Children's International Arts Festival
Sarah Wickenhauser, age 11, won a week for her family at
Western Pleasure Guest Ranch in Sandpoint, Idaho
|| Photos: Sarah's Visit to Western Pleasure Guest Ranch
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
California girl, 11, wins a weeklong dude ranch vacation in Sandpoint, Idaho
One of Four Dude Ranch Vacations Awarded in Online Festival
Sandpoint, Idaho Sept. 30, 2008 -- An 11-year-old girl’s art work allowed her the opportunity to spend a week with her family at the Western Pleasure Guest Ranch in Sandpoint, Idaho. Sarah Wickenhauser of Greeley Hill, California, was one of four U.S. children who won dude ranch vacations from the Children’s International Arts Festival.
Sarah and her family rode daily on trails that roam over more than 1,100 acres of forests, hills and meadows, with sweeping vistas of northern Idaho’s most scenic countryside. They also enjoyed a horse-drawn wagon ride, feasted on hearty ranch fare in the spectacular 10,000-square-foot log lodge, and tapped their toes to folk tunes played around a campfire.
Sarah, a home-schooler who just started sixth grade, said the early September vacation was “a dream come true.” “I got to have my own horse for a whole week,” Sarah said. “I was looking forward to riding all day. It really was a wonderful time. The best part was loping in the arena, and I really liked trotting, once I learned to post.”
The Children's International Arts Festival is sponsored by KidsTalkAboutGod.org and participating dude ranches. To enter the dude ranch vacation festival, children ages 5 through 12 are asked to answer Bible questions and draw art to illustrate their answers. Selected drawings and essays will be published in festival organizer Carey Kinsolving's latest online project, the “Kids Color Me Bible Gospel of John.”
Because the Children’s International Arts Festival is ongoing until March 31, 2009, all children from ages 5-12 are invited to send in entries for a chance to win a similar vacation in the summer of 2009. Entry forms can be downloaded at www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org.
Sarah’s parents, David and Lorri Wickenhauser, and her 16-year-old brother Matt also enjoyed their stay at Sandpoint’s Western Pleasure Guest Ranch.
“It was a wonderful vacation – one of our best trips ever,” said Lorri. “It was the type of thing we never could have done otherwise, and we’re so grateful to Roley and Janice Schoonover for donating such a generous prize to the festival.”
This was not the first time the Schoonovers have donated dude ranch visits to charitable causes. In recent years they have hosted guests as part of the Make-A-Wish program for children with life-threatening medical conditions. They also host an annual trail ride at their ranch to benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.
“Everything that we have here is just a true blessing,” said ranch owner Janice Schoonover, granddaughter of Riley Wood, who brought the family to northern Idaho in the 1940s.
Janice’s parents, Jim and Virginia Wood of Sandpoint, have been integral in helping develop the Western Pleasure Guest Ranch into a top-notch tour destination.
Janice said she and her family try not to take for granted the efforts of their parents and grandparents, who helped pave the way for future generations to enjoy a rural ranching lifestyle.
Participating as sponsors in such programs as the Children’s International Arts Festival, she said, “is part of the way we like to give back, so that other families and kids can experience the joy of horses and the joy of the country and the Northwest, and our blessings that we have received here.”
To view and download photos, please visit www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org/sarahphotos.
Sarah has her own comic strip, and she's done some installments to reflect her experience with the Children's International Arts Festival:
Click Below to View Newspaper Articles About Sarah Winning a Dude Ranch Vacation
Foothill Express - Mid-June 2008
Sonora Foothill Shopper - Week of July 10, 2008
Mariposa Gazette - Summer 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
California Girl Wins Idaho Dude Ranch Vacation
Sandpoint, Idaho, June 24, 2008 -- An 11-year-old girl from Greeley Hill, California, has been named one of 12 winners of dude ranch vacations by the Children's International Arts Festival.
