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Postcard from the Past - ‘Slow Auto Race’ Event New at 1916 Fair

Written by Dick Perue

Livestock, vegetable, flower and grain exhibits, bread and cake baking competition, art displays, horse and foot races and a bucking contest were the usual events staged at the Carbon County Fair held in Saratoga in early September.

However, several new and novelty events were featured in 1916 according to an article in the Sept. 7 issue of “The Saratoga Sun.”

The hometown weekly newspaper reports:

“The ladies' nail-driving contest had several enthusiastic entries and competition was lively...This contest was driving two 40-penny spikes in a log, and the fastest time was 12.5 seconds.

“The half-mile running race, which was the big event of the afternoon, was taken by the McPherson horse first, with McPhail second and was a very close race among the three contestants.

“The ladies’ potato race was taken by Mrs...

“The novelty race, in which there were 12 entries, was won by Harry Anderson, with Jack Tapers second.

“The ladies' foot race was won by...

“The start of the Carbon County Championship Bucking Contest showed the following entries:...The string of buckers was heavy, and all of the boys made excellent rides, except..., whose horse came very near falling and was compelled to ‘pull’ a little leather, although the boy seemed to be a good rider, but this disqualified him for the finals.

Second day

“The afternoon program Tuesday started with the Rep race, which consisted in the riders going to bed with chaps and boots off, getting up, dress, saddle one horse, pack the other with a diamond hitch and run around track, half mile. This race had five entries...

“The fast half-mile burro race was taken in by...

“Following the burro race was the ladies' nail-driving contest for non-winners.

“The relay race was contested between Harry Anderson and Chas. McPhail, with Anderson being an easy winner. This was 2.5 miles, change saddle and ride five horses. Anderson’s work was perfect in the fact that he never made a single wrong move and was sure of his ground every foot. This was close enough to be interesting until the fourth horse.

“The slow auto race had about 12 entries, but most of them quit before they got far... This race was one-half mile in high gear, and the slow time was something over nine minutes.

“The riders up in the big bucking contest the second day were... From these were chosen the three former for the finals. All of the boys put on splendid rides, but it was plain that Cook made the three cleanest rides, drawing good buckers. Baiers put on a fine ride at the last. Tapers was thrown, virtually after having made the ride. His horse bucked to the fence, and he loosened up in the saddle, preparing for the fence jump he figured the horse was going to make; upon reaching the fence the horse turned, not jumping, but Tapers did.

“Arrah Wanna won the money for the best bucker.

“The town was well-lighted, and the evenings were spent in the picture shows and the dance hall. The fair put up a pavilion under canvas, which was used for a part of the evening the first night for dancing and was intended to be used the second night for the street mask ball but a rain cooled things off and there were only a few masked.

“Owing to the sudden illness of Prof. Bowman of the University he was unable to attend the Fair and lecture, which was a disappointment to the people as well as the association officials.”