Kids and quality of life in the West

Have you ever noticed you are around something a lot, but you don’t notice it? Then, once you notice, you can’t help but notice it every time.

That happened to me this summer. 

We shifted our focus this summer from hiking and camping.  We focused instead on the quality-of-life events in western North Dakota. 

So, we went to three powwows, three county fairs, three rodeos, one family Bible camp, and one food truck contest.  All of them were family events. 

And that’s how I noticed it.  Kids and quality of life.

The kids

Little Missouri River Mud

Kids play in he mud of the Little Missouri River

Kids. They’re everywhere and they are respectful, fun, and just as down to earth as their parents. They are doing kid things in gatherings of people many of whom are their relatives, their neighbors, or their family friends. 

In the safety of that social environment, kids will be kids. These kids are healthy, non-combative, social, and polite. Often, they call me ‘Sir” or maneuver around me rather than expect me to get out of their way.  They give me passage. Lots of “please,” and “thank you.” It’s an encouraging sign of the kids and quality of life in western North Dakota.

They Make Me Smile and Laugh

slope county fair kid practices roping

When they play, they play cowboy games. 

Some practice their roping skills on a dummy at the fairgrounds.

I suppose if he were in an urban environment he’d be shooting hoops, perfecting his 3-pointers, and layups.

Or when they shop, they shop for cowboy hats.  One fellow had something on his mind. 

I didn’t see it until I was reviewing the photographs I shot. 

There he was, the little fellow’s face told the story in this series of images. Scroll down.

 Who would have thought a family shopping for cowboy hats would represent kids and the quality of life in western North Dakota. But there it is.

Shopping, and even pig wrestling. If you live on a ranch, you’re probably fairly well acquainted with dirt.

kids two girls muddy pig wrestling slope county fair

Then there  are the industrious kids, making a buck while the crowds are gathered. 

Kids sell [popcorn at the rodeo

Selling popcorn– gets him into retail trade at an early age at the Killdeer Mountain Roundup Rodeo

At the Killdeer Mountain Roundup Rodeo, a portable wagon of popcorn attracted business for this kid.

At the powwows, young people take an active role in carrying on the tribal traditions of celebrations.

Families participate in the Twin Buttes Powwow

The Twin Buttes Powwow is a family event both for visitors and for participants.


Playful, polite, happy, full of life, living in the moment and at home with their family in popular entertainment venues.

Now I notice it. Kids and quality of life. Kids and families. Western North Dakota is family country, and it’s going to last a while to with the young crop of kids growing up in this family environment.

Share this with a friend who doesn’t know how families make a big difference in western North Dakota

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