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The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

Kathy gets her gun

Writer Kathy Straach gets some tips on lassoing, by Alan Macher

As I looked over my meeting itinerary before heading to the French Lick Resort in French Lick, Ind., I noticed that a dinner at the resort’s stables suggested Western wear.

I’m a Texan, and I happen to own a Western shirt, so I packed it with my black jeans.
The evening of the event, I duded up and headed off to take the shuttle bus from the West Baden, one of two hotels at the resort.

I arrived early for the dinner at the Stables, the resort’s barn venue. The host complimented my attire and hinted that the evening’s activities would include a few predinner competitions.

Groan — I had to play shoot-‘em-up for my grub? Seriously? Wasn’t wearing a black shirt with embroidered roses across the back through the lobby of one of the most impressive historic hotels in the country enough to earn some beef and potato salad?

Apparently not. There was going to be a showdown at the OK Corral.

The event was set up outside the Stables. Our name tags included our group assignments. I was a “Maverick.” No surprise there.

Toy guns, cowboy hats, bandannas, badges and more were laid out so we could transform into our Western roles. Suddenly, fashion was at stake. I grabbed a hat and bandanna.

Each team competed in four events. The Mavericks’ first event was Lasso a Steer. We were shown how to hold the rope, sling the lasso overhead and attempt to land it on the fake steer. It’s harder than it looks, but after a couple of tries, I scored points for our team.

On to archery, where the Mavericks excelled, with most of us hitting the mark. This was starting to be fun.

The Cowboy Hat Toss was a complete washout for me, but one team member landed the hat on the wooden cactus with his first try. We cheered as our team added points to the scoreboard.

Our last event was Shootout With Annie Oakley. After donning holsters with cap guns, we took turns going back-to-back with a staff member and then pacing off three steps to see who turned and fired first. By this time, the Mavericks were determined to win. The final decision was a bit subjective, but with all our energy, the decision fell in our favor, and the Mavericks won.

The event was exhilarating. We felt like children, and we were bonded as a team. Even the other teams — the losers — had a good time.

Did we really have to turn in our costumes and eat dinner now?


Straach is a Florida-based writer who counts Small Market Meetings among her clients.