VOG members and friends attended an unforgettable weekend away @ the Diamond X Ranch near to Rayton, Gauteng on the weekend of 12-14 August 2011.
Marie Smit with Neville & Cheryl Wiggill
VOG members Neville (aka: Texas Tornado) and Cheryl (aka: Rodeo Rose), had invited us to join them at the Diamond X Ranch for a weekend getaway. We were promised a “different experience” and an “awesome time”. Well, what could possibly be as exciting as biking? We were in for a huge surprise and most of us had not been prepared for what was to be an experience of a lifetime….Diamond X Ranch, where you can let your hair down and be the cowboy that you had always dreamed of!
Owners, Rudan and Francois, their staff and all the cowboys really made us feel welcome, and we were in for a weekend of fun and well-planned activities.
Some of the cowboys at Diamond X
Neville Wiggill and Lawrence Leonard strike up a Cowboy pose
Our weekend started on Friday 12th August, with some of us arriving as early as 10am, excited to be away from the hustle and bustle of city life. We settled into the ranching world, with the last of the city slickers arriving just before dark - in time for a quiet sherry and our kick-off camp fire. As the night chill started creeping in, the camp fire became a focal point, and everyone drew closer together, to start discussing the day ahead.
Head cowboy Watson (aka Wolfman), introduced us to the rest of the cowboys and explained the origins of the modern-day saddle. After sitting on some of the museum pieces on display, I felt glad that I did not ride horse in the early days! Numb bum, here we come.....
Derek and Cathy were keen to get the weekend started. Now where were the horses?
After a delicious supper prepared by Rudan, Francois and staff, we were all in a cheerful mood and were ready for a sing-a-long in the “Oh be Joyful” Pub.
With “El Loco” Michael Wood on his guitar, some of the ladies on shakers and Derek on the tambourine, everyone joined in with their own versions of some great cowboy songs like, Achy Breaky Heart, Hill Billy Rock, Cotton Eye Joe, and many more..
Thank you Michael Wood, great choice of songs…
Check out this great sing-along video!
Saturday Morning - Wake up Sunshine!
So before any serious riding could start - one had to prep the butt and balance. Here, Crystal Muller gets her saddle practice in on the barrel ride first thing in the morning!
On both Saturday and Sunday mornings @ 6:30am, we saw an early start for the cattle drives. First a cup of coffee and rusks, and then off to the stables to be matched with a horse to suit your riding skills and personality.
Some of us were given some riding instructions, with a few rounds in the arena to warm up and then we set off to fetch the cattle, where a 100 head were waiting to be taken from their holding pen. The drive took us thru the forest, down to the ravine and later back to the ranch.
Those on horseback had to make sure that none of the cattle got lost anywhere along the route, by rounding them up as they ventured off the track.
Those not on the cattle drive, were taken by bakkie down to the ravine, in anticipation of the arrival of the cattle herd and cowboys.
Alison, Kelly, Cathy, Rosemary, Neil and Lawrence
At the ravine, one of the cowboys was put in charge of preparing the fire, producing all the hot coals required for cooking breakfast. The so called “City Slicker Breakfast” was such a simple, yet fun way of each one preparing his own fried meal over a heap of hot coals. All the breakfast goodies had been laid out on cable drums ready for us when we arrived.
"Back at the Ranch!"
On Saturday afternoon - we had all headed back to the Ranch House and were treated to a real Western Rodeo Show, with the ranch cowboys, Rodrique, Neville, Lydia (the youngest in the group), Riaan and Candice also taking part - with Cheryl commentating.
Most of the VOG city slickers took to the grandstand and were treated to the show.
Practice makes Perfect......
Inbetween all the activity, time was spent doing cowboy stuff - like getting in lasso practice on the non-mobile horses and steers.
All good things come to an end......
Saturday evening saw a meal time of note. The cowboys had cleared out the stables, and set out tables with gas heaters, lamps and candlelight, creating a cosy atmosphere for enjoying a great meal with friends.
The evening’s entertainment was provided by the Rodeo Line Dancers and a cowboy singer. Everyone joined in with the line dancing, and those who couldn’t get the steps right, just made up their own moves. Great fun was had by all.
Thank you VOG and friends for joining us for the weekend - you all played a part in the success of this amazing outing.
Neville & Cheryl Wiggill
Rob, Alison and Kelly Burger
Corrie & Cathy Janse van Rensburg
Geraldine and JC Botes
Derek, Michelle & Crystal Meise
Lawrence & Rosemary Leonard
Chris & Marie Smit
Michael & Neil Wood
Stefan & Marina Pansegrouw
Dave & Kia Davy
Albert, Elza & Amy Otto
A special thank you to Rudan, Francois, all the cowboys and staff of Diamond X staff, for an unforgettable weekend at the Diamond X Ranch. We’ll be back!
Michelle (Ponytail) Meise
Uncle Chris Smit guards the sherry fountain
Cathy Janse van Rensburg & daughter Geraldine Botes