This past weekend was what we call here in Utah … Pioneer Day Weekend. Every July 24th we celebrate the arrival of the first Mormon Pioneers into the Salt Lake Valley. We celebrate it pretty much like the 4th of July with parades, picnics and fireworks. I love it because it’s like getting two Fourth of Julys in the same month. This is also why I had my half marathon on a Thursday and not a Saturday or Sunday. It was on the official Pioneer Day holiday.
In addition to the holiday on Thursday we had a family reunion in the Bridger Valley area in Wyoming near Lyman (you’re probably going straight to Google Maps, so I’ll save you the time). It’s basically a couple hours east of Salt Lake City. Our Aunt owns some land in the valley there where she built a homestead with a cabin, barn and land for horses. And, we used the homestead as headquarters for our annual Pederson Cousin Reunion.
The past 4-5 years we’ve made a concerted effort as cousins to get together often and not let time, space and life separate us. As kids we a lot together. Whether it was holidays, birthdays or other family events here in Utah or family trips to see other cousins in Oregon or down here in Utah … we were all close as kids. Then one by one when we all got older and moved on it’s been much harder to get together … so we decided to hold a bi-yearly reunion to fix that.
In the past we’ve done both Park City and the homestead. But, this year we wanted to do Wyoming again because we got some of our Oregon cousins to come down. Plus, over Pioneer Day weekend the Bridger Valley holds their own annual Pioneer Days Rodeo. Which is a HUGE deal in the area. It’s an event where a lot of other local families hold their own reunions around as well.
So on Thursday afternoon after I got home from my race and took a quick shower I hopped in the car with my brother and his family for the drive to Wyoming. Instead of going straight to the homestead we went right to the rodeo. It was the kids’ night, which if I was going to watch a rodeo it would be the kids’ night. I’m not a HUGE fan of rodeo, but kids riding sheep or galloping poles is actually quite fun I’ve found. Plus, they let any kid in the crowd do barrels on a stick horse for candy.
Needless to say, they didn’t let me do it.
But, we met up with the whole family at the rodeo and it was a lot of fun. Even if I wasn’t really paying attention to the rodeo I was at least catching up with my cousins. You know you haven’t seen a cousin when they make you aware of at least 2-3 additional children to their family. And, I swear more often then not you always find out that someone is pregnant … in their ninth month and due any day. That’s just the nature of these kind of reunions. Facebook can’t tell you everything.
After the rodeo and we got up to the homestead and had plans to stay around there the next day. We took a family hike and a played in a creek with the kids, we canoed, we did some 4-wheeling, fed some bunnies, fed some horses, shot some guns and a lot of other fun things. Including eating A LOT of Mexican food (and I ain’t complaining). I for one took three naps that day (hey, it was vacation for me too!). It was a lot of fun. It kept us all going and the kids all had a blast.
One thing that took up most of our time was a game called Washers. The game fairly simple. You have four washers and you play against someone who has the same amount of washers. You try to throw your washers into a small wooden box that’s five or so feet away. You get a point for every washer you get into the box. If it leans on the box, you get two points. The box also has a round tube in the middle of it. If you get a washer in there you get three points and you eliminate any points your opponent gets in that round. There’s no set amount of rounds, you just go until someone gets 12 total points.
Got it? Good!
Anyways, that took up most of our time on Friday and Saturday. And, if you must know, I am pretty horrible at it. I got shut out in the tournament, but luckily got beat by the champion which helped save face on my part.
The time together with cousins was really priceless. Besides getting to know my cousins better, I also got to know a lot of their kids as well. Which was actually really fun. The Pederson clan has a PLETHORA of cute kids with awesome personalities. I was able to spend some time with them and it’s amazing how their personalities and attitudes shine. It’s fun to play uncle, it also made me excited to be a dad some day. And, I’ve got a number of cousins that are great parents to learn from.
In all, I had a blast. There is nothing more important or rewarding then spending time with family. We made some more memories and got to know each other and our kids better. And, we also tentatively planned our next reunion for 2016 in Oregon! OREGON!
As you can tell, I’m pretty excited.
Family is everything.
I can’t wait for PedFest 2016 in Oregon!