A Taste of Tradition

Submitted by Carol D.

For some, like me, born in the country and living in a large City all of my adult life the opportunity to return to my country roots whenever I can is great. I always say that the further I can stay away from cities when I am on vacation the better I like it. That is certainly the attraction to BLM lands when wintering south. (Wish we had more of that here in southern Alberta).

But when home in Alberta I have discovered that there are opportunities to enjoy “country” plus enjoy some great entertainment while doing so.

One annual event takes place in the little town of Stavely – (between Nanton and Claresholm) – each summer. The Willow Creek Cowboy Gathering is a whole weekend of great music and cowboy poetry in mid-June. The event is in the Arena. The dirt floor provides excellent acoustics. You can bring your own chair to enjoy 12 hours of entertainment Friday and Saturday and if that is not enough than adjourn to the nightly campfire jam session! Free dry camping is available around the Arena – or you can stay at the nearby town campground with hookups.

Entertainers come from near and far but some of my favorites are local talent like local rancher Charlie Ewing who is an excellent musician. He writes a lot of his own material.

Check the internet at www.wccowboygathering.com for the 2017 dates.

I am a fan of Chuck wagon Racing. A great up close and personal opportunity takes place in Rocky Mountain House each August when all the big guns race for the end of the season awards. It is called the Battle of the Rockies and you can still enjoy the event for 2016 as it immediately before our August Rally in Lethbridge. (It is just a delightful drive down the Cowboy Trail between the two events!)

2016 dates are August 18 – 21 to enjoy nine heats nightly with all the top wagons racing so close you can see their eyes. Only drawback is there is no instant replay! You buy tickets nightly but the dry camping right on site is free. Plan to arrive early as it gets crowded!

The Blog needs You!

Lots of people who didn’t make it to an event or did and want to relive the fun come to our site to see pictures of old friends and read about fun times. In order for this to happen, we need pictures and writeups that can be posted. Please help by sending info to John B. after every event. 

We also are pleased as punch when we receive general posts or updates from members lives. Carol’s write-up last year about Death Valley was very popular. Again, please help by sending info to John B. so he can post it and make you a well read writer.

Man visiting Usery Park in Mesa dies after being swarmed by bees

Thanks to Carol Davis for this cautionary story.

MESA, Ariz. — Authorities say a man visiting from Louisiana has died after being stung by bees more than 1,000 times while hiking in a Phoenix-area park.

The woman was able to escape and ran for help.

Park employees say Bestler was lying on the ground covered by hundreds of bees.

Emergency crews arrived and were able to load Bestler onto a utility vehicle and remove him from the scene, still covered in bees and the swarm following them.

Firefighters told CBS Phoenix affiliate KPHO-TV the 51-year-old had respiratory distress and numerous welts from the attack.

Bestler was taken to a hospital, where authorities say he later died.

Lunch at Sylvan Lake

Gerry and I had a great time at yesterday’s lunch and really enjoyed seeing so many familiar faces. 29 members enjoyed lunch at Blondies in Sylvan Lake thanks to Hosts Gord and Elaine McKenzie.

Lots of visiting, as usual! Sharing winter travels, planning for the upcoming rallies, swapping stories.

Thanks again to Elaine & Gord who chose Blondie’s — great food. In fact, we didn’t even need supper last night. 🙂

Click on any photo to see a larger view or to start a slide show.


Mesa Rally 2016 – End of the Road?

Is this the last Mesa Rally for Chapter 44? See story & pics below


29 Escapees gathered at Usery Mountain Regional Park just north of Mesa, Arizona from Sunday, March 13th through Friday, March 18th, 2016 for the 19th Mesa Rally. The Park is ideally situated just a few miles north of Mesa and it is truly a beautiful desert place. Every type of fauna found in Arizona apparently grows here!

Our group included: 14 Canadian Members; 10 US Members; and 5 US guests. Included in the Canadian count are the eight “Mesa Winter Residents” who come out for day trips.

Five new members joined during this Rally. We are pleased to welcome into Alberta Roamers Karen and Richard Offutt, Fraser and Bonnie Armstrong and Sandy Bianchini.

Because registrations were down this year we cancelled one half of the site we had reserved at the Park but we fit 11 rigs quite nicely into the “A” section. Several of our “regulars” from other years were unable to attend due to health and family issues.

As always we enjoyed lots of good food, conversation, laughs, campfires and comradery. Kay and Tony prepared a wonderful spaghetti dinner on Monday evening for all to enjoy. Tuesday evening pot luck was a great feast as was Wednesdays Finger Food Buffet. On Thursday we enjoyed lunch at Organ Stop Pizza while we listened to the great music played by Charlie B. on the famous Wurlitzer organ – the largest in the world with its 6,000 pipes; 50 miles of wiring; weighs 30 tons; 276 keys to play; over 1000 buttons and switches; largest pipe is 36 feet high; would take 90 minutes to go through all the sounds it can play; worth $5 million! And it’s in a Pizza Joint! Only in America you say!

Other activities included the Great Battle of the Sexes (sometimes called Bean Bag Baseball!) The Ladies squeaked out another win!

Lots of valuable stuff changed hands during the White Elephant Gift Exchange. Games were played, Craft ideas exchanged, RV problems solved, and new friends made. As always the week ended Friday morning with a great Hitch up Breakfast thanks to John and his crew. Thanks to Karen, Fraser and John our photographers. Lots of pics for the memory books.

Since no one came forward to host a 2017 Rally the site has not been reserved and this may be the last Rally we hold in Mesa. All good things must end. I enjoyed being the “Co-ordinator” for this “No Host Rally” and wish everyone safe travels down the road till we meet again!

Carol Davis

Click on any photo to see a larger view or to start a slide show.