Thursday, August 13, 2009

County Fair

Last weekend was County Fair, which, for us, serves as the culmination of the 4H year. One is provided a different perspective when working "behind the scenes" at these events. The sheer number of volunteer hours that go into operating one of these shows is staggering. Getting people to volunteer is a continuing problem, and, typically, 10% of us do 90% of the work. While it grates on my nerves at times to see the usual supsects sitting on their duffs, you won't hear me complain. I truly enjoy working these shows, and, having proven myself a reliable volunteer, I get the better jobs, as will be seen later.

The days started early, with horses being fed at 6am. Once the horses had eaten, activity picked up in earnest. Horses were cleaned of whatever substance they had rolled in during the night, and thoroughly groomed, so as to look their best. The more spirited horses were lunged or ridden in the practice arena to take the edge off. With DN2 & DN3 showing horses in Western and English performance, Mrs. BR stayed busy helping with hair, makeup and show clothes, while I worked to prep the arena for the days events. This involved dragging the arena, erecting the barricades, chalking, as well as setting up trail, jumping, and dressage courses.

Mother Nature was on our side, with the skies overcast with temperatures in the upper 60's and lower 70's. Perfect show weather.

This years judges were unusually tough. Results, across the board, were not up to the standards that had been experienced throughout the show season. This resulted in no small amount of controversy, but in the end, judging is subjective, and the placings were fairly consistent from class to class.

This is DN2's last season. She and the other graduating Seniors were presented with their Belt Buckles (rather fancy ones, I might add), and formally recognized during Senior Recognition. She is also an alternate for the State Team. She went to State Fair last year, so, having "been there, done that", she isn't too disappointed. Due to cuts in the State Fair, the number of riders permitted this year is smaller, by half. And we will be taking them to the Central Washington Fair, in October, which, if given the choice, is the fair they would rather attend.

Western Equitation Class awaiting placings:

The best looking riders out there:

And, lest you think only the kids get to have fun at the fair, here is yours truly keeping the road apple pile at bay:

I knew playing with those Tonka trucks when I was a kid would eventually pay off.

Sunday afternoon, everyone gathered for the Awards Ceremony. With several of the presenters being a tad long winded, this event began to get a little long in the tooth, but after two hours, mercifully it came to and end. Which led to the mad dash to clear the barns. Decorations were taken down, stalls cleaned, tack packed up, and horses trailered. Finally, barn checks completed, vowing never to eat fair food again, we headed for home.

I think it was Wednesday before we fully recovered...


Ann from Montana said...

Your girls on their horses are lovely!

And what boy-guy-man can resist a RED tractor!!!

Bag Blog said...

We used to do the county fair in Springer, NM to end our 4H year. My kids did not ride English, but did do all the western pleasure type stuff. Sometimes we took a tent to Springer and camped out on the rodeo grounds - what fun! My kids also did a few events with the high school rodeo association - sometimes I liked it better because the events were timed rather than judged - just a lot less controversy.

Buck said...

Good on ya for your volunteer work, BR... and good on your daughters for their work, too!

Thanks for the peek into the "back side" of fairs. We have an annual Ag Expo here in P-Ville that I like to attend... it's local events such as these that convince me that America is indeed alive and well. Sometimes we can lose our perspective and it's GOOD to get it back.

Christina LMT said...

Nice recap, Buckskins Rule! I love the pics, and you look positively blissful driving the tractor/dumptruck around.

Daphne said...

I've always wanted to drive a front loader - you have all the fun, my friend.

Buckskins Rule said...

Ann & Christina: They certainly didn't have to twist my arm to get me to drive the tractor. It could only have been better if the tractor had been GREEN.

Lou: The timed events definitely take the subjectivity away. Either you did or didn't. Plus they are more fun to watch.

Buck: Yes, America is alive and well, despite what some would like us to believe.

Daphne: I've realized that life is what you make it. So, yes, I'm having fun. Maybe this is wrong, but I consider it my just due after 21 not so fun years in the Navy.

Anonymous said...

They are lovely aren't they? I gave him the choice of hair and makeup or the volunteer end of it. Every time I found someone I knew at fair they would tell me they saw my husband driving a tractor! One guy said "how did he get that job?" and I just laughed! I guess we were lucky he saw any of their classes! What a good daddy!