And because the festival is ongoing until March 31, 2009, other local children are invited to send in entries for a chance to win a similar vacation in the summer of 2009. Entry forms can be downloaded at www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org.
As her prize, Sarah Wickenhauser, 11, will spend a week with her family this summer at the Western Pleasure Guest Ranch in Sandpoint, Idaho.
"I couldn't believe it," said Sarah after hearing the news that she was a winner. "It's like a dream come true!"
Sarah is a home schooled fifth-grader. She was born in Atwater and moved with her family to northern Mariposa County in 1999.
Her parents, David and Lorri Wickenhauser, are the owners and publishers of The Foothill Express, a twice-monthly newspaper in the Lake Don Pedro-Coulterville-Greeley Hill area. Her 16-year-old brother Matt will also be going on the trip.
Sarah is known in her community for being the creator of the "Princess" comic strip, which has been running in her family's publication since 2004.
Sarah recently spoke by telephone with Janice Schoonover of the Western Pleasure Guest Ranch. She was thrilled to learn that she will be assigned her own horse for the week of her stay, and will be able to ride twice a day.
"I can't wait," she said. "My whole family is excited. My mom used to ride a lot, but I've never ridden a horse in my life."
The Children's International Arts Festival is sponsored by KidsTalkAboutGod.org and participating dude ranches. Festival organizer Carey Kinsolving writes a weekly Kids Talk About God column, distributed through Creators Syndicate, and has produced a series of popular TV spots for ABC affiliate that can be seen on the Kids Talk About God website.
Kinsolving said the response to his work has been enthusiastic and heartwarming. Readers are reminded of what Jesus meant when he said we must enter His kingdom with the faith of a child.
"Children have a way of touching our hearts and reminding us that we must come to God with childlike faith," he said.
To enter the dude ranch vacation festival, children ages 5 through 12 are asked to answer Bible questions and draw art to illustrate their answers. Selected drawings and essays will be published in Kinsolving's latest project, the "Kids Color Me Bible Gospel of John."
Sarah said she has been encouraging other kids to enter the online arts festival for future prizes.
"Pray about what to draw and write," she advised. "That's what I did. And every night I prayed, 'Please, God, if it's your will, let me win that contest!' "
For entry information, visit www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org and click on the "Children's International Arts Festival" link. Information about the participating dude ranches also appears on the site.
Note to Editors: Please click on the following link to download a high-resolution photo of Sarah Wickenhauser:
Sarah Wickenhauser, 11, receives call
from Carey Kinsolving, director of the
Children's International Arts Festival.
She won a vacation for her family at
the Western Pleasure Guest Ranch
in Sandpoint, Idaho. To see her winning
art, please visit www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org/sarah.
The art below may also be downloaded by clicking on it.
Winning Art by Sarah Wickenhauser, age 11
How does Jesus give light to everyone? (John 1:6-13)
What does the Bible mean when it says Jesus was full of grace and truth? (John 1:14-18)
BLOG: Sarah Wickenhauser's Ranch Journal
September 6, 2008
Today was our last full day at the ranch. Tomorrow, we are leaving for home! I feel very, very sad about leaving, but I had a LOT of fun this week!
We went on an all-day ride to Grouse Creek Falls today. We ate a packed lunch at the creek, and then some of our group hiked up the rocks to have a cliff view of the falls. It was quite a perilous journey – I almost slipped once, on the way back down. It was so steep on the downhill; you could barely see the ground beneath you! It was kind of like rock climbing, except we were wearing slippery cowboy boots. They don't have any grip on the bottom!
It took about one week to get toughened up enough to ride all day and not get so very sore. I really wish I had a horse so I could keep in shape!
Thanks to Marcy, Brad, and Barb, the wranglers at the ranch, for teaching our family so much about horse riding! It was quite an enjoyable experience meeting them.
I think that this trip has been the most fun I've ever had!
September 5, 2008
Today was our second-to-last day at the ranch. :(
We had a really fun day today! We went out on a cow-hunt this morning, trying to find out where the cows were so we could close the gates and shut them into a pasture. There was one calf that had pinkeye, and we needed to find out where he was, too.
