WRANGLING ON THE RANGE #25
I had a fine visit with my Dad in Kelowna B.C. The cherry
season was just underway, which was about 3 or 4 weeks late, they
also had a late Spring just as we had in here. I was able to
help him with lots of things. He is in very good health for being
89 in August. My visit was productive and the air flight there
and back was in sunny skies, it only takes about 50 minutes to
get there and 40 minutes to return as they have a tail wind
pushing them along.
Arriving back Thursday evening it was unpack and get ready
for the big day at the Ranch, as the summer camp for kids was
wrapping up its first week. A small camp to kick things off,
about 28 children. Friday is their big day as the parents come
out at noon and the show begins.
I brought Goldie in to barn "b" and started to get her
brushed down, and she needed it, patches of dirt here and there,
she must have been rolling in the dirt. But with a short time she
was clean and looking great.
Betty arrived, we said our usual greeting to each other, and
Paul also arrived. But it was time to keep moving on as within a
few minutes the kids arrived on the two school buses. Betty was
off to talk to them about the safety aspects of this day, and
Paul was leading Betty's staff to go over how the day would go
and who was to do what in the out-door arena, when the kids were
putting on their show for the parents. I would be as before the
"safety guy" which means I sit with Goldie watching for any
mishaps or problems anywhere in the arena.
So the day began. The children were off on their horses and
ponies down to the out-door arena to practice for their show in
the afternoon. I was getting ready, setting up, for my show at
noon. I bring out the Karaoke machine, the mike, the music stand,
and all the rest of my equipment, and set it all up in the picnic
area next to the Ranch restaurant.
Tom's and Bob's girlfriend both asked me if I was putting
my fancy silver saddle and bridal on Goldie. I told them I sure
was, it was her day to dress up and be like Trigger for a day. I
would dress up and be Roy Rogers for the afternoon. Most people
will comment on how they love my boots, fancy indeed, with my
large spurs that really do jingle-jangle, made especially that
way to produce the jingle-jangle sound. I was soon transformed
into a fancy dressed cowboy, complete with my double gun holster,
but with plastic guns. The laws in Canada are extremely tight,
real six-guns I would not be able to bring out to the Ranch.
Soon it was noon, the children were back, the parents had
arrived, all were inside the enclosed picnic area and starting to
eat their lunch.
"Howdy everyone," I said, and, "Welcome to the .......
Ranch and the summer camp for children, adding that sometimes
we get adults in the camp. I asked if all had had a great week, a loud
"yes" went up from the kids. I tell them how this young guy from
Ohio came out to California, got singing on the radio, found Bob Nolan
who was a Canadian, get some others like Hugh Farr on fiddle, Carl Farr
on lead guitar, people like Tim Spencer, Pat Brady, Lloyd Perryman,
Ken Carson, and soon there was 6 or 7 of them singing away, and
finally became known as the Sons of the Pioneers. I tell them how the
young guy who started it all went on to individual fame by the name of
Roy Rogers. Then I mention they can find all about Roy and his horse
Trigger, Dale Evans his wife, and the Pioneers, by going to the
RoyRogers. com Website (the Roy Rogers Museum is now closed).
It's time to press the button on the Karaoke machine and for
nearly 40 minutes I sing with the Pioneers, sometimes dominating
the singing, and sometimes adding a yodel where there is none, of
course I'm yodeling with the Pioneers when they yodel.
About 3/4 of the way through I stop the tape (I use tape
cassettes then I know there will be no skipping or other stuff
going wrong with a CD) and do half a dozen kids songs, like
"Mickey Mouse Club" - "The Yellow Submarine" - "If your Happy and
you Know it" - "She'll be Coming round the Mountain when she
Comes" and others. The kids will usually start to dance around
with these songs, I invite them to dance around.
To finish the show I'll go back to the Pioneers tape and the
last songs of Roy, Dale, and the Pioneers, finishing with the
long version of "Happy Trails."
Now it's time for the kids to mount up on their horses and
ponies and do a circle lap of the picnic area while the parents
take photos, then is's off to the out-door arena. The parents are
on an embankment at picnic tables outside looking in.
All went as smooth as we like to see it go, only about half
the number of horses and ponies as there will usually be starting
with the second camp this coming Monday. The kids do little
trotting races, relay races, in and out of pylons and around
large barrels. To finish the show each of the four groups
(ponies, novice, intermediate, and advance) will do their own
movement demonstrations, something like the Canadian Mounted
Police do, but not quite as complicated of course. They do lines,
zig-zag between each other, do inter-twining circles etc.
After the show we and the parents head back to the main barn
and then, with the staff and leaders helping, the kids and their
parents get to visit with their horses or ponies and give them a
treat of carrots or apples.
After visiting time, it is time for the very last activity
of the day, and that is the "Family Ride." The parents can have a
horse, the children get the horse or pony they rode all week
(they keep the same horse or pony for each day of the 5 day camp)
and the staff take them on what we have called the "Family Ride" -
about a 45 minute walk ride. The staff of out-riders, children
and parents have a good chit-chat all the way around on this
Goldie was still in her fancy and glorious looking tack. She
behaved super good at the arena today. She knows what she is
there for, to stand still while I keep a close eye on all the
kids, their horses and ponies, ready to jump into action if
something goes wrong. Over the last 4 years there has been but
two times I needed to fly across the area to help someone. Goldie
stands practically sleeping under the hot sun, but if I want to
move fast to help a situation, it only takes a split second and
she is fully awake and flying off where I need to be.
Goldie also leads the family ride and moving along a little
faster than at other times, she did not get bored, and went along
Everyone was safe and back at the main barn. The children
said a last goodbye to their horse or pony and the first summer
camp was over. The horses were turned out, including Goldie and I
said goodbye to Betty, Tom and Bob, and was heading home for the
Sabbath, a new week, of living on the Ranch for 6 days of the 7,
until the end of August.
The first camp was over, the second one is coming up.
To be continued