Well, unfortunately today I cannot brag that my 8+ hour drive from Boise to Tillamook resulted in yet another amazing just-under-the-wire arrival in time for first post. For that did not happen ... thanks in large part to the fact that somehow I'd got the mistaken notion that first post was 2:00, not the 1:00 that it really was. If McChump #2 was along, he'd tell me what was what: ... "You dummy!" But he wasn't, so I had to tell myself. Dummy.
But luckily, things were running slow at the old Tillamook County Fair, and I only missed three. Then deemed #4 unbettable. So went out into the fair to search out stick food items, finding a tasty Pronto Pup ($3.50). Pups: Make mine pronto!
And, by the way, this fair seems to have gotten out of hand since I was here last as far as costs. $5 to park. $10 to get in. $9 for a damn pulled pork sammich I did not buy. $5 for a microbrew in the beer garden, and $4 for a crummy small draft Bud. Hey Tillamook ... your fair isn't THAT special ... hell, your damn midway didn't even have Tilt-A-Whirl!
But that's pretty much the only complaint. It was a good afternoon, and a decent (if not as big as last time I was here) racing crowd, and all the usual jock suspects were on hand (well, maybe ... where was Joe Crispin?), and the fair food I did buy was good. The fair seemed just a bit cheesier and smaller than I remembered, though, perhaps by the light of day, and I lost back the money I won at Les Bois the night before, but all in all, it was an afternoon well spent. And the best announcer in the western hemisphere Dean Mazzuca was there, too, but he didn't put on nearly the show I remembered from Prineville lo those many years ago. C'mon Dean ... you have so much more to offer!
Note here the pre-race bricks of cheese they're still handing out to each stable, perched on the backs of the saddling stalls. If that don't make you want to run an honest race, I just don't know what's wrong with you as a human.
Yeah, we had some whopper pools.
An infield full of junk rivalling Churchill. And note the stage where tonight, that up-and-coming band .38 Special was slated to play.
And speaking of pigs which I wasn't, the pig barn was just out behind the jocks room, so I went down there once between races. And wouldn't you know it, a pig was misbehaving as pigs will, escaped from its handler, and went running down the shedrow to much consternation, apparently even endangering me personally as it ran by me, judging by the frantic chase. But it only looked like a pig to me. Which of course ... of course ... leads up to the highlight of the afternoon ... Pig 'n Ford racing!
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They grabbed their pigs! They're ready to go!
And there they go, pigs under arms! And a mid-race pig swap!
And yes, it was every bit as entertaining as it looks (and sounds).
Yet tragically, the news no one wants to read, there was a Pig 'n Ford related injury on the afternoon. Oh, not to a pig so far as I know, but to a human participant, who apparently suffered some variety of pig-flingin' injury during the frantic pig exchange between laps, and was forced to leave the race sans pig, driving off into the clubhouse turn and possibly eternity in his Model T, hunched over in obvious pain and holding his shoulder or some other wing part. Years from now, I imagine, when the arthritis sets in and he gets creaky, he'll be telling the grandkids, "Yep, it's the old Pig 'n Ford Racing injury", and they will all nod knowingly.
Farewell, Tillamook, until next time.