On October 22, during an annual event, a herd of bison was clustered together by staff from Antelope Island State Park under the vigilant eyes of the participants and the guests. Antelope Island represents the habitat of hundreds of bison herds. McKinley is a big fan of bison from Utah. This year, she was named the Antelope Island Bison Roundup Ambassador. She likes looking at the buffalo herds. Even if McKinley has only six years of old, she knows the island pretty well.
She was born at the Primary Children’s Hospital, and she needed to stay there a few more months. After she was well and healthy, she came to Antelope Island. Her first toy was a stuffed bison which was a gift from her grandfather. As a kid, she never claimed that she likes puppies or kittens, but bison. That stuffed bison helped her feel safe. She still sleeps with it ever since. McKinley had undergone a lot of surgeries and had been experiencing some hard times for a 6-year-old. She underwent an open heart procedure.
For a little girl like her, these experiences could be very traumatizing. She is a frequent visitor here, coming along whenever she has the chance to admire her favorite animal. The manager of Antelope Island State Park has noticed the frequency of her visits and he has decided that she deserves to be the guest of honor during the ceremony.
Dustin Merritt, who is McKinley’s dad, has argued that the park manager visited them at their house, bringing a lot of presents for little McKinley. The big bag gift was hiding a statue, a stuffed animal, and the bandanna and T-shirt which were to be worn during the event. The little girl was overjoyed.
During the ceremony, McKinley was glaring at the bison herds which were spreading all over the fields of the island. This year it was the 30th anniversary of the bison roundup. Approximately two hundred people riding horses were there present to help the park’s personnel to scamper the buffalo herds.
Clay Shelley, who is a curator at the Antelope Island State Park, claimed that starting with next week, every bison will be individually checked and analyze to establish their state of health.
Image courtesy of: wikipedia