“Chapple Heritage Days,” which began in 1999 during Chapple’s centennial celebration, has become an annual event that attracts people from across the district and beyond to the Both farm and homestead just north of Barwick.
The rainy weather on Friday afternoon had committee members a little worried as they finalized plans for this year’s celebration. Last year, approximately 75 people braved the elements, refused to give into the rain and were chased into the Both’s garage in order to enjoy the music of local musicians.
This year, however, the rain ceased, as if on cue, at approximately five o’clock and “Chapple’s Heritage Days” opened with a traditional bonfire, hot dog and marshmallow roast and an evening full of country music provided by various musicians from across the district.
Approximately 175 people brought their chairs, gathered around the fire and enjoyed a fantastic evening meeting old friends and singing along to some familiar favourites.
“The number of people at least equaled one of our better years and may have even surpassed it,” enthused Steve Both.
Each year since Chapple’s centennial, Steve and Joan Both have opened up their beautiful property to this popular event.
The Chapple Heritage Day committee, realizing how much effort it takes to prepare for the various activities, decided to show their appreciation by presenting the Both’s with a special gift.
“We decided to honour Steve and Joan with a unique set of wind chimes,” commented Heather Oltsher.
The gift, complete with a plaque, was presented to the surprised couple around the bonfire Friday evening.
Saturday morning’s activities began under misty skies, but true to form, a good sized crowd was on hand to watch the traditional tractor parade and pull.
The parade was led, as in other years by Jim and Glen Jackson’s 1927 Whippet complete with live music provided by Bill Clink and Terry Pruitt, a guest fiddler from Oklahoma, who not only has property in the district, but also used to brink her horses up to the Rainy River District Agricultural Fair.
The tractor pull competition went off without a hitch this year. The field was in great shape and the competition was close.
Number 1 in the lawn tractor classification was Stan Olson on a 1971 John Deere, a modified model 110. In the light tractor category, Lance Salchert finished first on a 1949 Ferguson model 18.
The other competitors in this category were: Charlie Morken (1948 John Deere model M); Randy Both (1950 Massey-Harris model 20); and Larry Jack (1947 Empire model 80-90).
In the mid-weight category the finishers were: Wayne Salchert on a 1945 John Deere model BR; Don Strom on a 1941 John Deere B; Ted Zimmerman on a 1955 John Deere 40; and Glen Jackson on a 1938 Fordson model N.
The heavyweight awards went to: Charlie Morken on a 1960 John Deere model 730; Philip Carr on a 1959 Fordson Power Major; Murray Wilson on a 1956 International WD9; and Gary Barker on a Farmall M.
Following the successful tractor pull, some people purchase a delicious bag lunch for only $5 while others visited the Both homestead farmhouse.
Throughout the day, a big hit with many people were the wagon rides and the rides in the 1927 Whippet, owned by brothers Glen and Jim Jackson.
The saddle horse club returned again this year with some of imaginative activities such as a horse version of musical chairs, a wheel barrow/horse challenge, burlap sack race and a race where the rider had to ride to the end of the field, blow up a balloon and return to the starting line with the balloon in the mouth.
The annual coin and candy hunt returned again this year, with the children a large group of enthusiastic kids hunting through a pile of hay for money and candies.
Hay literally flew through the air and the kids searched for their prizes.
The “Hatchet Hunt” also returned this year.
This activity which was open to all ages had everyone searching through the area near the old homestead in search of a hatchet which had been hidden in the trees.
The winner this year was Lindsey Westover, who got to keep the brand new hatchet as her reward.
The day finished with the annual watermelon eating contest which attracted a large number of participants from all age groups.
Winners in each category were allowed to choose a prize from the prize table. Everyone, however, enjoyed the competition and the excellent watermelon, which was supplied by Glen and Karen Jackson.
The Chapple Heritage Day committee would once again like to thank Steve and Joan Both for the use of the beautiful property and the many volunteers for the hours that it took for them to prepare for this year’s Heritage Day celebration.
The only question that remains is, can they do again next year?