By Jane Van Berkum on July 13th, 2010
The Peanut Butter Jelly Ride is a great event here at Rainbow Trout Ranch. This ride is the all day horseback ride for the cowpokes, who are ages 6-11. When the clock strikes 10am, I hear the eager voices of the children running down the mountain from the lodge to the stables. As the cowpoke counselor directs them to the restroom, they catch a glimpse of the horses in the corner of their eyes and scream for joy. I then helped them up on their faithful steeds and we were off to the dusty arena to do some barrels, poles, and team penning. The kids did great at the barrels and poles but when it came to team penning, they were thrilled to actually be able to move cattle and direct them where to go. This is a great way to build team work with the kids and teach them how to take on certain roles within a job. As the kids were giving it there all to get the steers into the small, green pen, the cowpoke counselor and I cheered them on and gave them a few tips that would assist them to be successful. Once the kids finally got the hang of getting the steer into the pen, the cowpoke counselor challenged their skills by giving them specific steers to pen and certain steers to keep out. After a while, the kids were ready to depart to the trails.
As we were making our way through the meadows of Rainbow Trout Ranch and heading into the woods, the kids organized a sing along time. They sang various songs ranging from “Replay” by Iyaz to Taylor Swift’s “You Belong with Me.” This was a surprise to me because when I was a kid, we sang songs such as “Row Your Boat” or “Blow the Man Down.” We began to head uphill in the mountainous terrain, so we decided to do some quality loping on the Logging Road on our way to the gorgeous, green meadow, also known as Overnight Meadow. This was an exhilarating moment for the kids. They were asking me since the first minute they were on their horses when they were allowed to go fast, and this was it. After getting into a single file line and shortening our reins, we began various lopes through the mountain and through meadows. This was no doubt one of the kids’ favorite part about the Peanut Butter Jelly Ride. We then drew closer to Overnight and there was the fort, awaiting our arrival. We dismounted and unpacked our lunches. Right then and there, we dug our teeth into the delectable peanut butter and jelly sandwich, along with chips, fruit, and apple/grape juice. We sat in the nice cool shade as we feasted and one kid broke out in a song singing, “Peanut Butter Jelly Time.” Some kids explored the giant fort while others sat and played a game called Tarzan. This game was new to me and it turned out it was quite fun. People sit in a circle and slap each other’s hands while singing a song about Tarzan. Whoever’s hand was hit last by the time the song was over, that person had to leave the circle. Whoever survived the longest won the game.
One of the traditions of the Peanut Butter Jelly Ride is to play a bloody good game of capture the flag in Overnight Meadow. We divided into two fair and determined teams, discussed our strategy, and hid our red bandana we used as flags. “And let the game begin!” I yelled as I was running at a full sprint towards their territory. The kids scattered and search for the flags begun. We played three games and the final score was my team had two wins and the other team had one win. We were victorious and felt and looked like champions. My team ran towards the horses singing “We are the Champions” by Queen.
After the intense game of capture the flag, it was time to mount up and head on home. On our way back through the wilderness, we played a game while on horseback called “The Stick Game.” The object of this game was to pass a stick on from the front of the ride to the back without dropping the stick. We had to pass the stick by placing it on trees or bushes. We started off easy in order for everyone to get the hang of it and progressed to a much harder version of the game. The person who drops the stick was required to sing a song of their choice in front of everyone. Unfortunately, everyone did so well that nobody had to sing! I didn’t realize I was riding with a talented group of kids. But after a few lopes and a few attention-grabbing songs, we arrived to Thompson’s pasture and headed back to the barn. This was the end of the road for the Peanut Butter Jelly Ride. As we made our way up to the barn from the bridge, there were all the wranglers waiting to help all the kids down and drive them back up to the lodge.
This event at the Ranch is definitely worthwhile for the kids to experience. It builds the community within the kids and really shows them a good time. There has been, in the past, a few adults to accompany us on the Peanut Butter Jelly Ride because it is such a great time! This is a trip of a lifetime and is looked forward to every week by the kids, counselors, wranglers, and adults!