Muddy good times: Fall Fair impresses despite the rain

A wet weekend did little to dampen the fun and friendly competition at the 72nd North Peace Fall Fair last weekend, and those who braved the rain were lucky to witness some new records and fall fair firsts.

Some 20-plus millimetres fell over the region Aug. 16 to 18, making for cool and muddy conditions for the horse and tractor shows, but there were enough breaks in the weather to enjoy the cattle showings, take in some music, and snack on ice cream and sno cones.

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“It’s really amazing that people in the North Peace think as much of this fair and what it does for the community to continue to come out and support it. It’s 72 years now, and tomorrow we start on 73,” said Bruce Christensen, president of the fall fair society.

“The volunteers, the commitment of the volunteers, the commitment of the citizens, and the vendors … you see the smiles on their faces, and it gives you gratitude that what you worked for and what you sweated for all year is for a reason.”

Joyce Marchant of Salmon Arm and her heavy horse team of Sunny and Jack ended the weekend on Sunday with a new fair record, pulling 11,500 pounds on the boat — 7,740 over team weight — and going home with first place.

The slick mud may have greased the boat, but it was still tough trotting for the horses. Gord Mackenzie of Fort St. John and his two teams of Jim and Ike, and Paul and Barney, couldn’t get their footing, finishing second and third with impressive 11,000-pound pulls.

Marchant and her team also took second in the heavy horse show at the Kiskatinaw Fall Fair the same weekend.

“I like going places I’ve never been before,” Marchant said. “I’m so impressed with the country, and I’m so impressed with the hills; you drive up a hill, down a hill, and up, and they’re big hills. I just love that.”

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Carli Tetrault with Nodin, English Pleasure Grand Champion, at the 72nd North Peace Fall Fair, Aug. 17, 2019. - Matt Preprost

Earlier in the weekend, Carli Tetrault of Fort St. John won English Pleasure and Halter Grand Champion honours, taking home two out of three Grand Champion classes in her first year at the fair.

She won the English Pleasure class with her horse, Nodin, and the Halter class with her horse, Micky, enduring two rainy mornings on the Saturday and Sunday with an ever-present smile.

“It was fun but it was quite cold at the same time. It was really good, I’m very proud of myself and I’m very proud of both of my horses,” said Tetrault, 15.

“It’s cold, so you’re not really focused on what you’re doing, you’re more focused on, “Oh, I’m getting out of the arena, I got to put on my coat.’ For the horses, it’s hard on their backs to work when they’re cold and wet. That was one of my concerns, but they still did really good.”

Tetrault trains at Desert Acres, and plans to return to the fair in 2020, and take part in other shows, too.

“Next year, I’ll go to quite a bit more and see where that takes me,” Tetrault said.

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Stella and Freyja Jarnagin had the grand champion goats at the 72nd North Peace Fall Fair, Aug. 17, 2019. - Matt Preprost

Herbert and Katharina Keuth of North Pine, and Dennis Davidson of Charlie Lake were named this year’s Pioneers of the Year.

The Jarnagin family of Upper Cache were named Farm Family of the Year for the second year in a row, with more than 70 entries in the show.

Barbara Jarnagin said taking part in the fair was a family tradition when she was young. Though she took a break when her family moved away, she’s picked up the tradition again with her husband and six children for the last seven or eight years. The fair has seen a revival in that time, Jarnagin said, noting that when she first returned, there were very few entries in the fair.

“It was sad for me, so I was trying to put in as much stuff as possible to keep this going,” Jarnagin said. “I really love the community part, it’s family and community.”

Volunteers continue to work to improve the fair, Christensen said.

“We had the wasps last year, we had the water this year — surely to goodness we get something good next year,” he said.

Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at editor@ahnfsj.ca.

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