Small Children Riding Sheep: A Day at the Arapahoe County Fair


As part of our ongoing effort to "get out there" and see what's going on in our strange new environs, Dr. M and I swung by the Arapahoe County Fair today. We had previously been to the Los Angeles and Alameda County Fairs, though not this year of course, and we were curious to see how the mile high version would compare.

The first thing we saw once we got past the admissions booth was a whole bunch of sheep:

It turns out that these sheep would later be used as part of one of the most bizarre spectacles either of us had ever witnessed. More on that later. For now, more animals!

Here's a pig lounging adorably in his own filth, blissfully unaware of his delicious destiny:

This next pig, judging by his attitude, had a better idea of what was going on. But still cute:

Here's a cow that was peeking at us from behind some kind of curtain, or at least she was staring at us until we tried to to take her picture:

This bird, I'm sure, could make quite a name for himself in East Palo Alto before being razored to death by another bird:

But this cock wasn't the cock of the roost by any means. No, that honor went to this guy:

It should come as no surprise that I felt compelled to take that picture.

The last animal was saw was this adorable baby goat. Though as we got closer the cuteness diminished and the sinisterness increased:

There were also camels available for riding purposes:

The girl who was next in line when I took this picture was wearing a shirt that said "I [Heart] Nerds." A shot of her on the camel would have made for a much better picture. But I had to hurry and get back to...

The tractor pull!

Now, having done absolutely no research into the subject and having now attended exactly one tractor pull, here's what I was able to piece together as to how the event works. The yellow thing (which is hooked to a much larger tractor not visible in the picture) has a giant piece of metal that drags on the ground (visible in the picture). On top of the yellow thing is that green and black thing that says "MSE" on it. As the small tractor pulls the apparatus, the MSE thing moves along the yellow thing toward the small tractor, steadily increasing the downward force on the metal thing, effectively making it heavier. At some point, the metal thing gets too heavy to move, at which point the small tractor can go no further and the judge comes and measures how far the small tractor got before stopping. Whoever goes the farthest wins. Tractor + driver has to be 1,000 pounds or less. It's all very riveting.

This was an officially sanctioned event, not surprisingly. The announcer (in the red hat) sounded like a Phil Hendrie character:

Of course, it's not all about mechanics. You need to bring your mental game as well. This guy gave his tractor a scary face and a rotating police car light to intimidate the other contestants:

He performed well, but I don't know if he won.

Another competition was "Dock Dogs," in which people competed to see whose dog could jump the farthest into a swimming pool.

We observed this event from precisely the wrong angle, sadly.

But the best competition, by far, was "Mutton Bustin'," which can only be described as a bullriding competition where the bulls have been replaced with sheep and the cowboys have been replaced with little children (contestants had to be six years or younger and weigh sixty pounds or less). This was at once hilarious and tragic, and we ended up getting into a debate as to whether we will allow our children to Bust Mutton when they're old enough (the youngest contestant we saw was three).

This was the first kid we saw. She did very well:

The older kid in the loud outfit was responsible for helping the riders up after they fell off the sheep. Some riders didn't make it that far:

The little flailing limbs. I just can't not laugh.

Once again, the mental game is important. Sometimes you need to overcome the force of gravity and the pressures of your own dignity and cling sideways to a goddamn sheep:

After losing their respective kids (which often involved falling down with the kid still attached), the sheep all congregated at the other side of the arena and calmly awaited their next humiliation:

In the final analysis, this wasn't nearly as big of a production as the other fairs we've been to, but we still had a great time, due mainly to the opportunity to watch small children fall off of sheep. We missed out on the demolition derby, unfortunately. Perhaps next year.

Also, here's a picture Dr. M took of a really pretty cloud formation. Colorado is good at those:


I'm not sure if its your newly healthy lifestyle, or the make-up of the fair, but where is the break down of fried food?

Alas, I'm not going to make it to the Orange County fair this year. I'm going to miss the much touted 640 lb cheese sculpture, deep fried pop tarts and chocolate corn dog (tootsie roll battered in funnel cake batter and deep fried).

*Applauds wildly* Dr. M for cloud photo. Magnificent.

It's hard to pick out one single favorite from this tour de force of county fair photography, but the mutton bustin' pictures still delight me, even upon my fourth viewing. Please let little Eamon bust mutton at least once, if only for the photo essay.

Other query: is the mutton bustin' rodeo clown also subject to a height/weight requirement?

I propose a new activity. Dog riding by kids seventy-five pounds or under.

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This page contains a single entry by hb published on July 27, 2008 7:13 PM.

Shooting Fish in a Barrel / Bidi Bidi Bidi was the previous entry in this blog.

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