ROBIN BOOKER/BRANDON SUN
Paul Neufeld of Brandon takes the lead of the fourth heat at the chuckwagon races at the Killarney fair on Saturday.
Wally Mitchell has come to the Killarney Fair ever since he can remember — he’s 56 years old so he figures this has to be his 56th fair.
Myles Ganske, 6, of Killarney and Logan Sitnik, 6, of Killarney take a break on an inflated play structure at the Killarney fair on Saturday. (ROBIN BOOKER/BRANDON SUN)
Brianna Gibson, 12, of Alameda; Saskatchewan rides in the 12 and under hunter seat competiton at the Killarney summer fair on Saturday. (ROBIN BOOKER/BRANDON SUN)
Just like his father and possibly his grandfather before him, Mitchell is the president of the Killarney Agriculture Society which organizes the fair.
More than 1,200 people attended the 130th annual Killarney Fair over the weekend, which included chuckwagon and chariot races, horse and cattle shows, beer gardens, as well as numerous events and games for children of all ages.
"Entries are up across the board — from the chuckwagons and chariots, to the horse and cattle shows, and even the baby animal fair has more entries," Mitchell said.
There were 27 chuckwagons and 21 chariots entered in the competition.
Randy Hodge, who is in charge of the horse events, said there was a higher number of entries in the chuckwagon and chariot races because of the increasing number of people coming up from North Dakota.
Sidhorn Baker came up from Cavalier, N.D. to compete in the chariot race. He travelled in a group of 19 people who brought along three chuckwagons and six carts.
"These guys have been doing this a lot longer then we have and if they see something that we aren’t doing right, or if there is something they can help out with they are more than happy to kick in and help out," Baker said. "One of my horses came up lame right before this race and one of the Canadian racers, Ken Kvemshagen, let me borrow one of his. Everyone up here has been real nice."
Lindy Mccollum came from Crystal, N.D. with a group of 25 people who brought 20 horses with them. It was Mccollum’s second trip to the fair and next year she hopes to compete in the chariot races.
Rhett Parks from Whitewood, Sask. came to do some camping, watch some horse racing and relax in the beer gardens.
"The campgrounds are great! A few of us may have stayed up a little later than was smart, but it wasn’t just young kids partying — there were people of all ages around the campfire having a good time … The chariots were my favourite part of the weekend so far. There is no organized betting, but when you’re with a bunch of friends and having a few drinks you sometimes like to show how much smarter (you are) than the rest of them are," Parks said.
The Killarney Fair runs smoothly because, according to Mitchell, there are so many people in the community helping out.
"We have really good people that handle their own area — the horse committee does a great job, the Killarney Curling Club handles the beer gardens, the Elks do the breakfast and the people handling the stage entertainment you never have to worry about," Mitchell said.
"They all know what they’re doing so I just don’t interfere. Actually my job is the easiest, I don’t really have to do a heck of a lot."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 2, 2012