All’s Fair in Owyhee!
by Jacquie Rogers
When I was a kid in Owyhee County, Idaho, the year was divided up in two parts — 3 days of the fair, and 362 days preparing for it. The Owyhee County Fair & Rodeo outshined every other event, at least it did for me. The heat, sawdust, animals... the excitement of winning a blue ribbon or sometimes even a purple... yep, that’s when people kick back and enjoy themselves.
This year, I rented a booth in the Commercial Building, where I featured my Hearts of Owyhee series. More about that later.
These days, the fair is four days and it’s the second week of August, not the third. Lots has changed over the years. The old and young go, but we didn’t see many twenty-somethings there. The food and art exhibits were fewer, but the livestock barns bulged as always. Good to see.
Speaking of livestock, they’ve now added goats. I never once saw a goat the whole time I lived in Owyhee County, but apparently lots of folks have them now.
Of course the standard dairy, beef, swine, and sheep. The granddaughters had a great time snapping pictures. Here are a few:
A few prize chickens shared a barn with the cute little lop-eared bunnies. I’m gonna get one of those someday. (A bunny, not a danged chicken. I've had enough of those.)
The Tumbleweed Theater had several fun acts including Larry—and I’m sorry but I can’t remember the name of his act. He walked around the fairgrounds, twirling loops around people. Everyone got a real kick out of it, and not one kicked his stilts out from under him.
We all love the rodeo but we only managed to go one night. Loved the mutton-busting. The wild horse race lived up to the bill. A horse dragged a man all the way around the arena (and it’s a big one) three or four times, but he hung on to the rope, and eventually they got that horse saddled. Not sure if he won or not, but he finished the race. Not very many do.
Ranch bronc and the normal bronc events are always a treat.
Ahem. Back to work. My booth turned out pretty well even though I had no idea what size it was until I got there. What decorations to bring was purely by-guess and by-golly. Turns out, the stuff we brought actually worked out, and even fit right. I figured the commercial stall would be about the same size as the dairy stalls, and I’d spent many an hour in the dairy barn as a kid, so I figured 8’ x 9’. Imagine my surprise when I was actually right! Well, close. I was assigned #7 and it measured 7.5’ x 9.5’ so my banner worked and things just came together.
|Hearts of Owyhee booth... mostly finished|
It was the second day of the fair when we realized the banner had a typo—misspelled “Owyhee” of all things. How embarrassing. My husband didn’t say a thing when I told him, just stapled a cover flat over the two offending letters. Worked great.
Other than roasting half to death, we had a great time—met with old friends and made some new friends. Even some relatives showed up. I gave away tons of promo material but only sold half my books. Since most people there live too far away from stores to buy print books and most that I talked to were strictly ebook readers, I thought that was pretty good.
The Owyhee County sheriff deputies wouldn't take my Hearts of Owyhee junior deputy stars, but we gave out over 500 to the kids and a lot of adults. Everyone's up for a good time. Like riding a mechanical bull. The operator told me that little girls generally do the best.
And of course there's fair food. Fair food is unique in and of itself, but in Owyhee County, no event is complete without a chorizo. The Basque kind. Absolutely heaven.
So there's my "what did you do this summer" essay. Actually, that only took up a week and the rest of the time I've been writing. What's your idea of summer fun?