Sunday, September 25, 2011
Dawson Hillman, 12, and his brother Brody, 8, learned that it was no easy task to participate in their first pageant.
"I felt that well, this would be pretty fun. I'd just come out here and get ready and ride. Then, I realized [when] I got here that you have to do a lot of work," said Dawson.
Work that included training their mules and horses to be accustomed to the sound of gunshots and harnessing the horses to look like they belonged in the 1800's.
"I remember when I was their age reading history books," said the kids' father, Darren. "When you get out here and actually see what that means, what you're reading really let's the kids know and understand it was tough back then. This is what the country had to go through to get to where we're at today."
Thousands of spectators showed up during the weekend events. Many of them enjoyed seeing history unfold before their eyes. After years of reenacting the Medicine Lodge Indian Peace Treaty of 1867, organizers of the event said this could be the last.
"The biggest reason for the crowds is because they like it. They had to believe this might be the last one, which we hope it will not be. If we can do anything in our powers, it won't be," said Monty Rickard, participant from Medicine Lodge.
Seasoned participants and those who grew up seeing the pageant said the younger generation will have to step up to keep the pageant alive.
"I do understand how much work it takes to put it on. I can see that they would be needing and looking for younger people to relieve some of that work because this takes quite a lot of coordinating and work," said Darren.
Hard work that the Hillman kids said more people their age should appreciate.
"I don't see why you wouldn't be interested. This is how kids our age had to live. They didn't just have stuff handed to them. They had to actually work for what they wanted," said Dawson.
Spectators and participants will have to wait and see if there's enough interest to keep the reenactments alive.
"This western life is something that's got to be carried on before it dies out, because once it's gone, it's gone forever," said Rickard.
To learn more about the pageant, click here.