Horse Days 2011–Inaugural edition

Spent four days in Belvidere, IL (last Thursday through Sunday) and have to admit it was much better than the last time I was there…on that previous occasion the alternator went out on my truck and I was forced to overnight there! This time I was there quite voluntarily, and I have to say that for a first-time effort, this horse expo was incredibly well-organized and also provided a lot of traffic to my booth.

Primo location--note the ATM machine! The restrooms were just to the left of that paint horse walking down the roadway. And for the first time ever, I was able to park my truck right next to my booth. Quite convenient for setup and teardown.

Primo location--note the ATM machine! The restrooms were just to the left of that paint horse walking down the roadway. And for the first time ever, I was able to park my truck right next to my booth. Quite convenient for setup and teardown.

For starters, my tent was located in a prime spot–right next to the ATM machine and the food and beverage ticket booth, and right across the roadway from the restrooms. Just about everyone had to go by at one time or another!

The fry bread stand...don't know what it has to do with Indians

The fry bread stand...don't know what it has to do with Indians

Brenda’s Fry Bread was located on the road behind my booth. I was really curious as to just what “fry bread” was, but wasn’t brave enough to ask. I saw it, and it looked like those puffy tortilla shells they used to serve salads in, except thicker. I’m sure it is one of those things that is horrible for your health, but tastes wonderful. As if plain old fry bread wasn’t enough, they also had fry bread pies…don’t even want to think about that.

Cossack Ivan the Black and Royal Czar, aka Bob Stifter and Diesel. Oh yeah, and Bob is 75 years old and still performing!

Cossack Ivan the Black and Royal Czar, aka Bob Stifter and Diesel. Oh yeah, and Bob is 75 years old and still performing!

I spent quite a while chatting with Ivan the Black, who made an appearance on his horse, Royal Czar. You can see some really cool photos of “Ivan” (also known as Bob) jumping over flames and spearing what appears to be a cantaloupe at the same time here: http://wildwestcossack.com/royal_czar.htm

But the best part about Bob and his horse has to do with how much they love bringing joy to kids. The costumes are kid-magnets, and Bob will take as many comers as possible and let them go for a little ride on his horse…for free.

So, all in all a good time. Horse Days was a bit different from your ordinary horse expo. In addition to the usual clinics, demos, and (of course) vendors, they worked to make it a family-friendly event by including a rodeo, horse show, dog agility, heavy-horse pulling contest , trail horse obstacle course competition, a petting zoo, and I can’t even remember all the other stuff. So I think they will be on my calendar for next year…

About Alli Farkas

Equine and landscape artist specializing in rural Americana
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