We knocked over the giant metal oil drums and rolled them to the edge of the pond. The once bright yellow and blue paint was cracked and peeling . Large ammounts of orange rust peered through, making them look like long forgotten cars in a heap of junk at the dump.
“Won’t they sink?” we questioned.
One of the wiser ones in our group of siblings spoke up, “Come on guys, they are empty and the air trapped inside will make them float just fine.”
“So, what are the rules? Are there any rules?” We looked at each other trying to decide.
“Anything is fair game except for hitting each other with the poles.”
We scavengered the nearby area for three large sticks that would work for poles. Then we gave the barrels a final push. The water gave way beneath them as they plumeted into the pond. We shrieked as we were showered with drops of filthy water.
Three of us mounted the barrels. The fourth stood on one side of the pond as the starter, and the fifth was on the other side to act as referee and to see who finished first.
The slippery barrels rolled beneath us as we dug our poles into the pond floor trying to keep our balance. No one was keen on falling into the murky water, heavy with goose droppings and other such unmentionable items.
“Ready, set, GO!”
We pushed on our poles hoping to shoot across the pond to win the race. Instead, poles stuck in the mud and we were left to wiggle and squirm trying to keep our balance as the barrels rolled and swayed beneath us. Giggles erupted as be began to develop the art of prodding ourselves along with out getting stuck. We were nearing the end of the race and two barrels wiere neck in neck, with one close behind, trying hard to catch up with out rolling into the water. Between the first to barrels a battle had begun.
A foot lashed out connecting fiercely with the side of the barrel, causing the end to swing out and the barrel turned. The unfortunate rider was left straddling the barrel, clenching his feet and legs desperately on each side of it to keep it from rolling and floating away. His arms were outstretched clutching his pole as he tried to regain control. Gradually he was able to pole his body and the barrel alongside the pole once more and, now in 3rd place, began a frantic pace to catch-up.
Meanwhile, Barrel #3 saw her opening as #2 was fighting for control and moved up swiftly behind barrel number one. With an eveil laugh she smashed into the side of barrel #1 and sent the barrel rolling so hard that the rider had no hope of staying on and sank beneath the mire. #2 crowed with delight as she saw her sibling resurface and plowed on to hit the finish line, but just before she did, #2 came back from behind, kicked her barrel and lunged in for the finish. Barrel #3 wasn’t about to land in the water, she was determined to at least hit ground. As her barrel rolled uncontrollably beneath her, she through her body towards the shore and hit, half in, halft out just after #2 cleared the finish line.
A laughing pack of 5 siblings stood laughing over their state.
“That was awesome!”
“It’s my turn to ride now.”
“I will ride.”
“You rode last time.”
“So did you.”
“How about if we use two barrels and team up – two per barrel and one can be the ref.”
And barrel racing was born.
What, you thought I was going to talk about THAT kind of barrel racing? Umm, nope, never done that.
*This account is as true as I can make it – we really did barrel race on the pond, though I can’t remember how an exact race went, I recreated one incorporating actual events from numerous races, and the possible conversation that went with it.