Horsin’ Around 9-20-10
Fort Collins, Colo.
The other evening, the church I attend had their Fall Bash ’10, (annual open house) and asked volunteers to help. It is quite an activity open to everyone who wanted to bring their kids and enjoy the fun. It started at 5:30 p.m. and ran until 8 p.m.
There was a little rain shower that came through and got everything wet about 4 o’clock and then cleared off but left it rather chilly the rest of the evening. Then the folks began to show up and we all got busy helping whit all the air filled jump and slide toys. There was a Horse Belly Bounce House for the kids to get in and jump, a Barrel Train for the kids to ride on, and an Equalizer, (whatever that was), and a Seismic Slope Slide.
What interested me was the Four Man Jousting Arena. This was an air inflated arena where two boys would stand on two inflated pedestals with air inflated battering rams and try to knock the other off. I tried that one last year until a girl knocked me off. Landing on the air inflated floor, it didn’t hurt but was embarrassing (of course my balance is far from what it used to be). I didn’t try it this year, however.
There was free food for all and door prizes, but the most exciting was when the pastors of the church stuck their heads through an opening and let everyone throw a pie at them. Afterwards, all the pastors of River of Life church were running around with whipped cream all over their faces and shoulders. That event got a lot of folks getting in on it.
However, the event I was most interested in was the paintball war. One of the members brought in a stack of wooden pallets and hay bales then set them up as cover to move up. They set a tire with a flag in the middle and the object was to obtain the flag in the middle. Someone had obtained a lot of paint ball guns, compressed air tanks, and face masks, as well as a number of boxes of paint balls for the event.
As I stood and watched, a number of young people paid $5 and got into the game. Then they divided into groups and started the battle. I wasn’t so sure I wanted to get in the game with all the young folks as paintball came along long after my youth. Most of my training had been with blank cartridges in the military. But the more I watched the more I became interested. Then when my daughter said she wanted to get in the game I said, “Well let’s go!” and paid for both of us.
However I really didn’t know what I was in for and some of the adults watching looked at me and asked if I was really going to do this. We chose sides and took our positions then came the voice of the judge to go. I found myself pinned down because everyone was shooting with full automatic and paint balls were like machine gun rounds all over. I was hit in the shoulder, leg and face with a ricochet off a solid wooden pallet. It was quite an experience; my daughter was wearing shorts and wound up with bruises on her legs and arms.
We both got in the game a second time and by now quite a few of the adult men got into the game. But this time I regrouped my training and moved up by lying flat on my stomach, where I don’t think anyone saw me because I was never hit and did get to unload on one figure who was trying to make a run to the flag.
It was a lot of fun and I would like to try it again, only with a little more of my training in use.
Prior to his retirement, Roger Thompson was a CHA certified instructor of advanced Western horsemanship and beginning English riding.