For Rich Valley Fair read rich family fun.
Okay, it rained a fair bit on Friday night, forcing organizers to cancel the gymkhana and ranch roping, but there was still a wealth of entertainment.
You could have spent the whole of Saturday inside the arena and still had a fabulous time. Consider the attractions: square dancing, arts and crafts, clothing stalls, a kids bingo and a zoo boasting a moluccan cockatoo, boa python, iguana and something called a bearded dragon, to name just a few of the exotic creatures.
Then there was the arm wrestling. Sure, it was for fun, but don’t for a moment think these guys and girls didn’t want to win. The facial contortions, the bulging sinews and veins told a story of extreme effort (see page 22A).
Meanwhile, across the floor another activity with lengthy historical roots was under way – square dancing. It provided a pleasant backdrop for those visiting the many stalls, where pies, cakes, woodwork, clothing, T-shirts and soap were among the many items on sale. Also at a table was Laurette Lynn Link, who was selling her book Horseface, a compilation of true horse stories. One of them records her brush with danger in the 1960s in the Drumheller badlands. She and her horse were riding alone in the canyon and about to step over a crevice.
“The horse suddenly reared straight up and spun around,” she said. “I was going to slide off its back when I looked down and saw a pit of rattlesnakes.”
Luckily, she stayed in the saddle to tell the tale.
Outside the arena plenty was happening. Children enjoyed a bouncy castle, slide and a 32 foot rock-climbing wall.
Although ranch roping was rained off, some of the cowboys gave fans a demonstration of their skills during the afternoon.
Jay “Long Loop” Maygard, “Wild” Billy White, “Buckaroo” Drew Lindberg, Dennis “Smooth” Gobet, Les Lind and Clayton Gunderson saddled up and swung 60 foot ropes to simulate what it takes to immobilize and treat sick cattle.
“The idea is to minimize the stress to the animal,” said Maygard, who was riding Leo.
Within earshot of the demo was the Heavy Horse Pull, where crowds of spectators clapped and cheered for their favourite teams, urging them on to pull a load of shingles. When the load weighed 8,000 pounds, only one team was standing: Harold Shand and Hugh Ashwell with their horses, Legacy and Gambler.
While rain and competing events may have kept Saturday’s crowds down from previous years, the 38th fair will go down as a success. Those who attended will have enjoyed all the fun of the fair. Sunny smiles were everywhere, despite the soggy ground and occasional drizzle.