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Hurley and Evelyn Legg

All's fair for Western Idaho Fair veterans

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God only knows where he would put another trophy.

"Yeah, I've got one or two," said Hurley Legg, 89, with a grin.

But when we stepped inside the home of Hurley and Evelyn, his bride of nearly 63 years, practically every square inch of countertops, shelves and mantle space overflowed with trophies.

Hurley has shown numerous animals, particularly draft horses, for decades at the Western Idaho Fair, which runs Aug. 16-25 at the Expo fairgrounds in Garden City.

"I haven't missed one in 37 years," he said.

But the real fair veteran is Evelyn, who will turn 81 years old on Aug. 18, when the fair will be going full-tilt. She worked in the fair's premium office for 35 years and served as the office's manager for 26 years, overseeing all bookkeeping for each of the fair's departments before retiring in 2007.

When Boise Weekly asked fair officials to talk with someone about the annual event, past and present, they didn't hesitate a moment before suggesting Evelyn and Hurley.

BW visited the Leggs' back porch to sit a spell--in rocking chairs, of course--and talk with this fair-minded couple, while no less than a mule, draft horses, giant steer and their dog, Tuff, looked on.

How did the two of you meet?

Hurley: On horseback. We took a ride out in the country, back when there were no fences.

Evelyn: It was 1946. I was still in Meridian High School, and when I graduated in 1950, we were married that same year.

How many children do you have?

Hurley: Two boys and a girl.

Evelyn: Plus six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Hurley, I hear that you still go to work every day.

Hurley: I've worked for Wheeler Farms for 63 years. Today, I do whatever needs to get done. I've been mowing hay lately, now it's time to start baling.

How long have you been showing your mules and horses?

Evelyn: In 1977, he started exhibiting mules, and then he went to draft horses.

Hurley: One year, I had nine head at the fair.

Did you have favorite draft horses?

Hurley: You have good 'uns and bad 'uns.

But which were the best?

Hurley: That had to be Belle and Blackie. I used them 15 years.

And how about this year?

Hurley: I've got Kate and Kim.

Evelyn: They'll be driven in four different classes: Hurley, the kids, the grandkids and this year, our great-grandson, Trevor, is going to give it a try.

What was it like for you, Evelyn, working at the fair year in and year out?

Evelyn: When I first started, everything was done by hand with paper. I always thought it was fun, as long as your work was planned out ahead of time. I worked for seven different managers.

You must have known thousands of competitors over the years.

Evelyn: I used to be pretty good, but now, I see them and I can't remember their names, but I can usually tell you what kind of animal they showed.

Do you like fair food? [Evelyn let out a big laugh.] Why are you laughing?

Hurley: She would walk from here to the fair for a Pronto Pup.

Evelyn: It's true.

Hurley: I like the hamburgers.

What else do you like to do?

Evelyn: I like the carnival.

To watch?

Evelyn: Goodness, no. To ride.

Hurley. You name it, she'll ride it.

Evelyn: I love that tilt-a-wheel. I went on twice last year with my granddaughter.

How about you Hurley?

Hurley: No.

But don't you watch?

Hurley: No.

Evelyn, the kids must love that you like the rides.

Evelyn: Some of the older kids won't do it, but my granddaughter goes with me.

Hurley, I must point out that we've got a steer looking at us from the other field.

Hurley: He was the son of a grand champion. He probably weighs 1,100 pounds now.

Did you name him?

Hurley: Oh, no. He's for eatin' You don't name the steer. He'll end up as T-bones. I know; I'll call him Mr. T.

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