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Today's word on journalism

May 8, 2009

The Last WORD


The Fat Lady Sings, Off-Key, Drools

At about this time every year, like the swallows to Capistrano or the buzzards to Hinckley, Ohio, the WORD migrates to its summer musing grounds at the sanitarium —St. Mumbles Home for the Terminally Verbose.

The reason is clear, and never moreso than as this season —the WORD's 13th —peters out.

It's been a fraught year of high palaver and eye-popping transition, both good and not-so-much. An interminable presidential campaign saga finally did end, and in extraordinary and historic fashion. Meanwhile, the bottom and everything that's below the bottom fell out of the economy, with families, homes, entire industries and —of particular interest to WORDsters and the civic-minded —dozens of daily newspapers ("I don't so much mind that newspapers are dying--it's watching them commit suicide that pisses me off." --Molly Ivins). . . all evaporating. What replaces them, from the individual to the institutional to the societal? Are we looking at a future of in-depth Tweeting?

As any newsperson or firehorse knows, it's hard to turn your back on day-to-day catastrophe --we just have to look at the car wreck. But even the most deranged and driven need a rest. As philosopher Lilly Tomlin once observed, "No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up."

So this morning, as a near-frost hovered over northern Utah, the unmarked van pulled into the driveway and the gentle, soft-spoken men in the white coats rolled the WORD out of bed and into a straitjacket for the usual summer trip to St. Mumbles, where the blathering one will be assigned a hammock and fed soothing, healthy foods --like tapioca, dog biscuits and salmon --while recharging the essential muscles of cynicism, outrage, sarcasm, social engagement and high-mindedness, in preparation for the next edition.
Summer well, friends.

Speak up! Comment on the WORD at

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Feedback and suggestions--printable and otherwise--always welcome. "There are no false opinions."

Richmond celebrates Holstein cattle with Black & White Days

By David Bowman

April 29, 2009 - RICHMOND | Richmond City is putting on its Black & White Days event at the Richmond Park on May 12 through May 18.

"Black & White Days is an annual event that allows the city to get together as a community and have some fun," Jeff Young, councilman, said. The events that are going on is the Holstein cow show, the horse pull, movies provided by the PTA & Richmond Youth Council, a local band will play at the park as well as there will be a breakfast hosted by the city council on May 18.

The Western Nation Spring Cattle Judging Contest comes from a long time tradition in Richmond. In 1912 some farmers decided they wanted to show off their cattle and it went so well that they did it the next year. In 1914, Bangs Disease, which caused late term abortions and fertility difficulties in cows, became a problem, and out of concern for the health of the cows, the farmers decided not to show their cows that year Craig Harris said.

"Richmond City has the longest running cattle show in the western United States," Harris said. "It has been going for a straight 94 years."

Richmond's cattle show has gained popularity over the years and is now one of the largest cattle shows in the U.S. Farmers bring their cattle from all over the country to have them shown.

There are restrictions to the show. The cows must be of Holstein breed and there are classes for each age of cattle. There are eight brackets for heifers. These brackets represent a three-month period in the heifer's age. For example, if a heifer was a year and two months old it would be shown with the other heifers that are within a year and year and three months old. For the older cattle there are eight classes that that require specific ages of the cattle. Much like for the heifers it is done the same way but instead of being three month gaps it is done in gaps of years.

"This year is looking to be a good one and we're planning something big for our 100 year anniversary show in 2015," Harris said. The cattle show has sponsors from all over the country and is a non-profit event and all the proceeds go to the exhibitors. The show will be held at 10 a.m. on May 13.

The next big event at Black & White Days is the horse pull. The horse pull is a contest of a horse's strength. The contest requires two horses to work as a team to pull a large amount of weight over 20 feet in distance.

Shane Spackman said, "This show hasn't been going for as long as the cow show but it is just as popular." Spackman said the stands and the area surrounding the event are packed with people every year.

Much like the cattle contest there are classes that the horses must be placed in before they can participate. These classes are done by weight. The light weight class is anything under 3,200 lbs. The middle weight is between 3,201 and 3,500 lbs. The heavy weight class is 3,501 lbs. and up. There is a 40 lb. weight allowance for the shoes on the horses.

Before the contest can start each participant draws numbers to see who goes first. The one that goes first picks the starting weight. The sleigh or boat that the horses pull weighs 2,000 lbs. Each round the weight is increased until there is a winner.

"The trick is to get it moving. If the horses are not secured equally it could really throw them off and they might not even get the boat moving." Spackman said. The horse pull will be on Saturday, May 16.

The events that are open for everyone will be movies presented by the PTA and Richmond Youth Council and the city council will be hosting the "Chuck Wagon Breakfast" Saturday at 7 a.m. There will be a local band playing on Friday evening. The movie "Bedtime Stories," will be a free showing on Friday, May 15 at 8:30 p.m. On Saturday, May 16 "Twilight" will be shown at 12 p.m. and "Bolt" at 2 p.m. "Bolt" will be shown again on Monday, May 18 "Bolt" at 6:30 p.m. Each of the movies with cost $2 a person.

Throughout Saturday there will be various events from the "Cow-A-Bunga" race, the open horse show, and a dairy foods contest. There is will be family activities from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. that will be at minimal cost if not nothing. The Relic Hall will also be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Relic Hall is currently exhibiting the "Daughters of Utah Pioneers" exhibit. The Black & White Days is open to everyone and all are invited to celebrate the festivities at the Richmond City Park.

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