The Leavenworth County Fair 2015 started yesterday, and I ran out there
to do some picture-taking on opening night. I skipped the parade
and went straight to the fairgrounds. I guess I should also say it was 97 degrees, and a
"real feel" of 106.
There was quite a crowd for opening night.
There were beautiful cattle...
And naughty goats...
We are still under the stop-movement because of H2N5.
There was a plane buzzing the grounds.
And thrill rides (I will never ride this thing)
But I was there for one thing and one thing only... the draft horse pull.
Problem was, it didn't begin until 8 PM. I was alone. I don't like to drive in the dark, so ...
I made the best of my time.
There were seven teams... none were from the immediate area. Two were from Villisca, Iowa (Home of the Villisca Ax Murder House (see link here) ... and the others were from various
places all around the state of Kansas. You could tell the horses were all loved.
This young man was a college student, but works on the farm with his dad.
This man rode in on his hook.
Then, they got down to business.
The driver... the man in the yellow shirt... was backing his team up to the sled. There was
a thousand pounds on it. The other two men were the hookers... okay, I may have forgotten
what they are called technically... but they hook the harness to the sled so the horses can
pull. This has to be done in a matter of seconds. My first husband hooked for a friend of his, and
he knew men who had lost their fingers because of getting caught.
They work fast, because the team is ready to take off!
The first pull was a thousand pounds.
Once they pulled their specified pull... I think it's ten feet.... they are pulled up, and the next team is brought in. This goes on, over and over, until the teams start falling out from the weight.
Round two was starting here.
There was one female driver... but she had a long knee brace on, and her helpers walked the team over to the sled and hooked it for her, though she drove them.
This team was called Barney and Ben. When I was a little girl,
I was regaled with stories of Barney and Benny, with whom my Uncle Marcus
farmed. My brothers knew them well, but by the time I could run around the
farm, Barney and Benny had been forsaken for tractors. One of my fondest memories
was sitting in their big stalls, imagining what they looked and sounded like.
When this team's names were announced, it took me back.
All the teams had "plain" names... Tom and Jerry, Joe and Pete, etc. etc..
I was losing the light at this point... and had to get started for home, but
I really enjoyed my night at the fair.
Good bye, Worlds Smallest Horse.
Goodbye, scary rides.
Goodbye, Fair Food.
See you all next year!