Cowpoke Camp drew several kids

The first ever Cowpoke Camp held at the Boot Hill Museum on Saturday was a bigger hit than any of the Boot Hill staff members were expecting, according to the museum marketing manager, Laura Tawater.

Nearly 75 kids attended the camp on Saturday. Though the camp yielded an enormous turnout, there were no intentions to raise money or benefit the museum but to enhance the children’s experience in learning about the old western ways.

“Our turnout was greater than we thought. There were even walk-ins on the day of registration, people were coming in and trying to get their kids in,” said Tawater. “It was only $10 a camper, and it included their T-shirts and their badge and things like that, so the registration fee pretty much paid for the stuff they got. This camp was more for the kiddos.”

The camp was held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. There were six 30-minute stations throughout the museum for the kids to explore.

“The kids came in and got a bag with their cowpoke shirt, a badge with their name on it and different colored bandanas — they would put on their badge and bandanas and it would kind of tell us what group they were in,” said Tawater. “We had a storyteller that came out from Topeka, then we had Sky Shivers showing the kids how to make rope, so he did a rope demonstration. The Marshall, Brent, did a chuck wagon demonstration and talked about the history of the chuck wagon with the kiddos. Another guy came out and did rope lessons for the kids, we had little calf dummies out and then he taught the kids one-by-one on how to rope a calf.”

Other stations included a horse in which the kids learned about horse hearts and a demonstration on musical instruments by saloon entertainer Jeff Adams.

Additionally, the kids were deputized, then watched a gun fight at noon followed by lunch provided by the camp sponsor, McDonalds.

“The kids really enjoyed it,” said Tawater. “When you ask the kids what their favorite part of the camp was, it was the gunfight. The kids all loved the gunfight, and our gunfighters put on a really good show knowing that the kids were going to be there.

The day wrapped up with ice cream sandwiches followed by dance lessons from Miss Kitty and her can-can dancers.

“At the end of the day after the parents picked up the kids, they were doing temporary tattoos in the saloon,” Tawater said. “Some of the families ended up sticking around for a bit and walked through the museum.”

After such a successful camp, Tawater stated that they fully intend on holding this camp next year with some additional activities.

“We would like to do this every year,” she said. “We had more kids than expected, so we think if we do it every year it will just keep growing to different things every year.”

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