Peoples’ hobbies and passions fit into a lot of categories – from widely known to obscure. I grew up in a house where hobbies drove much of the weekend activities, and with parents who passionately shared them with their kids. A person’s passion for their hobby, and how they vary across the USA, is what I find most interesting.
When my wife and 2 boys moved across the country to Maryland, we learned very quickly about Civil War reenactments. On a pleasant fall day, we traveled to the 125-year remembrance of Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest day of the Civil War (over 22,000 casualties) and an event that led to Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.
With my wife and 2 young boys (ages 2 and 5), we walked through the reenactments camps. Hundreds of volunteers lived in the camps all weekend – all in period-correct uniforms, carrying military equipment and staying in campsites. The volunteers were knowledgeable and passionate about bringing the history of Civil War to visitors and to show how the average soldier lived and fought. They eagerly shared their knowledge with visitors and answered all questions. The day went fine until the reenactment of the brutal fight in the Cornfield, with cannons blasting and guns blazing. For my young boys, the sounds and smoke were too much so we retreated to the nearest, non-authentic ice cream vendor where all problems are solved.
In Colorado people are just as passionate about their interests. Of course, the Broncos and Rockies lead the way, but outdoor activities like skiing, biking, snowmobiling, hiking and fishing are a close second. I’ve also found some lesser known hobbies specific to western states.
One such hobby is known as “shedding” which is often referred to as antler hunting. To better understand shedding I met with Owen Stanford, a long-time enthusiast of shedding. Owen started finding shed antlers at a young age and has been pursuing shedding seriously for over 10 years. Each year Owen and a few like-minded friends head out for a few days to select areas, walking in a grid-type pattern to locate shed antlers. If the shed antler is large and good quality, Owen will walk in a concentric pattern to find the other side (yes, antlers are shed in pairs). Owen showed me pictures of a rare, full antler set he found – it’s impressive (see for yourself). Owen rarely resells the shed antlers he finds – it’s truly a hobby of love and passion for him!
Over the last few years, shedding has grown in popularity to the point that some now pursue the activity solely for profit. A new state law prevents collecting shed antlers before May 1. This helps to safeguard wild animals from abuse and lets annual shedding take its natural course.
If you have a particular passion or hobby, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.