This afternoon, we went on another trail ride to see a gorgeous panoramic view of the Selkirk Mountains. After our ride, we went on a horse-drawn wagon ride to go see the horses in the other pastures, including the two baby horses, Duke and Pearl. (They're really cute!) The wagon was pulled by two HUGE black draft horses with gigantic hooves as big around as dinner plates.
Yesterday, while my brother and my dad went to Sandpoint to check out some stores, my mom and I rode around in the arena. We did some slow "barrel racing" at a walk and a trot, and we played keyhole. (In that game, there is a box made out of four poles standing upright. You are supposed to ride through the box, turn around sharply, and ride back through.)
Then we walked, trotted, and loped (cantered) around the arena, and I learned to post at a trot. (That's when you learn how to not bounce around so much in the saddle at a trot!) After that, we had a trail class, where we learned how to get out of tight places in a trail. We backed out of an 'L' made out of four poles lying down, and we weren't supposed to walk outside the poles.
When my dad and brother came back from their trip, we all went on an afternoon trail ride.
For dinner, we had a Dutch oven meal with a campfire. There were five different dutch ovens with different parts of the meal in each. Even the dessert (chocolate cherry cake) was cooked in the dutch oven, all stacked on top of each other in a tower with hot coals on their lids.
After dinner, several of our hosts played some really nice music with fiddle, mandolin, and guitar. They played several songs, which we all really enjoyed!
Tomorrow we are going to go on an all-day ride to Grouse Creek. I'm sure it's going to be lots of fun!
September 3, 2008
Today was our third day of riding! We're not as sore as we have been, but we're still getting used to being in the saddle twice a day!
Yesterday, we went on two trail rides and experienced an encounter with some bees. The wrangler called out that we had disturbed some bees. I followed after him and everybody behind me turned away, so nobody got stung.
Later in the day, we crossed the pond on the horses. The pond had risen a lot because of all the rain, so it was higher than we expected. Our boots and our stirrups got REALLY wet!
Today we went on an all-day ride. We rode in the pickup with the horse trailer behind us down the road to the place where we were to start. The trail was long but beautiful, and almost all the way it was either steep downhill or uphill. We stopped for lunch at a peak where there was an abandoned cabin behind us. We had brought a packed lunch. The view was spectacular. We could look down and see the whole ranch, plus part of the huge lake in Sandpoint, far south of the ranch.
Our trail guide is named Brad. He led us on the trails yesterday and today. We each have our own horses: I have Dolly (a buckskin); my dad has Peaches (a palomino), my mom has Friday (a red roan), and my brother has Palley (another palomino). They are all really nice horses, and I think they're used to "dudes"!
What a wonderful day! I really can't wait for the next!
September 1, 2008
Yesterday we arrived at the ranch. We got out of the car and were surprised to find it to be so cold outside!
We walked up to the beautiful log lodge and came inside. We were greeted by the weekend cook, Shelly, who gave us the key to our own private log cabin, the “Settler” cabin, and we drove to inspect our new week-long home.
The cabin was gorgeous! We immediately decided we want to build one of our own when we get home! My room is in the half-loft, where there are two twin beds and a double bed. (My two dolls were delighted to have a twin bed all to themselves!)
We had a delicious chicken enchilada dinner at the lodge, and then we went back to our cabin for a cup of hot cocoa before bed.
Today was my first day on a horse, ever! We got up early, but we missed seeing the wranglers run the horses up from the meadow. We went to the lodge for breakfast, which was bacon, eggs, and huckleberry pancakes. Then we met with Marcy, our trail guide for the day, to have our first riding lesson in the corral.
While Marcy told me everything to do and explained to the others at the same time, I got on my buckskin horse, Dolly. Then, while everybody else in my family were helped onto their horses, I rode around in the arena at a walk.
