Monday, March 21, 2011

Ostrich Races Anyone? Or Maybe Camel Races?

I’m sitting out a “no internet” break because of the weather, so I thought I’d share a few more pictures from the visit to Southern California..  While we were down there, the Riverside County Fair and Indio Date Festival opened.  My Aunt, Uncle, a cousin and her husband, my Mom and I decided to go check it out.  The palm trees that you see behind the magic lamp are date palms and are all that's left of a huge grove of date palms that used to be there.  The groves of date palms are "moving" out of the town of Indio into the desert surrounding the city. 

Of course, while there we just had to watch the races.  It’s been a tradition at the Date Festival for many years to have the ostrich and camel races.  I can remember watching them as a kid when the family went to the fair and I can also remember how funny the guys looked mounted on those big birds..  Well, I have to tell you.  The guys still looked funny on those big birds.  As you can see from the picture to the left, the race guys have a nice little flock of birds.  They also had a few emus in a pen in the back, but I couldn’t get into a good position to get a good picture of them.

Here’s a view of the ostriches and their riders getting ready to race.  If you look close, you can see 2 of the riders getting mounted on their birds.  The 3 guys at the gates are actually trying to keep the gates closed as the birds were bumping hard against the enclosures.

 And... They're off!

About halfway around the track, the ostrich that was carrying the fellow in the white shirt decided it didn't want to run for the finish line.  It stopped dead, nearly throwing the rider off.  Then it started to spin and that did throw the rider off..

It took the rider and two other guys to get the ostrich back under control and headed towards the finish line and the pens.

The ostrich race was followed by a zebra race...

 Then we watched another ostrich race, only this time the birds were pulling chariots.  The fellow in red won the race followed by the one in white that you can see just exiting the starting gate.  The fellow in blue brought up the rear.

Then the race people brought 6 young boys down out of the stands.  Volunteers.  The older boys got to "race" the emus.  No riding, they just chased the birds towards the finish line.  All 3 boys were grinning from ear to ear at the end...  

The 3 littlest boys got to "race" chickens.  They had a much shorter distance to chase the chickens overall, but their race took the longest because the chickens ran every which way and most of the time, not towards the finish line.

The final race was the camel race.  As you can see from the picture, the fellow in yellow had a bit of trouble controlling which direction his camel ran.

 And at the halfway point, the fellow in red was in the  lead with the one in green following in second place.
 And the fellow in yellow brought up the rear. LOL! 

After the races were over, we wandered the fairgrounds viewing the arts and crafts that were entered in the competitions and of course, we had to have a "date shake".  We bought some fresh dates to bring home with us, as well.  We all had a great time at the fair and were ready for some serious sitting down when we left.

And, I see now that I have internet again... Hurray!  One disadvantage to living in a small town that isn't terribly close to a larger city is the fact that we are limited in our choices for "entertainment".  We have no option of cable TV, we are limited to satellites.  We don't have fiber optic cables for our telephones, so we are unable to get DSL for our internet.   The choices for internet are pretty limited.  Dial-up, satellite or wireless broadband.  I tried the satellite route and was very dissatisfied with the service.  It was barely better than dial-up which I wasn't going back to.  So, wireless broadband it is.  Until the weather knocks out the power to the town.  Oh well.  We got our power back yesterday midday and internet came back this morning.  Yay!  Enjoy the pictures!

1 comment:

JenPB said...

DATE festival!? Humph! We loved the old Prune Festival. It's just not the same now that they've gone all DATE on us! ;)