I'd mentioned that we went to the Tobacco Valley Rodeo when Legend was here. Here's a little of what we watched...Mutton Bustin' (kids 6 and under), Legend really wanted to do this but we didn't know about it to get him signed up before the rodeo. If he's here next year, we'll try to get him in (assuming Mom and Dad say it's okay :). There was also Bronco Busting, Calf Roping, and some other events. It's fun to watch. I never thought I'd enjoy a rodeo as much as I do. It's way better than most other sports!
The 2008 Lincoln County Fair ends tomorrow. I entered 17 photos this year and am totally pleased (and surprised) at the results. I received 12 first place blue ribbons, 2 second place red ribbons, 1 third place white ribbon, and 2 Honorable Mention green ribbons. But, here's the best part. There are 6 Special Sponsor Awards awarded for amateur photography...Best Photo of a Child, Best Photo of a Live Animal, Best Black & White Photo, Best Photo of a Bird/Insect, Best Photo of an Adult or Group of People, and Best Color Photo. All 6 were awarded to my photos! I was totally surprised to see that!
That's right....it was a CHRISTMAStree lighting, as in celebrating the birth of Christ. It was not a "holiday" tree and a local pastor said a public prayer in a public park. Hallelujah and Amen, the ACLU has not yet hijacked Christmas in Eureka! There was a little parade downtown with Santa bringing up the rear and planting himself in the park near the tree to visit with all the kids (note that this particular Santa Montana has a real beard :)....and there was a lot of them. There was a big bonfire to keep us warm, (it was about 10 degrees), live music...yes, with Christmas carols...and I heard there were hot dogs and cocoa somewhere, but I didn't look for them. The Riverwalk was lit up with luminaries. For a donation to ALERT you could decorate a luminary and have it set up along the walk which runs along the Tobacco River out of Historic Village park. It was so pretty with the light dusting of snow we'd had since the previous Monday. ALERT is the acronym for Air Lift Emergency Response Team...they fly helicopters out of Kalispell for medical emergencies when a 65-mile ambulance ride would be too slow. It is an important medical lifeline for a rural area like this! It was a great evening. It's things like this that make us happy to be living in a small community of wonderful people!
Lincoln County High School (the HS in Eureka) celebrated homecoming this last week. I happened to catch the parade downtown Friday afternoon. I parked over near the schools to watch. I was impressed that all the kids in the district were involved. The students from the elementary and middle schools came traipsing out and many of them were wearing orange and black, holding signs, had painted their faces, etc. This was the first time I'd seen the marching band. John and I had wondered if there was one cause we didn't see them in parades for the Rendezvous. the 4th of July, or the Fair. Guess they only do school stuff??? This was the first time that I'd seen horses painted in school colors!
The Lincoln County Fair ran four days (see previous post). John and I went again on Saturday and visited the rest of the exhibits, the vendors, the 4-H livestock auction, and the petting zoo before we attended "The Bull Thing" (see separate post below). The petting zoo was like no other. The Montana rule of personal responsiblity for yourself and your family certainly applied here. It was a fenced area where you let yourself in...no attendants anywhere in sight. And inside....well, check the photos. No cute bunnies or timid chickens for this crowd. The dog about knocked me over trying to get her ears rubbed and the alpaca literally snuck up and kissed my a** when I was busy taking a picture of the llamas. Here's a few images from the rest of the fair...
We've been waiting for the last few years for the chance to attend "The Bull Thing". It's one of the biggest events of the year in Eureka and is held in conjunction with the Lincoln County Fair. We bought reserved seats in the grandstand and enjoyed over four hours of top-notch bull riding. It was FUN! Who'd of thought I'd like bull riding (watching...not riding)? It took us several rides to get the hang of the rules, but it's pretty basic. Eight seconds constitutes a ride that counts and no slapping the bulls! That's why you always see the riders with one hand in the air...not only for balance, but so they don't slap the bull. Each ride earns points based on the rider's ability and the difficulty posed by the bull. The Bull Thing is by invitation only and there is no entrance fee for the riders. The purse this year was $20,000. I read in this week's paper that the riders say it's the toughest competition in Montana...they don't normally like to ride 3 bulls in a night, but that's pretty much what it takes to win here. We also enjoyed watching the clown(s). Those bull-fighter clowns have a tough job!
