Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Night at the Amish Rodeo

Tonight was a particularly unique experience. I was a spectator at an authentic Amish rodeo!

My aunt and uncle live in a beautiful stone home nestled in woods that are surrounded by lots of countryside. Almost all of their neighbors are Amish, and my aunt--with her outgoing and cheery personality--has won the affection and trust of all of them!

So tonight we filled up 3 vehicles with my aunt and uncle's Amish friends, and together we all went to a rodeo held on the farm of yet another Amish neighbor.

We were some of the very few "English" people in attendance. We sat on wooden bleachers and cheered as men and women of all ages rode on horses to complete various tasks and challenges in the least amount of time possible.

The most fun competition to watch was the challenge of rounding up steer that had a particular number sewn onto their sides and getting them into a pen.

Three people on horses would charge at a pack of 24 steer (each bearing one number, 0 through 7). As the men and women on horseback charged, the emcee would call out the number that they had to round up.

In haste, the people would attempt to sort out and isolate the 3 steer with that specific number on their back and get them all into a holding pen WITHOUT getting any other numbered steer into the pen with them. It was a challenging process since often the steer first isolated would sneak back into the large pack while the people were attempting to round up the next steer.

Many of the contestants were young children, some probably as young as 8 years old. It was an amazing experience! But what I loved most about the night was the opportunity I had to really bond with a group of people I have always admired. :-)