COUNTY FAIRS ARE such grand traditions: eating elephant ears and pulled pork sandwiches; viewing all the wonderful handmade quilts, toys, art and crafts; observing fine local artwork and photography.
And, yes, feeling green about the gills and quite queasy upon exiting a fast-spinning carnival ride.
County fairs have also long been the culmination of months of work by youth originations — such as Future Farmers of American and 4-H — which help guide youths to learn the rewards of working toward goals, how to care for someone (or thing) other than self and to gain the camaraderie that comes from working together toward a common aspiration.
As I meandered through the old wooden Clallam County Fair 4-H barn Sunday, which has traditionally housed the Sidekicks 4-H gamers during the fair, I was saddened to learn Marie Dickinson Decker was no longer the leader.
Carrie Tate is now the leader, and according to 4-H supervisor Judy Richmond, she’s doing “a great job.”
During the years my niece was a member of Sidekicks, it was Marie, along with co-leaders and Sidekicks alumni Bridget Strumbaugh and Ellora Churchill, who made fair time an especially good time.
They camped at the fairgrounds with the kids and helped the kids decorate the barn and design and put together costumes for the costume competitions.
Everyone gathered together for the evening potluck dinner before the kids would take off to enjoy the carnival.
Prior to taking over as leader, much of Marie’s youth was spent as a member of Sidekicks. I know she was the leader of Sidekicks at least 20 years.
Because her mom was leader, Tylar was taking part in 4-H meetings, practices and events before she could walk.
I recall Tylar competing at 5 years old in 4-H arts and crafts with her stained glass creation — and being so very frustrated she couldn’t compete in horse events until she was 9.
When finally old enough, Tylar took part in the fair several years, but a big conflict arose when Tylar’s racing interests began to lean toward the more competitive Patterned Speed Horse Association — and the Clallam County Fair is always held the same weekend as PSHA State Finals, which is where the top 10 to 12 riders in each division compete.
As Tylar was almost born with her butt in a barrel racing saddle (literally), upon becoming a PSHA junior rider, she was qualified to attend the state finals but couldn’t because she had to attend the fair with the mother.
Marie left for a good reason: She and daughter Tylar, 15, are now competing both as a team and against each other in patterned speed horse events.
Good mom that she is, Marie knew that this year, it was time to step down as 4-H leader and step up to supporting her daughter’s dreams.
Read the PSHA State Finals results below, and you’ll see it was a good decision.
The last two 4-H horse competitions at the fair Sunday were the trail obstacle course (congratulations to Suzanne Heistand on winning the championship) and the very-fun-to-watch pie-eating contest, which pits two horses, their handlers and two gals against each other.
The best pie-eating horse turned out to be a mini — and that little black beauty loved his apple pie.
Speaking of trail competitions, Sept. 9-11 is our region’s first American Competitive Trail Horse Association competition at Spirit Horse Ranch, open to all ages and riders.
Contact Becky Siebel at 360-670-1550 or email@example.com.
All riders must register online at www.pbchw.org to participate.
Twelve local riders competed at the annual patterned speed horse finals in Wenatchee on Aug. 20, 21 and 22.
Only the top riders from throughout the state are invited to compete at the state finals.
Local qualifiers were: Sam Parks, Waynora Martin, Tammy Hull, Pam Crosby, Marie Decker, Jamie Parks, Ady Crosby, Tanya Hull, Tylar Decker, Shannon Robbins, Kenzie Hendricks and Rielly Reed.
Four riders won five state championships:
■ Martin, riding A Breezy Belle, won senior B keyrace and California stake.
■ Ady Crosby on Batman won Senior A Flags.
■ Tanya Hull on Bling won senior A California stake.
■ Robbins on Time won intermediate polebending.
Other individual top six riders:
■ Pam CrosBy Fourth, keyhole.
■ Martin: Second, flags; fourth in barrels, polebending and figure eight.
■ Sam Parks: Sixth, keyrace; fourth, polebending.
■ Hendricks: Sixth, California stake.
■ Team baton: S. Parks, P. Crosby, A. Crosby and Kelby Bower, fourth.
■ Two-man stake: Martin, M. Decker, fifth.
■ Team poles: Martin, T. Decker, M. Decker and Robbins, second.
■ Bareback relay: Robbins, T. Decker, M. Decker and Martin, fourth.
■ Team flags: S. Parks, P. Crosby, A. Crosby and Bower, second.
■ Two-man three-barrel: S. Parks and P. Crosby, fifth.
■ 6:30 p.m. today — Arabian Horse Club meeting at Vicki Humphrey’s. Vicki is making a ham and will have rolls to make sandwiches. Bring salad extravaganza and/or dessert if desired. For directions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
■ 6 p.m. Monday — Chimacum Creek 2011 Summer Barrel series at Chimacum Saddlery on Chimacum Road. Phone Bethel Moore at 360-301-1547.
■ 9:30 a.m. Sunday and Monday — Peninsula Junior Rodeo at Clallam County Fairgrounds.
■ 9 a.m. Sept. 11 — PPA Schooling Show at Baker Stables, 164 Four Winds Road, Port Angeles.
Karen Griffiths’ column, Peninsula Horseplay, appears every other Wednesday.
If you have a horse event, clinic or seminar you would like listed, please email Griffiths at email@example.com at least two weeks in advance. You can also write Griffiths at PDN, P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362.