Sam Steele Days kicks off the summer

Why Barry Coulter thinks 2013 was the best Sam Steele Days yet.

I must say it — after attending 15 straight Sam Steele Days, I think 2013 was the best one yet. And no, I did not spend all day at the bocce park, though the time I did spend there was pretty fun.

There seemed to be a heightened sense of anticipation ahead of the event, though maybe that was just my heightened sense of anticipation. Maybe it was the perfect weather (Saturday, anyway). Thank you, Cranbrook. I had a blast.

Let me present a personal list of vignettes that made my Sam Steele Days great. For space reasons I’m leaving out the mega-ball tournament, the soccer, the sudden proliferation of pancake breakfasts, and other aspects of Sam Steele Days that would be major events on their own.

• My favourite part of the parade is the passing of the Carlaw Clydes. I always position myself near the start of the parade so I can see the team of six giant Clydesdales turn the corner onto Baker Street, champing and stamping in unison.  When they stop for a second, I run up to get as close as I can — even though they look like they would like to stomp me into pancake flour. The Carlaw Clydes always send a chill up my spine. They’re like something from Norse mythology.

(My secret favourite part of the parade is waving at the visiting “royalty” — youth ambassadors from our town and others, riding in the backs of convertibles and waving at the crowd. Something pleasingly old-fashioned about it.)

• The fairgrounds and the downtown events are like Waikiki, Hawaii — really crowded, but no one minds in this case. Rotary Park is just a wee bit too small for the thousands who crowd into it, but it is still the best place in town for the fairgrounds.

• The Strongman Competition is a compelling sight, and so think the hundreds who crowd the bleachers, but I find it difficult to watch because of negative autosuggestion. I watched the competitors heft the 300-pound concrete balls, pull the semis, and other feats of which I am completely incapable, but nonetheless I feel phantom muscles in my back shred into pulled pork. Visions of my tendons snapping and bones breaking flood my imagination. I can’t even watch the volunteers take the big concrete balls off the barrels where the competitors have lifted them, for I immediately imagine one of them falling on my foot, pulverizing it. I am forced to turn away, and so I wander over to the Wiener Dog Races.

• Who would have thought that pitting small canines not generally renowned for their speed against each other would pack them in on 10th Avenue. The Wiener Dog Races are now in their fourth season, and spectators start lining up early. I had to stand on my tiptoes in the fourth row to see the action. And what action it was. With all that maximum cute factor, there’s only one thing that can make the Wiener Dog Races better, and that’s gambling on them. We must lobby to change the laws, then we can simply apply horse-racing gambling rules to the Wiener Dog Races — exactas, superfectas, minus pools, morning line odds, overlays and paramutuels, etc. What could possibly go wrong with this?!

• Here’s a shout-out to Angus MacDonald, who I ran into in the free coffee line-up downtown. He was wearing his kilt and pipe-band finery, but his feet were bare, and looked red and swollen. “My shoes are too small,” he lamented. Angus had marched the length of the parade route with the Kimberley Pipe Band, then down to Rotary Park to perform at the fairgrounds. He was then off to Kimberley to perform at Lobster Fest, then back down to Cranbrook to perform at the Festival  Gardens with the Good Ol’ Goats. Now that’s rockin’ and rollin.’

(Not to mention the nasty gash sustained by Goat Nolan Ackert, resulting in the photo of the blood-soaked banjo current making the rounds on social media. Ackert gashed his digit early in the Goats’ show, but didn’t miss a beat, so to speak. Now that’s rockin’ and rollin.’)

• No, I didn’t spend all day at the Bocce event in Baker Park, but I did spend a little time, and it was time well spent (well, maybe not well-spent in the Protestant work ethic sense). Hosting the event in Baker Park was the genius moment of this year’s Sam Steele Days. Next year should see the bocce event boom, and Cranbrook will suddenly challenge Kimberley’s JulyFest — “Canadian Bocce Championships,” as they’re known — for bocce uproariousness.

Just think of it — our neck of the woods as the world centre of bocce tournaments featuring outrageous costumes and saucy names. Putting us on the map, as they say.

• Speaking of costumery, we at the Townsman are smugly proud to announce our first place finish for the third year in a row, for Staff Costuming (16 plus employees). We’re putting out the challenge to other businesses (16 plus employees) to knock us off our pedestal and quell our arrogance. Do you dare?

Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

It happened this week in 1914

June 13 - 19: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers… Continue reading

Prince Charles Secondary School
School District 8 votes in favour of name change for Secondary School in Creston

In an act of reconciliation, a new name will be chosen for Prince Charles Secondary School

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison. Photo courtesy Conservative Party of Canada.
MP Morrison appointed to parliamentary national security committee

Kootenay-Columbia parliamentarian one of five candidates appointed to national security committee

Repaving of Victoria Ave (3rd St. S. to 11th St. S.) began on Monday, June 12. Drivers are asked to please avoid the area for the remainder of the day, if possible. Please watch for and obey directions from flaggers and signage, as the detours will be moving regularly. Photo courtesy City of Cranbrook.
Road construction, repaving programs well underway

Local road construction and repaving work continue apace, as summer programs get… Continue reading

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

(Black Press Media stock photo)
RCMP name 2015 homicide victim near Creston, investigation ongoing

26-year-old Clint Wolfleg was found dead in a private residence on May 31, 2015

Queen’s counsel Paul Doroshenko, a Vancouver lawyer, has been suspended from practice for two months after admitting that his firm mismanaged $44,353.19 in client trust funds. (Acumen Law)
High-profile B.C. lawyer suspended over $44K in mismanaged client trust funds

Queen’s counsel Paul Doroshenko admits to failing to supervise his staff and find, report the shortage

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., center left, reaches over to Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., joined by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., center, and members of the Congressional Black Caucus as they celebrate the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act that creates a new federal holiday to commemorate June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people after the Civil War, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 17, 2021. It’s the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Biden to sign bill making Juneteenth a federal holiday

New American stat marks the nation’s end of slavery

Athena and Venus, ready to ride. (Zoe Ducklow - Sooke News Mirror)
Goggling double-dog motorcycle sidecar brings smiles to B.C. commuters

Athena and Venus are all teeth and smiles from their Harley-Davidson sidecar

Kimberly Bussiere and other laid-off employees of Casino Nanaimo have launched a class-action lawsuit against the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
B.C. casino workers laid off during pandemic launch class-action lawsuit

Notice of civil claim filed in Supreme Court of B.C. in Nanaimo against Great Canadian Gaming

A Photo from Sept. 2020, when First Nations and wild salmon advocates took to the streets in Campbell River to protest against open-pen fish farms in B.C.’s waters. On Dec. 17, federal fisheries minister Bernadette Jordan announced her decision to phase out 19 fish farms from Discovery Islands. Cermaq’s application to extend leases and transfer smolts was denied. (Marc Kitteringham/Campbell River Mirror)
Feds deny B.C.’s Discovery Island fish farm application to restock

Transfer of 1.5 million juvenile salmon, licence extension denied as farms phased out

John Kromhoff with some of the many birthday cards he received from ‘pretty near every place in the world’ after the family of the Langley centenarian let it be known that he wasn’t expecting many cards for his 100th birthday. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Cards from all over the world flood in for B.C. man’s 100th birthday

An online invitation by his family produced a flood of cards to mark his 100th birthday

Most Read