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Want to know what it’s like to farm? Take a ride on this roller coaster

Show-Me Life: Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure offers a ride that is like a year in the life of a farmer.

Mindy Ward

January 5, 2024

3 Min Read
Adults riding a roller coaster
WICKED RIDE: I love roller coasters, but this one at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla., is chocked full of surprises around every corner, kind of like farming. Cassidy Kilpack

I swung my foot over the seat and grabbed the handlebars as my daughter settled into the sidecar. We slowly pulled out of the station on the lead motorbike. Within seconds, our speed went from crawling to 20 mph in 1.2 seconds, and my grip tightened.

Through twists and turns, I leaned in. We slowed, then quickly catapulted forward again, heading through a tunnel and climbing 65 feet in the air. As we neared the top — again, I’m in the lead motorbike — I see no more metal. Just as we kiss that last piece of track, my body seems weightless, and we’re free-falling backward at 44 mph.

Finally, we come to a tunnel and stop. I loosen my grip, look over to my daughter, sit up straight and utter “is it …” BAM! The floor falls out and we drop 17 feet. (OK, I read that part online; I had no idea how far it was.)

I quickly grabbed the handlebars again as we went from 0 to 50 mph in four seconds. More twists and turns, rising and falling. Then it stopped. We began to slowly inch our way back into the loading station.

Once off, I grabbed my phone from the locker and texted my other daughter back in Missouri — “Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure — EPIC!”

If there was ever a roller coaster that mirrored agriculture, this is it.

Every year, as farmers, we strap in, often in the front-row seat, for the unknown in agriculture. We are excited to see what lies ahead.

The year starts coming out of the doldrums of winter and into the slower cadence of spring planting. We lean hard. We navigate the twists and turns of the weather during planting — too much rain, not enough rain.

Delays come, but we speed up planting faster, our adrenaline pumping — finally, the finish line is here when the last acre is in the ground. Then comes the free fall.

The rain stops. Drought hits. You can’t control anything. Stuck. Strapped into a calling that leaves you simply along for the ride, waiting to see what happens next. You settle. A little rain comes. The year seems promising.

Like me, you look around for someone to validate that everything will be all right. BAM! The bottom falls out — it could be markets, pests, diseases or pressures of home. It thrusts you once again into a state of the unknown. Still, you hang on through adversities in the growing season.

Farming is like a roller coaster. Few will even get in line to ride it. The brave will circle back and jump on time and time again to take that ride through the unknown. They have the endurance, the excitement and even the stomach to handle it. For those, life on the farm is a thrill a minute.

As harvest ends, you stop, climb down out of the combine cab and take a breath. You look around at your farm, your friends and your family and utter only one word — “EPIC.”

About the Author(s)

Mindy Ward

Editor, Missouri Ruralist

Mindy resides on a small farm just outside of Holstein, Mo, about 80 miles southwest of St. Louis.

After graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism, she worked briefly at a public relations firm in Kansas City. Her husband’s career led the couple north to Minnesota.

There, she reported on large-scale production of corn, soybeans, sugar beets, and dairy, as well as, biofuels for The Land. After 10 years, the couple returned to Missouri and she began covering agriculture in the Show-Me State.

“In all my 15 years of writing about agriculture, I have found some of the most progressive thinkers are farmers,” she says. “They are constantly searching for ways to do more with less, improve their land and leave their legacy to the next generation.”

Mindy and her husband, Stacy, together with their daughters, Elisa and Cassidy, operate Showtime Farms in southern Warren County. The family spends a great deal of time caring for and showing Dorset, Oxford and crossbred sheep.

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