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One participant’s experience at the Amazing Race

On Saturday morning, May 11, several departments within the health division of the Osage Nation held several races including: a 5K, a one-mile Fun Run, a little Amazing Race and a 3.2 mile Amazing Race for adults. The races began at the Cultural Park in Pawhuska.

For me, there was something very intriguing about the idea of participating in an “Amazing Race” event just after my 49th birthday. I tried to talk myself out of it, but when I woke up on the crisp, sunny Saturday morning, I just couldn’t resist. I signed up as the oldest participant.

However, there was a hitch in my plans. The staff of the Osage Nation Communities of Excellence Department told me that I needed more than one teammate and that we should be wearing matching shirts. With just 45 minutes until the race was to begin, my teammate, Darin Mckee and I, Roseanne Sutton, began our search for two additional players – one of whom had to be between the ages of 16 -18.

We began making phone calls, but nobody was available. Then a friend called us back and suggested a young man, age 17, named Winter Slater. We called and woke him up out of a sound sleep. Nonetheless, he was up for the challenge and agreed.

We told him to put on a black tee-shirt and that we would be there to pick him up shortly. Darin’s son, Conner, reluctantly agreed to be the fourth teammate. We all found black tee-shirts and piled into the car.

We arrived at the gazebo at the Cultural Park just in time to sign up. We were given green tags to wear and green bags to carry. Each bag contained water, a protein bar and a banana.

The race soon began and we were off to the first destination, the top of the courthouse steps. I ate the banana and the protein bar before we even arrived at this first stop. We were already behind the other five teams.

Next we went to the cemetery on the west side of Pawhuska and by following the written clue, gathered the exact wording from a headstone epitaph.

Then, following the next written clue, we walked briskly, sometimes running for short distances, to Osage Nation Headstart, where we had to correctly identify the Osage name of the person named on the headstone. Our teammate, Winter, had the answer quickly.

Next we had a choice of “build-up” or “chip-up” for the next clue. We chose build up, which led us to the Osage campus near the Tribal Museum, where we had to create a replica of the wooden oil derrick located there using just popsicle sticks and glue. The glue did not work, and so we were instructed to lay out the design on the sidewalk, which we quickly did.

We observed another team which had chosen “chip-up” doing a golfing exercise on the campus lawn. We finished just after them and were gaining momentum.

Our next clue led us the Osage Language Department. In the very back of the building was a room which held bags containing puzzle pieces to put together. We worked quickly to put together the puzzle, which revealed Osage orthography and handprints.

We completed this with ease and were in third place heading back to campus to a park location up the hill where we could “cop a squat.” We thought this meant the play area behind Head Start near the Osage Nation Police Department (ONPD). Well, we were wrong and this error cost us the chance to place in the top three. An official race vehicle approached us at ONPD and informed us that we had overshot our destination. We revised our thinking and headed to a picnic area on the campus directly west of Indian Health Services.

There we found the other five teams already taking part in a required one-hour break. We were offered sandwiches, chips and drinks. When the time required had elapsed, each team was given the next clue and disappeared to the east.

We were 20 minutes behind the last team and had to come to grips with the fact that we would finish last. Nonetheless, we received our clue and headed east to the Osage Nation Fitness Center near Lynn Avenue and 12th Street. When we arrived, the last team was leaving. Our task was to turn rope as two members jumped for three minutes and recited a rhyme over and over. Winter and Conner, who were younger and had reserve energy, decided that they would jump. At first they faltered, but I told them to face one another so that they could coordinate their jumping. We hit a rhythm and the task was quickly completed.

Our final clue directed us back to the Osage campus, which was all up hill. Near campus, an official car approached us and said that we would not be disqualified if we took a ride back to the Cultural Park, where all of the other teams were waiting. Winter and Conner agreed to take the ride back. However, I stubbornly refused this offer, vowing to do my personal best, and so Darin and I walked downhill back to the park where the other teams were already waiting.

We were in last place, but I was very pleased to have finished and can say that I did my personal best in the Amazing Race of May 11.

Another Amazing Race is being planned for this autumn, which will be held at Osage Hills State Park. This two-day Amazing Race will include overnight camping. As we soaked our tired feet and rubbed our tired muscles, we began talking about how we would do even better at the next Amazing Race!

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