Forget aggressive bulls and bucking broncos. Bring in the wily pigs and fleet-footed cows.
For this year's Pioneer Days Celebration Parade and Rodeo, the city of Carey is putting a new spin on a traditional event, creating numerous possibilities for family participation and public displays of heroism and hilarity.
The weekend will start on Friday, July 20, at 7 p.m. at the Carey Rodeo Grounds with entertainment provided by lawnmower races, a heifer-riding competition, a cash race for children 12 and under, and a motorcycle barrel race.
Carey Planning and Zoning Administrator Sara Mecham said she knows of residents who have been working on their lawnmowers for more than six months in preparation for the race and that the rodeo committee did a fantastic job implementing a new format that will encourage participation by people from all over the county.
Carey Mayor Rick Baird said this year's event will return to the past when the community had activities to participate in all day long.
"This will be very different from past years," Baird said "We won't just be watching professional cowboys."
Unfortunately, spectators won't get the chance to see Baird himself in action.
"The last time I was involved in one of these events, I ended up with two pins in my finger," Baird said laughing. "This year I'll sit back and leave it up to younger folks."
The events will continue on Saturday with the Pioneer Days Parade, beginning at 10:30 a.m., the theme of which is "Western Pioneers."
The grand marshals for the parade are Reed and Nyla Weaver, whose long histories in Carey, as well as their congenial personalities, earned them this special honor.
"This is an official function to honor people who have been meaningful to the entire valley and especially this city," Baird said.
While Nyla Weaver was born and raised in Carey, her husband, Reed, moved to the city in 1945 and the two wed seven years later. Nyla left her family farm with Reed as they moved to Blackfoot where Reed worked for the Idaho National Laboratory's fire department. Although Reed remained on the fire department for 12 years, the couple moved back to Carey in 1957, into a house that Reed built with his youngest son, David.
"We dug the basement of the house with shovels, and the only piece of machinery we had was a small cement mixer," Reed said. "It took forever. In fact, we're still working on it."
The pair remembers a time when Carey had no more than 250 residents.
"And Nyla was probably related to 175 of them," Reed said with a laugh.
Reed retired in 1988, though the heart surgery he underwent two years later hasn't slowed him down, as made evident by the frequently used welding workshop next to his house. Nyla worked for 14 years at the Blaine County Courthouse in Hailey, joining her husband in retirement in 1997.
Though the pair have witnessed immense changes in Carey, both in the numbers of people and buildings, they said they remain proud to call it home and appreciate the time they get to spend with their three children, two of whom live nearby.
Following the parade, a lunch will take place at the Carey LDS Church, and three-on-three basketball and volleyball tournaments will commence at Carey Community Park. These events will begin at noon. Team penning will begin at 1 p.m.
The evening festivities will start at 7 p.m. with stick-horse barrel racing for children up to eight years old and three-legged, wheelbarrow and sprint footraces. Perhaps the most entertaining competition of the weekend, pig wrestling, will cap off what's promising to be a fantastic celebration in Carey.
Tickets for the rodeo are $5 per person and free for participants and children under the age of 5. For more information and event registration, please see the calendar on www.cityofcarey.com.