A Fair of the Heart
by Jacquie Rogers
We're headed to the Owyhee County Fair and Rodeo in August. Some of you may recognize the name—Owyhee is where both A Flare of the Heart (Hearts and Spurs) and Don't Go Snaring My Heart (Lassoing a Groom) are set.
When I was a kid, the fair was the highlight of our year. The four days of the fair was pure euphoria. The other 361 days of the years were spent in anticipation and preparation for the next year's fair. As a 4-H member, I showed dairy. That meant my fellow 4-Hers and I needed to be at the fair from early morning to feed the cows, there all day because the cattle needed to be groomed for show. We mucked stalls, braided our calves' tails, oiled the halter leather, milked the mature cows, and in general fussed over our animals for those four days.
|My friend and his daughter in front of|
their cattail arrangement
We also baked cakes and cookies, made flower arrangements, sewed clothes, quilts, you name it, for exhibition. If we'd grown a super-big squash or tomato, we brought that, too. The nice thing about all those things is they didn't mess up their stalls.
Fair week sure wasn't the time to sleep, though. We had to be there by 6am and rarely got home until midnight, and then had to do chores before bed. Still, we loved it. They used to have a little carnival there and we'd ride on the whirly things—upside down was even better—and see who could keep their caramel apple down. Then it would be show time and we'd head to the dairy barn, woozy and green, to prepare the animals for show. At night, one of the board members would let us slip into the stands to watch the rodeo.
On Saturday was the big parade. One year I was one of the saloon girls on a float with the theme "Women Won the West." My dad was Black Bart and he played poker with his friend, and my grandpa played the barkeep. He served iced tea in shot glasses. One of the Grange members played the honky tonk piano. We had a great time until my dad shot the real county sheriff (with blanks). The sheriff clutched his chest and fell to the ground, and then all hell broke loose. I guess people didn't appreciate their joke.
This year, I'm going to the fair again and I couldn't be more excited. It's just as if I were twelve years old and getting Cleopatra ready for show. (Note: Cleopatra won Grand Champion Showman for me. She wasn't much of a cow, but she sure did like to show off.)
I've been doing two things lately: writing up a storm and working on a marketing plan. Trust me, with four little boys in the house, those two things take every moment of my time.
So instead of baking cookies, drying flowers, and teaching my cattle to lead, I'm creating swag for the fair. My daughter came up with a great idea. She thought it would be good to have temporary tattoos for the kids. Then the kids would drag their mothers to my booth in the commercial building. I opted out of the tattoos because I couldn't figure out any good way to get the tattoos on the kids right away, but stickers, you can just slap them on the kid's shirt.
What do you think?
|Designed by Laron Glover|
And some postcards:
And several posters including:
Now I just have to finish the book I'm working on, pack my fanciest duds, and head to Owyhee County. We're gonna have a great time!
So fess up. How many of you would love to go to the fair? What was the highlight of the year when you were a kid?