As I type this is I am sitting with my children watching the Miss Reno Rodeo Horsemanship competition on my phone. Our kids eat, sleep, and breathe everything horse and rodeo related. It is a beautiful thing to watch our children’s love for the horse world grow and develop. We spend a lot of time on the Rodeo Road with our kids and we wouldn’t have it any other way. However, we have had some learning curves so we wanted to share some of the things we have found that make our trips more successful.
First, a little bit about our crew, the Star Bar R Rodeo team. We have Rhea (9), Rori (7), Roan (5) and Riot (1.5) Our two oldest girls are about as dedicated as they come. We haul them all over the west coast to barrel races and rodeos where they compete with the best. When we first started hauling to rodeos, a 3 hr drive used to be what we considered a long trip. Now, we routinely drive 5 or more and have several that are drastically longer. With 6 people crammed into a truck for these trips, we have learned to make the best of it. Here are some things we have figured out that hopefully will help your trips go more smoothly!
The number one thing that makes traveling with kids easier, snacks! Because we have entry fees up to wazoo, we make the majority of our own food to save money and keep our crew healthier. We take sandwiches, peanut butter and jelly wraps, muffins, carrot sticks, apples, bananas, etc. I have my Rodeo “GO” bag that I stalk with snacks and then lug to the truck that sits at my feet. Our children are bottomless pits so the more diverse snacks I can bring, the better.
Our kids bring books but mostly have their ipads. They aren’t just zombie watching on their tablets while we drive. They have reading apps so they aren’t carrying around a ton of books, math games, and other learning games and apps. This helps keep them engaged and learning at the same time. Now, as you can imagine, our children get sick of each other and cranky so we bring headphones for each of them to help out.
We set goals and talk strategy while driving. The drives actually help the kids get focused on the event ahead and tune out any other distractions.
I’ll admit…stopping unnecessarily with a trailer loaded with horses, a dog and 4 kids is not always on my exciting to do list but sometimes it is worth it. Our kids get to see many different states and unique areas of the west coast on our travels. Be open to the adventure and the possibility of a 5 minute stop opening up their curiosity and excitement!
Okay, this one is also a big one…We try to be very intentional of the timing of our trips. If possible, we try to leave early in the morning, like 2 or 3 am early. This way we can get some sleep, wake up, load sleepy kids in the truck and drive. This makes for a calmer, happier drive for everyone if a lot of it is done before dawn and when they wake up.
I am the first to admit that I’ve forgotten things, big things, like, oh….all of the food! It happens, you’re busy, tired, and multi tasking. So, I do everything I can to pre load the trailer and truck. If we are leaving at the wee hours of the morning, I try to be loaded up the afternoon before. Too many vivid memories of pitch black stumbling mornings leaving a trail of dropped items on the way to the trailer and cranky kids because the dog ate their sandwich when I dropped it.
Hope some of our tips help your Rodeo Road travels with kids a little easier…oh, and don’t forget the horses!
BY Ann-Marie Fenner