At BI WORLDWIDE we take great pride in our Associates, especially if they have performed in front of the Queen – what an achievement!
Our Participant Experience Agent Nina Koehler and her Thames Valley Tug of War team were invited to take part in the Royal Windsor Horse Show, marking the 90th birthday of the Queen in May. Nina shares her exciting (and pretty unique) story with us:
Tug at first sight…
About five years ago I came over to England to visit my partner and he had invited me to the end of the Tug of War season in Kessingland. I didn’t know what to expect, as I thought Tug of War was a ‘Mickey Mouse’ sport back in primary school! As I walked up to the competition ground, I couldn’t see anyone, but could hear them. It was as though I’d walked into a battle scene and for a moment I thought there was a movie being filmed - Braveheart 2 or something like that - what a roaring noise!
Once I saw the teams competing, I quickly understood how much technique and teamwork is needed for the sport. The strength of every single team player doesn’t matter when you’re not working as a team. Winning a Tug of War is all about communication and working together. When each team player in the team place their feet on the floor like a centipede and work together, they become incredibly strong and are able to win against other teams even if they are much taller and have more muscles!
So that’s where it begun - I decided from that moment Tug of War was the sport for me! I love pushing myself and this sport allows me to work with a team who constantly test and develop each other’s abilities.
A special invitation
We were called together by our coach about four weeks before the Queen’s birthday, and were shown a very important email, signed with the crest of the Royal Household. The Thames Valley Tug of War team had been invited to spend a week at Winsor Castle and take part in the Royal Windsor Horse Show to mark the 90th birthday of the Queen – wow!
We were asked to perform Tug of War as part of the Enactment of the Braemar Highland Games, a Scottish event the Queen and members of the Royal Family like to visit frequently. Also performing were Pipe bands and Scottish dancers, stone throwing, caber tossing and many more activities highlighting Scottish traditions.
Three minutes of fame, here we come!
The rehearsals begin
We arrived at Windsor Park full of excitement; there was a massive arena, a fair ground with food and shopping stalls, and the Global Village - a home for more than 1,500 participants, horses, equipment, band instruments and much more.
First things first – food! We headed straight into the big canteen tent with an adjoining bar (for after the show of course) and there we sat with people from all over the world such as New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Austria, Fiji, Oman, Chile and Azerbaijan. It was such an honor to be sat with these lovely people from across the world. How on earth did we get here? We couldn’t believe it.
After dinner, we changed into our rugby shorts and ski boots to start our evening practice which made a lot of people rather curious about our role within the show.
Whether you are VIP or just a local Tug of War team, rehearsals are about waiting, waiting, and more waiting! We waited until we were called, we then waited behind the arena, and waited until we had to march into the arena. It took about three hours just for our rehearsal slot, but, in this time we were able to see lots of amazing acts and close up too! The horse riders from Azerbaijan left us sitting on the edge of our chairs and the horse whisperer from France left us with our jaws wide open! We sat in amazement wondering how these talented people were controlling the horses without reigns, no shouted commands or sugar treats to lure them in. The horses galloped elegantly in perfect circles, changed directions and formed a spiral. It was a ballet on hooves, and made me wonder if these ‘horse whisperers’ have their own little tricks of employee recognition we may be able to use back at work?
Due to heavy rain, Wednesday rehearsals were cancelled, which was a pity as it was the one evening that we were able to invite friends and family to watch us. We made good use of the time using it to clean our kit and muddy boots thoroughly. We wanted to make sure we made the best possible impression in front of the Queen and the members of the Royal Family.