In between the two longs rounds and the final, short round we watched "Cowboy Poker". We were told before that 4 people from the crowd sit at a table and play poker while they let a bull into the arena, last person at the table wins the pot. This was a little different...4 men stood in a circle drawn in the dirt (introduced as the 4 stupidest people on the planet :). The bull was let in...last man in the circle won. As you can see it was pretty intense...the crowd loved it.
Before the final round they auctioned off the pen of bulls (which were fresh bulls, not yet ridden that night) and each of the ten riders that had made it to that round. We didn't quite get the rules for this, but some groups of people won big pots of money (and conversely, some groups lost big pots of money) based on how many bulls were ridden and who placed where in the final standings. It was so much fun we are thinking that we'll buy four Lifetime seats for this event...which means it is guaranteed that we can buy those seats each year, no one else can buy those seats ever. If we don't use them in a particular year, no one uses them. So, if you come to see us you may be lucky enough to see The Bull Thing, too!
The Lincoln County Fair opened here in Eureka yesterday and runs through Sunday. I entered some of my photos (which had to have been taken in the last year) and I won some prizes! I even received one of the special Sponsor Prizes for Best Photo of an Adult or People in a Group....that winner was the one I took of the bride (Shannon) kissing Legend on the cheek. I love that photo :). Besides that award I got 2 first place ribbons, 3 second place, and an honorable mention. In the flower category my photo didn't get a ribbon and that was the one of all my entries that I figured had one of the best chances, go figure! Anyway, I think I won a grand total of about $10.75 cash and the prestige of bringing home a fistful of ribbons :) Here's my entries....I think you've probably seen all or most of them at some time on this blog...
John got in on the action by volunteering with our church. He spent almost four hours working in the burger booth. I spent a little time looking through the Arts exhibits, but saved the rest for tomorrow when we can browse together. While John was flipping burgers I found a cozy spot on the fairgrounds and almost finished Harry Potter. Tomorrow we'll go see the rest of the fair and then attend The Bull Thing for which we purchased reserved seats. We've been looking forward to that for some time. We've heard a lot about it, but had never been able to get over here for it. It's bull riders from all over the country followed by Cowboy Poker...4 hapless men from the audience sitting in the bull pen playing poker while the bulls are let into the ring, last man in the ring wins the pot!
This is what town looked like last Saturday. The 4th annual Eureka Quilt Show took place. People come from all around to exhibit and look at the quilts, buy from the quilts shops, and eat! Many of them were for sale, from about $120 to $1500....less expensive than the Amish auction in June. My favorite was already sold when we got there. It's probably a good thing. It was way under priced at $750 and I'd have been so tempted to pull out the checkbook! (It's in the upper left corner, third photo.)
Quilting is one of the things I want to learn. I'll have a space in my new laundry room dedicated to sewing, so after the first of the year will be a good time to start. There are at least 2 shops in town and I know one has classes. I also found out at the quilt show that one of my future neighbors has a quilting studio behind her house :) There is a "Scraps & Threads" guild in town, too, that meets once a month for a quilting bee and they will take in newbies and help you get started. Sounds like I'll have plenty of help!
Hope everyone had a safe and fun 4th of July! Our day started bright and early with a drive to the Flathead. John needed to visit the airplane mechanic at the Ferndale airport near Bigfork to get his certificate signed that will allow him to remove the door from the Champ and fly with it off (more on that in a later blog). We'd planned on watching the parade and the dedication of the new Veteran's Memorial in Kalispell, but the airport stop took longer than expected. By the time we got to Kalispell I would have had to elbow my way into a viewing spot...not happening, I'll wait till next year. Instead we had a leisurely breakfast at IHOP, killed some time at Borders, and then saw a movie (Live Free or Die Hard). In the evening we went to Dickey Lake where a local family was hosting a community party to raise money for the Performing Arts Center at our new high school. For $10 each we ate a BBQ chicken meal (a little more cash added beer and wine), listened to live music, and watched an awesome fireworks display over the lake...the residents around the lake added to it with their own. It was a great time and we certainly got our money's worth! I had a great time playing with my Nikon D200 and trying to get some fireworks photos. I used the photo tips from Kim Komando for taking fireworks pictures. I didn't have my tripod, but did a lot of breath holding :) I'm pretty happy with the way they turned out.
