The Western Idaho Fair is famous for good, clean family fun. And if you’re on a budget, there’s no better value in town. For just the price of admission ($7 for adults and $4 for children before August 18), the Fair delivers this summer’s greatest acts. Here’s the lineup:
Manning the info booth at the Fair might sound like a boring job to some. But for the women in the Garden Valley Mustang Sallies horse drill team, it’s a fun way to spend an afternoon—and raise money for their passion.
The Mustang Sallies are a group of friends from Garden Valley who share a love of riding. A number of them have been working the info booth at the Fair since 2007 as a fundraiser for the team to purchase equipment, and pay competition expenses. When the horse drilling competition came to the Fair a few years back, they were delighted to compete at the Fair in addition to working the booth, according to Karen Viehweg, the team’s treasurer.
“We all like to do it so much that some of the gals who are not able to ride still want to do the info booth,” she confirms. “We just love seeing people, some year after year, and making their day at the Fair enjoyable.”
Mustang Sallies compete in two Light Horse competitions at the Fair: the four-woman “quad” competition, and the eight- to twelve-person team freestyle competition. In each event, the team is judged on how well they execute their routines, hold formations, and on the behavior of the horses overall.
Music choice is an essential component because horses love good beats, explains team president Mary Jo Dawson. “The horse will lope to the beat of the music—the faster the music, the faster the horse will move. And routines look better when they’re done faster.”
Any dancer will tell you that developing choreography requires lots of time and practice. Horse choreography, then, requires training the horse in addition to team coordination, communication, and practice. Many teams work the majority of the year to get ready for the Fair. But without an indoor arena, weather in the Garden Valley area prevents the Mustang Sallies from getting together much more than three or four months in advance of the contest.
Winning isn’t the most important thing, though. “We all enjoy the competition, and it’s a great, supportive riding community,” says Mary Jo. “Mostly we all do it to become more confident riders and for the fun.”
So this year, if you’re feeling lost, or just want a friendly chat, visit the info booth to say hi to the Sallies. Then come cheer them on at their competitions on August 25.
You might do a double-take if you see the Boehms out walking their pet around the neighborhood. It’s not a dog, or even a cat—but a sheep. Not a common sight on Boise City’s residential streets.
But raising animals, and civic responsibility, is a family affair for the Boehms. Kristin Boehm grew up in 4-H and participated all throughout her childhood. So when she and her husband started their family of four boys, they knew that 4-H was the path that they wanted for them.
“I told the kids that they couldn’t have an animal in the house unless they were doing something productive with it,” explained the self-described 4-H lifer and current civilian officer in the Garden City Police Department.
In addition to productive animals, Kristin has raised three very focused and well-spoken young men who embody core 4-H values. Her fourth son is just beginning his 4-H experience as a cloverbud.
Marcus, her oldest, is competing at this year’s Fair with his current project: a Holland Lop bunny named Sweetie, whose babies are due any minute now. “This year I’m really trying to focus on good breeding, improving her lineage. I want big bunnies.” Big, healthy bunnies, he hopes, that will win him blue ribbons for quality.
In addition to his individual project, Marcus serves as a camp counselor for 4-H Kid's Camp, and as a 4-H ambassador, spreading the “gospel” of 4-H to others.
His brother Ethan does it too—even appearing on television to highlight the benefits of 4-H—and also serves as a camp counselor to younger members and teen leader for a cloverbud bike safety program.
“The animal projects didn’t work out,” Ethan says without further explanation. Instead, the civic-minded 15-year-old chose the Know Your Government project, or KYG. KYG participants research a topic and propose a bill, with students playing the roles of legislators, reporters, and lobbyists. Ethan most recently played the role of reporter, conducting interviews with participants and ultimately reporting about the bill the students proposed—banning energy drinks from schools.
The day we met, Kristin’s younger son Logan was off at Natural Resources camp, a joint venture between 4-H and the University of Idaho. During the six-day camp, students learn about forestry, meet with wildfire fighters, and get a sense of other outdoors activities like fishing and shooting. She says he’s looking forward to his animal project next year.
So what are the chances that the youngest Boehm boy will be a 4-Her? We’re guessing greater than the chance that you’ll see a sheep on your next dog walk.