FARR WEST -- Lincoln Masuisui wore a black cowboy hat and a deputy's badge as he peeked his head out of the top window of his new two-story sheriff's playhouse Monday evening.
His mother called for him to come out, so he could blow out the candles on his cake and have the crowd sing "Happy Birthday." A grin spread across his face, puffing his tan, dimpled cheeks.
It was Lincoln's sixth birthday, but it was much more than that. Lincoln has lymphoma, and Monday was the day his Make-A-Wish dream came true.
Other children often ask for large wishes, like a trip to Disneyland, said Make-A-Wish volunteer Dana Gibson. For Lincoln, though, there was one small thing he wanted more than anything else: a Wild West sheriff's playhouse in his backyard.
And with the help of the Weber County Sheriff's Mounted Posse, who deputized Lincoln and enlisted him to round up outlaws in the neighborhood, his wish turned into much more than a playhouse.
"It's a big deal," said Shanna Masuisui, Lincoln's mom. "It's like a dream. Lincoln had no idea about the sheriff's posse."
Mounted on horses, about 10 members of the posse -- which serves many purposes in Weber County, including leading search-and-rescue efforts -- stormed into the Masuisui's backyard, where Lincoln's birthday party was being held. The posse informed Lincoln that bandits were on the loose and they needed his help to catch them.
After a swearing-in ceremony, Lincoln proudly donned a deputy shirt, a badge and a toy gun. The horde of friends and family in attendance chanted his name. A shy smile sneaked across his face as he hopped onto a horse and joined the posse's search for the outlaws.
They soon lassoed one bandit, dressed in Old West attire, and pulled him to the backyard, stuffing him behind jail bars made of plastic pipe. But it wasn't long before more bandits arrived and broke him out.
Lincoln ran to get the posse, and a fake shoot-out ensued. When the good guys had won, the posse told Lincoln he needed a better jail to keep the bad guys in -- one that would hold them for good.
At the side of the house, the large, two-story wooden sheriff's playhouse waited. All week, Lincoln had watched it being built but hadn't been told when he'd get to play in it.
Outlaws in tow, the posse brought Lincoln to the playhouse, where he threw the outlaws inside and locked the door. Lincoln had saved the day, and at long last, he got to explore his new playhouse. His shyness, at that point, evaporated. His smile beamed as the posse crowded around him for pictures.
Lincoln, his mother said, has long loved the Old West. His grandparents have horses, and he sits, perched on his grandfather's lap, to watch John Wayne movies.
"It was even fun for him just to watch them build the playhouse," she said, adding that Lincoln's wish came during a rough stretch of chemotherapy.
"The excitement has been building for him. We don't know any other wish-makers from Make-A-Wish, but ours have been the best."
Gibson said making dreams come true for children like Lincoln is her passion. She loves to get to know them and their families, and the way the children bravely battle their sicknesses gives her hope.
"I love to meet these kids. They're different from other kids -- they're strong and courageous," said Gibson, who estimated she has helped make 60 wishes comes true.
"They give me inspiration. I want to do everything I can to help them forget they're sick."
It was also a special day for the posse members, who were happy to go all out to give Lincoln a special day.
"We look for opportunities like this to get the community involved with horses and the Old West lifestyle," said Robert Armstrong, posse captain.
"Kids love horses, but these days, most of them don't have one in the backyard. When the Make-A-Wish people got in touch with us, of course we jumped all over it."