It is mid-July here in southeastern Indian and the temperatures are really HOT. The humidity is also high and that combination makes it feel like a sauna when you have to go out of the air conditioning to do anything outside.
The month started with the annual 4th of July Party on the River down at the farm of Pat Hicks and the recently deceased Mike Stroub near Cynthiana, Ky. Mike’s death just a few weeks prior to the event cast a shadow over the festivities. Although everyone tried to carry on as we knew he would have wanted, it just wasn’t the same without him there. Due to all of the rain earlier in the season, Al and his family were working to get the last of the tobacco set and Patrick was trying to get the last of the pumpkins planted down at the Pumkin Patch in order to have them ready for the Fall crowds. It was very hot both Saturday and Sunday, but we got the horses harnessed and rode both days. We had to take a lot of breaks to let the horses cool down and water. It was especially hard on the two draft horse teams that were on the ride on Saturday and there weren’t any draft horse teams that came back to ride on Sunday. Overall, we had fun, but the size of the crowd was down, probably due to the uncertainty of holding the event so soon after Mike’s death. I stayed over on Sunday along with Mike’s sister Janet and her family, but a light rain shower early Monday morning convinced us all to go ahead and pack up in case the weather got bad and we were stuck down by the river as had happened a few times in the past.
The second weekend in July was spent down in eastern Kentucky. The Eastern Kentucky Draft Horse and Mule Association held their annual Draft Horse Show and Pull at the Lion’s Club park in Owingsville. This event is always held the week following the county fair and it is a great facility with a well prepared show ring, plenty of stall area, and even some nice camp sites on the grounds. As is the case with many small local shows, the number of entries was very limited with many of the entries coming from only a few entrants. Surprisingly, the Friday night horse pull had 8 entries and the winning team pulled 9,000 pounds. This was a farm pull where jerking the sled, for example, was not permitted. Has it not rained earlier in the afternoon and wet down the crushed gravel track, there were a few teams that probably could have pulled more weight. The dampness of the pulling area, however, prevented the sled from pulling as easily as one might have thought.
The show on Saturday didn’t start until late in the afternoon and the high temperatures kept the crowd size down. Those that did attend sat on the hillside on the west side of the arena where a giant old tree provided quite a lot of shade. Almost nobody sat in the metal grandstands along the east side of the arena where the sun was beating down mercilessly. Mike Atkins from up in Ohio came down to do the judging and was his usual outgoing self. He gave all of the participants plenty of time in the ring and also entertained the crowd with his antics. At one point he called the resident jokester Jeff Becker out into the arena and had him demonstrate a trot and gallop before pouiring a bottle of water on him. Despite these antics, however, Mike did a really good job of placing the exhibitors and shared some of the reasons for his placements with the exhibitors. It is one of the first shows I have worked where I didn’t hear anyone complaining about the judges decisions.
Saturday evening was dedicated to the “fun” events like log skiding, the obstacle course, and the farm chore race. Many of the spectators were gone before these classes ended, but the participants really didn’t care because they were having a lot of fun. Overall, the show went very well and Mike Downs and his wife Joyce are to be complemented for all of the work they did in preparation and in finding sponsors to help make the show a success. I just hope that we can keep enough interest to keep the show going in the future.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that one of the members of the Orme family was really missed over the weekend. Pinky Orme, wife of Mark Orme, had recently had surgery to have a cancerous tumor removed and wasn’t able to attend. Although Mark was there for the pull on Friday, he stayed home with his wife on Saturday. I’m sure that Pinky knows that all of us are pulling for her and will offer a few prayers that she is able to overcome this medical situation. Anyone who knows her knows that she is very upbeat and usually full of energy. Remember to keep her in your prayers.
Well, next weekend will be Dannie Crawford’s ride at his farm near Flemingsburg, Kentucky. We know it will be hot. Fortunately, Dannie’s farm is on the Liking River just below Cave Run Lake and the river will give us all a place to cool off. Last year, Dannie had arranged for some bluegrass music groups to play on Saturday evening. I love bluegrass music and hope he has them back again this year. Come on down and join the fun! There is a Google link on my website with a Google map that will lead you right to his farm.