Once everybody was assembled in the corral (including the ranch dog!) we started out for our morning trail ride through the woods.
We had a beautiful ride, as Marcy told us stories about the ranch and the trail. She had brought along a pair of hand-held clippers to snip off the branches that pressed close into the trail, so that when it rains, the people riding won’t get sopping wet from the wet branches brushing up against their legs.
The trail was very beautiful. When we came to the ridge where we could see the mountains that separate Idaho from Montana, we were stunned by the gorgeous view.
We saw moose tracks but no moose. We also saw a cute little log cabin nestled in the woods, much like the one our family is staying at. The ranch owners’ family members use it for hunting and for family gatherings.
The trail was rocky and very steeply up or down in places, but it was very fun. I was so excited! Marcy cut a small branch from a pine tree with a little bunch of pine needles at the end for me to use as a switch when my horse did not go when it was supposed to. My horse behaved quite nicely, however, and I just needed to use the switch a few times, when Marcy told me to.
We came back just in time for lunch, which was hamburgers and fries and cookies. Then we started out on the afternoon trail ride. We rode steeply down the sledding hill, and then steeply up another hill on a trail other than we had originally planned, so that we could avoid a bee’s nest closer up the original trail.
When we came back from our afternoon ride, we learned how to unsaddle and brush our horses. Then we watched the horses being driven out to the meadow for the night.
For dinner, we ate roasted red potatoes, green beans, salad, roast beef, and wheat bread. For dessert, we had cheesecake.
I can’t wait for another day at the ranch tomorrow!
August 14, 2008
Hurray! From today, it is precisely 17 days until we leave for the Western Pleasure Guest Ranch in Sandpoint, Idaho!
My mom and I have been bargain-hunting (mostly on eBay) for Western outfits to wear to the ranch. We bought matching black brushed cotton riding skirts. We also bought an assortment of Western-ish shirts from a thrift store near us where everybody donates their hardly-ever-used brand-name clothes! Mom and I (AND my doll) have matching cowboy hats, and we all have boots - yes, even my doll. My wonderful brother bought the doll cowboy boots for me! :-D
We also have been trying to get in shape for all the EXERCISE we'll be getting at the ranch! Since we have a nice, long, steep driveway, we have been using it for hiking. We hike to our mailbox (2/3 of a mile round trip, with lots of uphill and downhill). When we have time, we go all the way to the nearest paved road and back, which is 2 miles round trip. We live near Yosemite National Park, so we went there last week and did a 5-mile hike (round trip) to the Rockefeller grove of big trees.
I'll bring my camera to the ranch, and I might be able to do some of the photography for the trip! (I probably won't be able to take pictures of myself, though.)
I'm really looking forward to what happens in 17 days!!!
May 29, 2008
Yesterday my mom got a call from Carey Kinsolving, who said that he'd like to call me at 8:00 that night. Wow! We were excited! Not having very much experience talking on the phone, I was pretty nervous when he called later that night. But guess what he had to say? I had won a week-long trip to the Western Pleasure Guest Ranch in Sandpoint, Idaho!!!
Carey Kinsolving had the owner of the ranch, Janice Schoonover, on the phone, too. She told me all the things I'd do on the ranch... I'd take care of the horse I'd be riding, and on nice days, I'd go on a trail ride and have a picnic lunch, go on scavenger hunts, and a bunch of other fun stuff! She also asked me what my favorite kind of horse was, and I said that I liked buckskins best. She said they had FOUR buckskins on the ranch! I also told her that I had never, ever ridden a horse before, and she said that one of their buckskins, named Dolly, would be perfect for me when I go for my week-long stay!
I'd been praying every night that if it was God's will, I would win the contest. Thank you, God!! And thanks to Carey Kinsolving for picking me as one of the winners of the contest, and thanks to the people at the Western Pleasure Guest Ranch for offering to let my family have a vacation at their ranch!
I'm looking forward to writing about my adventures at the ranch this summer!!!