If you grew up in a Christian household of almost any denomination, you probably have fond memories of Vacation Bible School.
Well, just imagine if you’d done that while learning the skills of horsemanship, and caring for your animal as well as reading scriptures, praying The Lord’s prayer and discussing what it means to be a Christian.
At Kary McNeill’s Rodeo Kids Camp that’s exactly the deal, and the kids we talked to there say they love it.
“We start the day off reading scripture − John 14:16 is one of my favorite,” McNeill said.
That verse reads: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
He continues, “Then we pray The Lord’s Prayer and discuss Western and family values and how central Christianity is to all of that. Then we discuss safety and get going that way, and come out and get into the horsemanship side of things.
“What we’re trying to do is help reinforce whatever the kids are being taught in their homes and churches – and we don’t put an emphasis on a denomination. I’m LDS, Mormon, but some of my best friends are Church of Christ, Baptist, Methodist, you name it. As long as their church has Christ at its center, kids will feel comfortable here. And if they don’t already have that, maybe we can help them find it. I think it’s the most important thing in life, no matter the denomination.”
A typical day starts at around 9 a.m. as was explained, followed by horsemanship – activities vary by rider level from beginner to advanced – then lunch, which is included.
After that, there’s dummy roping to give the horses a break, then some kind of riding activity such as a trail ride or whatever the kids are interested in.
Some kids are day campers and go home after that, but others are boarder campers who may stay for a few weeks and do some roping in the evenings.
We talked to eight-year-old Carson Rabb outside the barn as McNeill was sitting on the stoop admiring his belt buckle.
“I’ve won 11 buckles so far. I really like riding my horse, but I want to ride bulls when I get older, too,” he said.
Upcoming camps are June 27-30, July 11-14, July 18-21, and July 25-28.
Rodeo Kids Camp is located on 95 acres directly across the road from the Roller Rink at 315 FM Rd. 2303. Just look for the big, iron “Reined Rope Horse” gate. For more information, visit the website at rodeokidscamp.com or call 254-592-7860.