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It's Fair Time Everyone

July 30, 2008

Unless you live in a cave or have a very busy life, you will know that the Clark County Fair starts Friday, August 1st and goes through Sunday, August 10th.

I know that some of you have been working towards this event for a very long time and will be spending many hours/days out at the fair in ‘our little hole’. Well, when you’re out there, come over and say hi. Unless you are involved in 4-H and then we will probably come up to you and say hi.

My DH and I are members of Clark County Fair Mounted Patrol commonly called Fence Riders. This is a wonderful group of giving (crazy) people that spend time sitting in the parking lots of the fair grounds greeting folks (kids love the horses), finding lost cars (they just seem to sneak off) and just keeping the peace. After all we are the ones in the ‘white hats’. 

We are all volunteers and we fill up 30 stalls in our little Red Barn in the north east corner of the horse area. Many of us move in with trailers, campers or tents to spend the 10 days as an adult summer camp. We have to care for our own horses and be ready and cleaned up for fair visitors by 9:00 so the days are early. 

Our ‘job’ begins about 4:00 pm when we tack up and get into our uniforms in preparation for our 5 o’clock meeting. There we get our lot assignments and information about the show that night. At about 5:30 we line up Calvary style and ride out up the road and into our assigned parking lots. We all stay in this big parade formation through the lots as each team peels off into their lot and the rest ride on. We spend the early evening walking through our assigned lots watching for folks trying to sneak over the fences, pointing the way to the entry gates and just greeting the visitors. Sometimes we find cars with doors that have been left open (honest) that we close and occasionally we find cars blocking fire lanes that we have moved. Later in the evening we spend most of our time helping people find their cars and pointing them to the exits. We find lost kids and lost parents and one time we were able to assist the Sherriff’s department in finding a lost Alzheimer’s patient. About 9:30 the call goes out that ‘it’s time’ and the team in the farthest lot starts in, picking up teams in each lot as they pass through until we are all together in our Calvary lines coming back down the hill. We put our horses up, feed and water them and then a lot of us head off to the food court for dinner. One of the vendors stays open for us (most are closed by the time we get down there) and we all sit together, eat and tell stories about what we saw on our tour. A sea of white hats and red coats.

On several nights during the fair we try to keep the 4-H parents smiling while we help them line up and park during the 4-H horse clubs move in and move out. We help with traffic control for the draft horse shows and on the last Saturday we assist the Special Olympics Handicap Rodeo. 

We work at the Skamania County Fair as parking attendants (on foot) and at Christmas we put on a Christmas Roundup for disadvantaged children. Some of our members ride in the area parades and we usually have a group in the Rose Parade. This year our team won first place in their division! Also at the Rose Parade a group of us volunteer as coliseum escorts. We walk with each equestrian unit as they go through the 'spooky' coliseum at the start of the parade. We see the parade ‘up close and personal’. Fence Riders also operate as Clark County Mounted Search and Rescue. 

We are an active group and we have fun. Our meetings are the second Monday of each month at Pied Piper Pizza. If this sounds like fun, come and check us out.

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