It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to do much randomly awesome stuff, but a girl’s gotta do that whole work thing sometimes… We’re coming up to the start of school next week, so I’ve been deep into lesson planning and getting my classroom set up.
This week is the Eastern Idaho State Fair in Blackfoot, about 7 miles south of the house. So, of course, having seen the promo materials and knowing my aunt had never taken the time to actually meander about the fair…. And I’d never actually been to a state fair before…. So we went yesterday. 🙂 Our neighbor who lives out on Yellowstone Highway puts out a fair parking sign that makes us ALL happy. We went by earlier this week and gave him a quarter and asked if we could get the weekly special. It seems that we are the second group of people who’s ever paid him, and he’s had the sign out for 20+ years… Totally worth the quarter for the laughs!
The morning was beautiful – 53 degrees and very low humidity…. I was actually cold – in August! What?! We got there early because we were all excited to see the Arabian horse show. Turns out, the number of entries had dwindled for that event this year. There were like 5 horses involved and maybe 15 of us in the stands…. Granted, it was 9am on a Sunday, but still. The horses were beautiful and we had a great time talking to a lady near us who used to show Arabians. She gave us the explanations of what the judges were looking for and what it takes to win.
After the Arabians, we were going to go to the Homebrew Beer and Wine competition, but it was moved to later in the day. Seeing as it was scheduled to be in the needlecraft building (don’t ask me, I don’t make the schedules!), we decided to wander through the various quilts and knitted things and crocheted things…. Some were super awesome, others were fairly lame. We went across to the antiques display buildings and meandered through as well. Some things were interesting, others just strange. My personal favorite was the ribbon that won a ribbon. I’m not sure how this is even possible, but the participation ribbon from 1947 won a second place in some sort of random category… Maybe in another 50 years, they can group those two together and maybe get a first?
Next was the flowers and sugar art building. The flowers were not something I was initially excited about, but it ended up being really neat. There were some absolutely beautiful things in there that I’d never seen – particularly the dinner plate sized dahlias in really vibrant colors. My favorite was the person who entered the “flower sculpture” category and won a ton of prizes for making one of the official fair logos with various dried flowers and things. It was so creative!
After that, we made our way to the West Events Arena for the Axe Women Loggers of Maine. Yes, it was completely as random as it sounds! They are a group of women who compete in Timbersports competitions, and do a show on all the things they do when they compete. We had a great time watching the crazy! Apparently, most of them got their start competing on their college teams – those crazy Yankees and their crazy sports! The news has done several stories on them here.
After the Lady Loggers were done, we had just enough time to get over to the Grandstands for the horse races. There were some really beautiful quarterhorses and thoroughbreds racing, and the stands got increasingly packed. You can only imagine the people watching fun we had. Between the farmers and the city folk and the young and the old and the Indians (including Miss ShoBan 2013 in full regalia)… it was quite a crowd!
BUT. The bigger deal was the “Indian Relay Races”… There are teams of 3 people and 3 horses – one rider and two catchers. The rider does a lap, and then jumps off the horse and onto another while his teammates try to catch the horse he just finished riding and keep the other horses moving so they’re ready while at the same time keeping them calm and away from any other team’s animals. It is complete anarchy and chaos, but easily my favorite new sport!!! Here’s a link to a video of them racing a few years ago, but you can’t really imagine it until you’ve seen it. One of the races had a guy fall off his horse (they’re riding bareback), and the pony just kept running along with the pack. They couldn’t catch it, so it just kept going – we think it came in third, but it doesn’t count… When the race was over, it did two more laps before a guy just stood in front of it and grabbed the harness and jumped on to get it to stop. SO crazy!!!
Next up, we walked through all the various barns of animals, plants, foods, etc. There was SO MUCH RANDOM! Entire groupings of competition canned veggies and fruits…. Every baked good you can imagine…. Enormous plants and veggies of all makes and models…. Chickens and pigs and bunnies and goats and horses and sheep and…. It was fairly overwhelming. Not nearly as smelly in the barns as you’d imagine, but actually neat to see all the different breeds and sizes of animals. Across from these barns was a long parade of vendors and people trying to sell us things. What things? you name it. Gun safes, boots, lighting, cars, insurance, kitchen equipment…. We did enter drawings for a free gun safe, a carved knife, and bought a lottery ticket… Because why not?!?
Our collective favorite of the day was the Clydesdales. There had to be 60-75 of them in the barns as we walked through. They’re just so awesome and fantastic!! (I liked the grey ones best.) And it was quite the show to watch their owners try to climb all over the various railings and walls outside to give them a wash.
In the process of our grand tour, my aunt and I decided that we are going to be entering a few contests next year, and we WILL be winning some ribbons. Because then we’d be the best at something! The plan is to corner the market on some of the more random competitions that we have skills in and no one really enters… A lot of them only cost $1 to enter – we’ll be winning A LOT of things! Mwaahaha!!!
We finally decided to call it a day and came home to collapse… Tonight is the Gem State Rodeo – neither of us has been to a rodeo, so we’re going to brave the mud (it’s been raining all day) and go see!