OPINION

Ruby Howell and her mule, Molly, honored to carry national flag for area rodeo

Ruby Howell
Pratt Tribune
Ruby Howell (Pratt County 4-Her) and her mule Molly have spent the summer training with a central Kansas drill team and performed last weekend at the Pretty Prairie Rodeo with great success.

This summer I have had the opportunity and pleasure of being a part of the Prairie Wildfire Drill Team. Every July, during the Kansas Largest Night Rodeo in Pretty Prairie, the drill team is tasked with posting flags for and leading the Grand Entry, as well as presenting the flags for the national anthem and performing a routine. We do this all four nights of the rodeo. This year, my mule Molly and I had the honor to carry the American flag for the national anthem and prayer.

The electric atmosphere of rodeo night can sometimes be overwhelming for horses, mules, and people, so lots of practice is very important to make sure that everything goes as smoothly as possible. The drill team practices every Sunday beginning in late April all the way until the rodeo in July. This gives us plenty of times to fine tune the details of the routine and the grand entry and anthem.

Even though my time with them draws to a close with the end of the Pretty Prairie Rodeo, I have many fun memories and new friends that will last a lifetime. All of the wonderful women on the team have made me, and Molly, feel welcomed and included. I got to know one of the women on the team, Jackie Neville, through the Pretty Prairie Saddle Club. One thing led to another and Molly and I were carrying the American flag at a pro-rodeo. Although the team is small, with only five riders and one main coach, we make do with what we have, with the goal of having fun and providing entertainment for all ages during the rodeo. 

I will never forget the summer that I spent with the remarkable ladies, and whether or not Molly and I will be in the arena next year, the Prairie Wildfire Drill Team isn’t going anywhere.