You know, we built Down Home Ranch with a vision, a dream--that people with intellectual disabilities could achieve, compete, and make their mark in the world. And Jason, who's only lived at the Ranch for a few months now, did just that last Friday.
How? By winning the Hairy Chest Contest aboard the Carnival Triumph.
And don't think the audience cheered him on out of pity, or some latent and misguided sense of affirmative action. No, Jason won it fair and square, exhibiting...well...let's choose another word.
Demonstrating enthusiasm, energy, choreographic excellence, and humor in abundance.
From the first perfect striking of the pose from Saturday Night Live, to leading his group of fans in a conga line, to his mock massacre of the large, blue beach towel, Jason dominated the deck to win his very own...ship on a stick!
Needless to say, our crowd went berserk. And Jason is memorialized for all time in the Voyage Video, standing proudly in the sun and claiming his trophy with the words, "I'm happy and very proud of myself!"
And we were there to witness it. All 39 of us from the Ranch, plus assorted parents and friends.
We love our cruises, where the term "appropriate behavior" takes on another cast altogether. We dance, we sing, we gamble a bit.
We also interacted with dolphins, lounged on the beach, got our pictures taken everywhere but the bathroom and the elevator, ate too much, and, of course, shopped. Everybody agreed it was the best cruise ever.
After we were home, Jerry got an email asking about the Ranch from a fellow passenger. "My trip was so much more fun than it would have been without your group on board," she said, and complimented us on our Ranchers and staff.
And that was the frosting on the cake!