BTW, it was 95 degrees here yesterday...just like it should be on the 4th of July. Today we saw 104 degrees out at our property. We're lucky that we have some big trees that keep our rental house shaded and we can keep the interior cooler than outside by keeping the blinds closed as the sun moves across the sky. We're thinking our new house will be the same way as it is oriented in the same direction, we have trees and an almost constant breeze, and Paul builds eaves wide enough to shade the windows. We're not putting in air conditioning this year, but the house will be ready to add it if we decide it's needed. I'm thoroughly enjoying having seasons other than "rainy" :)
For almost 10 years John and I have been reading about Rendezvous in the Tobacco Valley News and hearing people in town talk about it. We were never able to get time off to come over for it, so this year we were neophytes to the whole event. This is a big deal in Eureka. Our sleepy little town exploded with people from all over! The events ran from Friday evening through Sunday afternoon. There was so much going on on Saturday that you couldn't do everything. We started the weekend at the Rendezvous Kick-Off BBQ and Concert. It was held at the Lake Koocanusa Arena which is north of town, out towards our place. We had a yummy BBQ beef brisket dinner with baked beans and coleslaw. The arena had been freshly covered with sawdust, bleachers were brought in from the school, and the floor was covered with hay bales for additional seating. John and I chose a bale in the second row and thoroughly enjoyed the band, Smash Hit Carnival...They played music for everyone...Rolling Stones, Johnny Cash, BeeGees, Fleetwood Mac, Bonnie Raitt, Olivia Newton-John, and lots more. The crowd loved them. We discovered that people here know how to have a good time!
Saturday morning we made the 15 minute walk into town and secured our spot for the parade. It was an hour long with a few floats, a band, lots of hot rods, antiques, 4x4s, horses, the Volunteer Fire Departments, US Forest Service, Can-Am Search and Rescue, Red Hat ladies, the Creative Arts Dance school, the Black Powder Shooters, the Mountain Men, and so on....see if you can spot John doing his part to keep the parade moving :)
When the parade was over we walked over to Riverside Park and the Historical Village where the Hot Rod show, the Dutch Oven Cook-Off, and the Outdoor Craft Fair were occurring. We could see cars parked on both sides of the road all the way up the hill out of town!
The town provided shuttle buses (big yellow school types) between some of the events, so we hopped on and went out to the Black Powder Shoot at 69 Ranch. This is a big event. I had no idea that these things go on all over the western United States. They shoot their old firearms loaded with black powder and throw hatchets and knives. They keep score and at the end of the weekend declare who is the best Mountain Man. I was told by a local (George the Plumber) that these contests go on every weekend all summer long and the contestants travel all over to participate. John put his name in the lottery to enter the "Greenhorn" contest, but his name wasn't drawn. They pair up a novice with three experts to form a team and run three teams in the Greenhorn contest. Big prizes are involved, not to mention bragging rights. It was fun and interesting to watch them shoot. Be sure to look for the flying hatchet in the photos!
A quick school bus ride took us over to the Lincoln County Fairgrounds where we went to the Scraps & Threads Quilt Guild quilt show. Beautiful stuff! They meet once a month all day at a church to quilt and socialize. They'll teach beginners, so I got the information so I can go. I also learned that the shop in town gives classes. I think that would be the best way for me to start and then I can move on to the guild meetings. I remember helping my Grandma Lizzie with her quilting and going to the Salzer Valley Quilting Bees with her. I've always wanted to learn, so here's my chance!
Another bus ride to town put us there in time to walk home, get the car, and go to Mass. I think we'll like this parish :) It was a long day, but we had lots of fun. We didn't make it to the Sand Drag Races, Mud Bog, Championship Arm Wrestling, and more....maybe next year!
Today I finished up the painting at the neighbors. I spent 31.5 hours putting a second coat on everything, doing all the trim work, and cleaning up the ceiling edges. I don't dare think about how much work it is going to be to do our own house. It is more than twice the size and no one is going to put the primer and first coat on for me!
We added a little turnaround at the top of our driveway this week to make it easier getting in and out. We like the way it turned out! Tomorrow morning we will be doing the first concrete pour for our foundation! Paul says it sets up fast, so there will be 5 people there to work with the concrete, including me. We'll be pouring the footing tomorrow. The next step will be to set up the forms for the foundation itself. We'll be using the new styrofoam forms that form the walls of the foundation. The rebar will go inside and concrete will be poured to the top. The styrofoam stays in place and helps insulate the crawl space. It is so efficient that even here in our cold winters our crawl space should never drop below 43 degrees, important for the prevention of bursting pipes!