Take a Step Back in Time with Antietam Recreation's Old Fashioned Cowboy Christmas

Take a Step Back in Time with Antietam Recreation's Old Fashioned Cowboy Christmas
"The Christmas Miracle at Eagle Ridge"
by Jennifer LB Leese
j.leese@picketnews.com

The minute you arrive you feel like you're home. The 2007 Old-Fashioned Cowboy Christmas Dinner & Show debuted November 10 and performances will continue every Friday and Saturday, from 6pm to 9pm through January 5, 2008.
The parking lot was getting full, but with several spots still open. My children went straight for the pony rides (two beautiful horses), then off to the live nativity scene and petting zoo in the adjacent barn. There they were able to hold or pet rabbits, chickens, ducks, and goats. Also available was an Ambush Game, square dancing, old time photos, popcorn, hot coffee, and hot chocolate.
After that we walked the grounds to the hayride. With a ten-minute wait, we were on the ride in no time. A cowboy/former bounty hunter named Jim Harper, stood at the back of the wagon with a rifle (loaded with blanks) and he told us the story of his trying to protect the rest of his cattle from being stolen by his neighbor, Frank Morgan. We were taken to the town Eagle Ridge and got to experience and participate in Harper's fight with Morgan and his crew. The kids (and adults) loved it when Harper (Jim Hutson) handed out soft white cotton bags to throw at the alleged evil-doers.
Needlesstosay, the wagon ride was exceptional and seemed to be a big hit!
With about 20 minutes to spare, we headed behind the stage to roast marshmallows, and to visit the general store where handcrafted jewelry, crafts, paintings, handmade food such as peanut brittle and cookies, T-shirts, and Christmas ornaments lined the tables. My 11-year-old, and any child who wanted to try, was given the opportunity to lasso a bull.
While waiting to be served, I gazed around the pavilion, which is beautifully decorated with white-lit Christmas trees, candles, wreaths, a roaring fire, garland, ornaments, and much more.
Next, we found our seats and waited for the dinner to be served.
The family-style meal was served warm and tasted absolutely delicious. Everyone seemed to get a kick out of the dinner and show as a whole. The gorgeous decorations, period costumes, music, activities... Seeing the play, you wouldn't guess that the actors and actresses weren't off Broadway. They are well rehearsed with flawless singing voices.
The story kept you entertained the whole evening. This year's dinner show is all new with new characters and new musical numbers.
The musical play (Christmas Reborn) unfolds with music, dance, and song in a Western town of yesteryear, complete with horses, exciting fight sequences, a stirring romance between Bill Harper (Tim Rotz) and Rose Morgan (Ashley Siebeichen & Sheridan Webb), and an original script written by Susanna Allen that is both funny and heartwarming. The program is under the direction of Authentic Community Theater artistic director Nikki Perini who is assisted by actor and singer Tim Rotz. Washington County Schools Music Director Rob Hovermale produced the lyrics and music for the show.
The story "Christmas Reborn" is a sequel to Antietam Recreation's classic, "The Christmas Miracle at Eagle Ridge" that has run for 4 years. Crippled Little Billy has grown up and is traveling with Cowboy Andy and the Wild West Show in order to raise money for his beloved orphans. He is also pursuing rustlers in his hometown of Eagle Ridge. He just might be falling for the beautiful Rose Morgan, but their romance seems doomed due to a feud between the two families.
Jim Harper has long given up being a bounty hunter, is trying to make a living as a cattle rancher. But the rustlers threaten to destroy him, and the rest of the town. Sheriff Wilber (Dave Long) and his conniving wife Matilda (Janice Hose) produce humor that will have you in stitches. But the heart of the story is our newest child her - little Maggie Stewart (Leah Harrell and Johnna Stoup), an orphan who is square in the middle of the town's problems, and whose pure love puts her in the very center of danger. The true meaning of Christmas is demonstrated in an inspiring, heartwarming conclusion.
Every year, a special feature of the show is World Champion Roper Andy Rotz, who gets the audience going (and includes many on stage) with his implausible stunts, horse tricks, bullwhip cracking, trick roping, and knife throwing.
New this year is a cowgirl gymnast and dance act by the Shirk Sisters.
His performance was epic and professional. His horse, Idja, adds an exhilarating element to the show. Kids love it. Together they are fun and talented.
Andy Rotz is featured in the 2005 and 2008 Guinness Book of World Records for his Guinness Record of 11,123 (2008) Texas Skips.
Attending Antietam Recreation's Old-Fashioned Cowboy Christmas Dinner and Show is a definite memory-maker. The whole evening was perfect.
The Rotz family strives to provide wholesome Christian entertainment in an exciting environment - I think they've exceeded that and went beyond with this year's show.
Antietam Recreation is located at 9729 Garis Shop Road, Hagerstown. Visit www.antietamrecreation.com, email antietamrec@md.net or call 301-797-7999 for more information.
Reservations are required for the Old Fashioned Cowboy Christmas Dinner & Show and seats are limited. For a list of dates, information on the show, directions, and pictures, go to www.antietamrecreation.com or call 301-797-7999. Ticket prices for adults are $29.70, $27.50 for seniors 60 and over, and $19.80 for children 3-12. Group rates are available.