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A Wild West Family Adventure: Antietam Recreation Summer Showdown

A Wild West Family Adventure
Antietam Recreation Summer Showdown
by Mary Ellen Roelkey

Shouts of joy penetrated my ears as I stepped out of my vehicle. The sounds were coming from above me. I looked up. There to my left, gliding on a cable wire through the trees was a child expelling screams of excitement. An evening of adventure had begun.
So much to do so little time, we started with the Cowboy Chuck Wagon Dinner. We dined on a delicious buffet of fried chicken, baked beans, potato salad, applesauce, cornbread and a dessert of fresh fruit and ice cream. As we sat in the pavilion enjoying our meal, cowboy music wafted through the air. The staff, in cowboy/cowgirl garb, served and assisted the guest making the dining experience a delight.
We strolled through the outdoor facility taking in the various activities. First the cable ride, which hung high in the air, glided 125-feet along the cable through the treetops then back again. Children and adults alike descended with excitement and joy on their faces. Nine-year-old Amanda simply said "awesome" as her harness was loosened. Her younger sister 6-year-old Jenna said, "I want to do it again!" An older gentleman admittedly told us, "I am seventy years old and thoroughly enjoyed the ride". Afterwards a member of the staff reported, "The oldest person to take the ride so far was ninety-three [years old], a female, it was Mrs. Rotz (Grandma)."
The boating and creek activities were next, this included canoeing, a tow barge, rope walk, and kayaking. Also there is the boat slide; here you sit in a boat that slides down the incline splashing into the water and once you are sufficiently wet the boat is pulled back up to the top. Asking several staffers I was told, "The incline is about forty-feet long."
Centered between the swimming pool and the Western Town is the Carousel Ring Ride. As you sit on a seat the Carousel turns and with the momentum of speed you are soon swinging sideways in the air around and around. Also in this area, is where several children were taking turns riding a horse around the ring.
I watched a family with two girls enjoying the various activities and stopped at the pool to interview them. Melinda and Jeff Cruickshanks, residents of Hagerstown, were there with their daughters. The girls were kind enough to get out of the clear blue water, where they were having loads of fun, to talk with me.
Amanda told me, "The cable ride was really cool, I didn't expect it to be that fun, it was really cool and one of the best rides I have ever been on." She continued with this comment about the Boat Slide, "Really awesome, when I first saw it I thought it would be really, really cool. When I got on I was really scared especially when it jumped off into the water at the end and we got soaked. It was pretty fun."
"I liked the one when we went into the river and the big wave went over us. Sissy thinks that one was scary, but I liked that," Jenna excitedly informed me. "That was my favorite."
"The Carousel ride was my favorite, we went really high, it was so cool," Amanda interjected. "We went into the Western Town and got in the jail cell and Mom took a picture of us, we saw all the stores and stuff and we went over to pet the little Shetland pony."
I asked the girls if there was anything else they wanted to tell me. "Oh, I loved the fried chicken, I think the show will be really cool it sounds exciting and I am really looking forward to it," Amanda said.
As the sun lowered in the sky and dusk settled in, the roughly one hundred and thirty quests made their way to the Western Town and onto the bleacher seating to enjoy the show.
The authentic Western Town consisted of a livery stable, church, bank, jail, saloon, telegraph office, general store and hotel. This served as the back drop for the drama "Texas Rangers: True American Heroes".
The show began with an outstanding performance by Andy Rotz. Andy is a Roping Champion and is recorded in the 2005 Guinness Record Book for holding the record for the Texas Skip with 11,123 continuous skips.
Andy and his truly amazing horse, Elijah, dazzled us with their various tricks and rope skipping techniques. Elijah, just one of the several spectacular horses in the show, counted out his age with his hoof, bowed, and shook his head appropriately to yes or no questions. It was quiet a performance, but I will stop with that, I don't want to tell you everything. You must go and take part in this Wild West Adventure yourself.
The sky grew dark and stars sparkled over our heads on the warm mid-June night as the Wild West Family Adventure continued. The show gave us all that it promised--complete with fire and gunshots. The drama depicts an important part of American history; it celebrates the courage of all men and women who have died to buy our freedom. The stunts were thrilling, the fights exciting, the horses were spectacular, there was romance in the air and fast-paced action at every turn, and this was all due to the outstanding talent of the cast.
The show ended with Rob Rotz leading the cast singing "Proud to Be an American" while encouraging audience participation. This was truly a Wild West show like no other, in a fun, family-run Christian atmosphere!
Antietam Recreation is a local summer recreation center proudly owned by the Rotz family. Several of the cast members belong to the Rotz family. Jessica Rotz, the only sister, her brothers include Rob, Andy, Tim, and Billy. Their parents are Bob and Mary.
This Washington County wonder is south of Hagerstown on the edge of Funkstown. Travel back Garis Shop Road and you will find Antietam Recreation nestled off the mountain road.
This reporter thoroughly enjoyed the evening. You too can take the Wild West Adventure and see an authentic Western Town. Antietam Recreation hosts Wild West dinner shows thoroughout the summer on Saturday nights June 3-August 26. From 6-9:30pm. You will enjoy a dinner buffet, over 2 hours of camp activities (swimming, boating, cable ride, boat slide, and more!) plus the Wild West Show and a special pre-show by Champion Roper Andy Rotz.
Call 301-797-3733 for reservations. Antietam Recreation is located at 9745 Garis Shop Road, Hagerstown, Maryland.

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