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Weston Wagons West - Ep. L31 - Levi, Alfred and Otis Weston at the Fair

Updated on December 19, 2017
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Dr. Bill's first passion is family history. His second is a passion for creating family saga, historical fiction stories that share it.

It was a big day at the fair for both men and horses

A Morgan mare with her colt
A Morgan mare with her colt

Looking ahead to the Oak Creek Valley Fair coming in August, 1880 (OS14)

Around supper one evening, Levi, Alfred and Otis took a few minutes to consider if and how they might participate in the Fair this summer. They each had fine Morgan Horses that they could possibly enter in the animal competition, but did they really want to do that? It would be a lot of work. Was it worth it to each of them, given the other things going on in their lives?

Levi: The Animal Competition Committee has finished the rules for this year, and we need to decide if we want to compete this year. If we don’t, they want me to be a judge. I’m leaning toward competing this year and then being a judge in years to come. How do you each feel about it?

Alfred: I’ve never been in a Fair competition before, I think I would like to do it, if the details work out so that we can.

Otis: I agree with Alfred. I feel the same way. Perhaps after doing it once, we would decide we didn’t want to anymore. But, if we don’t do it, we will never know what we missed.

Levi: Okay, I was kind of hoping you would say something like that. Let’s talk about those details a little bit, and see what each of us might to. This year there actually is a ‘family’ category, with up to three animals. I think the committee did that to encourage families to enter the competition, just like we are thinking of doing. That category might not be around in future years, but we could take advantage of it this year.

Alfred: We could each enter a different age horse, perhaps. What would you think of that?

Otis: I was thinking of my two-year old filly, Emiline. She is a beauty...with very good blood lines, too.

Alfred: Yes. I was thinking of entering my five-year-old gelding, Thunderation. He is my pride and joy...also with good blood lines.

Levi: So, that would suggest I enter Josephine, my four-year old mare...with even better bloodlines than your two entries. Not that I would try to top either of you, of course. [laughter all around the table] I would also suggest that we take the opportunity to enter as ‘Weston Family, Farriers’ and include our farrier tools as an exhibit along with the horses. It can be educational, as well as draw attention to our business. I don’t think anyone would mind if we did that.

Alfred: Good idea. It sounds like we have decided to participate.

Otis: I think we each need to read those rules carefully, and get to work.

Levi: That is a great place to start. Let’s do it.

The horses were prepared well for the judging at the fair

A young Morgan with blond mane and tail
A young Morgan with blond mane and tail

Final preparations for the Fair animal competition

Judging for the animal competition would take place during the Saturday morning of the Fair on August 7, 1880. Awards would be announced at mid-day, so that ribbons earned would be on display with the animals for Fair attendees to see during the afternoon when the exhibits would be viewed by the general public. Therefore, it would be important to have someone with the animals continuously from early in the morning until sundown when the exhibits close.

Since the Weston family lived on the east edge of town, they decided to just get up very early, and take their horses over to their designated positions in the pole barn on the Fair grounds, in the southwest corner of town, at that time. As the horses were prepared for judging, they could also set out the farrier tool exhibit. It was not being judged. Then, they would each be available all afternoon to talk with visitors about their animals, their horses, in this case. Alfred had arranged to be away from the Sales Office on this Saturday. His boss, Trey Parks, was very supportive of the Weston family participating in the fair. Levi and Otis had made a sign for their shop inviting visitors to come over the fair grounds to see them there.

Since this would be the first time the Fair would be having a judged competition, everyone was a bit nervous about the whole situation. Levi had been careful in talking to Committee members to learn all he could about what would be happening without being involved in conversations that might be a conflict of interest. That had been a challenge, but he felt he had done it successfully.

They entered three very different Morgan Horses in the fair competition

A more mature Morgan
A more mature Morgan

The day of the Fair, a Saturday (OS14)

As planned, this Saturday began before dawn. Many stars still filled the clear sky when the three Weston men went about preparing their horses for the trip over to the Fair Grounds. They had decided that Alfred would saddle and ride Thunderation. Levi hitched Josephine to his buggy, in which he and Otis would ride, trailing Emiline on a rope tied to the buggy. They had their signs and their tools in the buggy as they slowly made their way across town to the Fair grounds. The weather was good, not too hot yet, as the morning went by. The horses were all prepared for the judges when they came by and the signs and tool exhibit were in place by mid-day.

As they hoped and expected, the Weston family did receive a Blue Ribbon for their animals, but the waiting time to find out, for sure, was a nervous time for all three of the men. They were each very thankful when the good word arrived, and each hugged their horse in thanks, as well as congratulating each other.

They each enjoyed the afternoon visiting with the fairgoers as they came through the Pole Barn looking at the animals in competition. During the afternoon, they each also took a little time off to visit the other animals on display, so they could enjoy seeing what other individuals and families had done, as well, since most were neighbors and friends. All in all, the day, the Fair, was viewed as a complete success and one that was likely to be repeated, over and over, in the coming years in Oak Springs and the Oak Creek Valley.

Note by the author

This episode continues the Levi Weston family saga fictional stories. Levi Weston family stories were included, from time to time, in the ‘Life in Oak Springs’ and ‘The Kings of Oak Springs’ stories elsewhere here on HubPages. Those stories occurred during the 1876-1886 time frame. This present series is reliving that period but from the viewpoint of this Weston family, through this second set of 20 episodes.

As noted in Episode L1 of this series of historical fiction family saga stories, all of the characters in this episode are fictional. Activities and events are consistent with known historical facts, but are entirely fictitious. The Weston characters, as well as the McDonalds, were first created as a part of “The Homeplace Saga” stories. The first 20 episodes of this Lx series filled in the early years of the lives of Levi, Jacob and their family.

Some of the stories of the "American Centennial at the Homeplace: The Founding (1833-1875)" collection of historical fiction family saga short stories have also been published on "The Homeplace Saga" blog, found at the link, below, including those introducing Levi and Jacob Weston.

These first 20 episodes of the Levi Weston story have been compiled into an ebook: “Weston Wagons West: Levi Weston, L1-20 (1823-1874).” Thank you for your support.

“The Homeplace Saga” historical fiction family saga stories are the creation of the author, William Leverne Smith, also known as “Dr. Bill.”

Video Book Trailer

Video Book Trailer

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    • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image
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      William Leverne Smith 4 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, Bill. Your visits and comments are always uplifting! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Those state fairs were huge back in the day. A great gathering place...great competitions...in many ways the event of the year. Perfect representation, Bill!

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