without the support of their family. Any driver will tell you that one of the best things about chuckwagon racing, besides working with the horses and the people we meet, is the lifestyle it provides. It allows for family members to work alongside one another throughout the year, creating precious memories.
I have always been grateful to the sport for the memories it has given us as a family: trips to the dinosaur museum in Drumheller, fun times at the waterpark in West Edmonton Mall, the kids decorating the holiday trailer when their dad had won his first of three Safe Driver awards in Calgary, everyday occurrences like working in the barn together, being their for one another when things don’t go as planned and the list goes on.
When I asked the kids, what is their favourite memory of their dad here is what they said:
Kiera: An older memory was when just Dad and I did the roller coaster together at Knotts Berry Farm; I was pretty young. Dad and I made fun of Dayton and mom for not coming and laughed the whole ride. Another favourite memory was when we went fishing and camping in the fall at Priest Lake. More recently was when I had Kase. Mom and Dad both raced to the hospital and I was excited for them to meet him. After mom held him and brought us food, Dad kissed me on the forehead as he was leaving and said, “I am so proud of you honey.” When Della was born Dad and Kase stopped and picked out flowers before arriving at the hospital. I always enjoy my phone calls with dad and going for lunch together when we can. Kase told me his favourite thing to do with Grandpa is train the boys, chuckwagon race and get chicken nuggets.
Dayton: Dad and I went to Hawaii on a boy’s trip for my 16th birthday. We were pretty excited to go to Makapu, our favourite beach, on one of our first days. We went out there to body board and it was December, which is peak wave season. We had all new gear, new boards and everything ready to crush it. We lasted about 20 minutes max. in the water and dad got rolled into the sand in a big wave and hurt himself and I almost drowned. We went back to the hotel after and slept for awhile. We didn’t body board much after that, but we did gain a whole new respect for the ocean.
For Mark’s entire life he has celebrated Father’s Day on the chuckwagon trail. Every year until last he had spent it working alongside his dad Kelly. There are a lot of great memories: racing against each other, spring training together and many late-night suppers after the races! Mark’s favourite memory with his dad was when Mark raced in the $100,000 final dash, for the first time, at the Calgary Stampede. When Mark got back to the barn after losing the race Kelly said to him, “It’s just another race. No big deal. Just make it again next year and win it.” Mark always appreciates his dad’s perspective and support.
This year it is a bit different. Kelly and Mark had to celebrate by phone, Dayton is racing up in Grande Prairie and Kiera, Trent and the grandkids were unable to make it to Medicine Hat. The times have changed.
I saw a picture of Kelly on Facebook this morning cooking his breakfast and it made me think of how many Father’s Day breakfasts we had in the holiday trailer at Medicine Hat. It made me think of Dayton’s first trip as an outrider behind his dad on Father’s Day. It made me think of how fortunate we were to have so many years of racing together. Even though this year is a bit quieter we will still celebrate with great racing, a team supper and probably a Facetime call with the grandkids.