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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Wild Horse Stampede Days

My kids and grandkids now live in what is considered a small town.  Population of about 3,200 residents.  Wolf Point, Montana is a reminder of a way of life that too many of us do not have the opportunity to remember. 
 While those of us may complain that we have to travel 20 minutes to the nearest Wal-Mart, these folk get to travel 92 miles or so and have to go to another state (North Dakota) to shop there.  The volunteer fire department has to be called out by a siren that could be mistaken for a tornado warning, and have a fine record of getting their crews together and on scene quickly, even though this means that they have to leave their regular jobs and family to do so.  The local theater is showing the new releases, the two movies that are available have to alternate showing times since there is only one screen.   On Sundays, some of the businesses are closed, simply because it is Sunday.  The newspaper is put out weekly, people know their neighbors  by first name.   Of course this also means that most of your business, personal and professional, may be known as well.  
Wolf Point is not a wealthy town in terms of employment or mean income, but it is wealthy in tradition, having been a trading outpost since the 1800's.  Lewis and Clark passed through not to far from Wolf Point on their way to the West Coast.  Fort Peck, one of the last remaining active duty Forts in the United States is in the area as well.  Many from the Sioux nation also live there, proud of their history and legacy.  
The Wild Horse Stampede is the biggest event in the town all year.  3 days of rodeo, a street dance, hometown parade, good food provided by local venders.
I am really happy that I was able to get to see my family and be at the Stampede.  This is a way of life that has and is slowly dying.  It is good to know that just like the folk at Wolf Point, I can get by with less, and live a little more.  Time doesn't have to move so fast, if I will only slow down.

1 comment:

Carole said...

Like you, I live in a small town (actually 5 miles south of it). The population is slightly higher than your town, but just a few years ago we hovered right around 3200.

We don't have a movie theater (but there is a single screen walk-in theater in the town to the south of us)...Up until a few years ago we only had a family owned burger place (to the shock of many residents a McDonald's moved in a few years ago - in spite of it, or perhaps because of it, the family owned place is still going strong), two small grocery stores, and 2 gas stations...The nearest shopping is 45 minutes away (if you want any 'good' shopping). There's a Walmart in another local town, but I'm not a Walmart shopper so I don't care. lol Like your town, Sunday most all businesses are locked up tight, as they are on most holidays (family is still more important than money). lol

We too have a volunteer fire department (as do most of the towns around us), and a big deal 4th of July rodeo, though in the collective time I've lived here I've only attended once.

I agree, time doesn't have to move fast, it's a matter of us choosing to slow our lives down. It's a conscious effort, and sometimes a hard one to fulfill with the speed at which everything moves around us. Well worth it though, don't you think? :-)

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