Camping Weekend 2016: Ranger Polo!


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Our 2016 Danson camping weekend coincided with the 11th anniversary of Grandma’s death. How fitting to gather at Mary’s Landing, seeing she inspired this annual get together. We’ve obviously aged since last year – Edna turned 100 and my youngest first cousin turned 30 – and we’ve had some tragedies. My first cousin Becky passed away in March at the age of 36, and several others have dealt with significant health issues, including cancer. As if we needed to be reminded, we had many good reasons to gather and be grateful for family.

Chemo treatments be damned, Russ and Sue hosted us all once again. Everyone cheered with zeal on Saturday when Sue was crowned as our Queen for a Day (a tradition started last year). In addition to novelty gifts, which included a picture of her hunky husband on a tractor (who needs Photoshop when you can cut and paste), Andrea gave her a beautiful hand-stitched “What Cancer Can’t Do!” quilt. This wasn’t the only quilt Andrea made to honor family members. As part of a nation-wide effort to provide quilts for military veterans, she also presented homemade military-themed quilts to my dad, Russ and Terry.

Saturday afternoon games included a poker run and a mingle-style cornhole (aka bean bag toss) tournament. Our featured Polaris Ranger ATV event this year was Ranger Polo, a game we made up thanks to the idea from Joe. If you’re looking for fun Ranger games, see below for more details. Believe me, this one led to some serious turf shredding that sent spectators diving for cover.

As usual, a favorite part of the camping weekend was two nights around a blissful campfire catching up with each other. And to cap off all these great memories, we’ve since received wonderful news that Sue’s latest test results showed no signs of active cancer. Hooray! Long live the queen!

See below for game details (if you’re looking for fun family reunion games)

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Cornhole Tournament: Each contestant played five games, each with a different partner, and posted their final game scores on the score sheet. We played to 15 points rather than the usual 21. Highest overall scores won fabulous prizes. Congratulations to Theresa for winning first place, and to my parents, who tied for second place.

Poker Run: We placed individual playing cards into sealed envelopes and grouped them into five stacks. The envelopes were numbered for the corresponding stack and then placed into a card station (a plastic jug) located someplace on the farm, as identified on a map. Participants had to walk or ride the trails to collect one card from each station. After all participants collected their five-card hands we added them up. Sue collected three queens, plus she was Queen for a Day, and we easily decided that four queens was the winning hand.

Ranger Polo: It seemed too dangerous to have two Polaris Rangers race head-on for the same ball (like the real game of polo), so we came up with rules where two teams would each have their own ball and goal. The head-to-head challenge was to see which team could score the most goals in a set amount of time, and the winner of the heat moved on to the next bracket. We played the game in a large pasture and used homemade bike polo mallets (great YouTube video from legit bike polo) and kids soft play balls, the latter of which surprisingly survived a few run-overs by the Rangers (players were warned they would be immediately disqualified if they broke the ball). For the final heats, instead of timing them, the first team to score three goals won the heat. This tweak to the rules definitely amped up the competitive stress. If we play this game again, we’d probably go with the three-goal rule for the entire event.

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