It started out auspiciously.
Wally certainly had grand success...
...and friendly sheep. (It was one of Wally's sheep acting like this at the State Fair seven years ago that sold me on Shetlands!)
Yesterday, unlike all the other times we have attended the State Fair, we were not there just to “see the Fair.” Brian was eager to get to the draft horse area of the livestock pavilion. I had told him he had to make himself useful for the privilege of getting to drive, and he was very helpful. But we got there at 10 a.m. and he didn't show until 4:00, so there was a lot of down-time. Not that Brian minded; he was loath to leave the area where he "belonged" other than for a quick lunch break. So other than a short walk through the poultry barn, a slightly longer visit to the Natural Resources exhibit (Brian likes the sport fish and Smokey the Bear), and a bit of "fair food" (mmm; falafel and watermelon lemonade!), I didn't get to see the Fair at all!
Still, schmoozing with the big, black beauties of One Mile Shires was fun. Brian picked up a bagful of fallen apples before we left home, so they all got lots of treats.
Especially after Duane competed in the six-up event at 1:00 and won the $800 purse!
Finally, the time came to get the junior drivers' teams ready. Duane had two junior drivers, and decided to give the younger girl the more seasoned team of Ninny and Cole. Brian's team was Willy (age 14) and Baby Clare – the youngest at age 5! I'll admit that gave me a twinge of nervousness, but I trusted that Duane knew his horses and besides, his seasoned cousin Sandy would be riding shotgun.
|Brian had adorned his hat with both wild turkey AND peacock feathers!|
Once everything was ready, it was off to the warm-up arena.
|Duane bought this wagon from another farm and hasn't had it repainted.|
Then it was show time!
There were five teams competing in the "Junior Driver, Age 13 & Under" class, with all four of the major draft breeds represented – from left to right: a pair of black Clydesdales, a team of mammoth brown Belgians, a team of fancy dapple-grey Percherons, and Duane's two teams of Shires. Two of the drivers were younger than Brian, one was obviously older, and one boy looked about the same age. All of the horses were well behaved and the young drivers did well. I had no expectations other than a memorable experience for Brian, and that was fulfilled wonderfully.
Then the placings were announced in reverse order. Well, he wasn't last! And he wasn't 4th . . . or 3rd. When 2nd place was announced and it wasn't Brian's number, I started whooping. My boy (with the help of his shotgun rider and team) won the class!!!
That's it for our incredible day at the 2012 State Fair!