Pickford Hay Days Celebrates Heritage of Farming Community, Early Settlers
Five banjo "pickers" took advantage of the opportunity to have their instruments blessed by Pastor Ron Bown, who made a connection between the banjos of today and ancient stringed instruments used in Biblical times.
"The banjo was an instrument that originated with the African Americans that settled in our country, but stringed instruments were actually a big part of the Bible, going back about 5,000 years," Pastor Bown said.
Eight hundred years before the birth of Abraham, he said, people played an instrument called the zither, and he recalled many references in the Bible to the use of music to soothe the soul and to express joy. In keeping with that tradition, he gave thanks for the talent of the banjo players gathered in a circle around him, and asked "that the Lord bless not only the banjos they play, but the players themselves." Richard Frank of Sault Ste. Marie, Dave and Richard Morrison of Pickford, Shirley Patrick of Dafter, and Fred Raden of Pickford all had their banjos blessed that evening.
This year's Hay Days theme was Pickin' and Grinnin,' referring to banjo "pickers" (named for the string-plucking action they use to play the instrument), and the blue grass music played by the community's settlers.
Pickford Hay Days 2007 Queen Janet Thompson presided over the event, after she was crowned Friday night by 2006 Queen Kaylynn Portice. Other queen contestants included Jamie Rifenberg, Erica Leach, Holly Wondergem, and Emily Johnson. They were accompanied by 2007 Prince and Princess Alec Firack and Krysta Wondergem. The 2007 Belle, Deanna Salo, was accompanied by her son, Keith Salo of Las Vegas, Nevada.
Miss Thompson was selected as queen based on her essay and an interview. Replying to the question, "what are you pickin' to keep you grinnin,'" she answered her faith, volunteerism, and her friends. Her faith has given her the reassurance in her life to allow her "to focus less on myself and more on others," she said. That has led her to volunteerism, which "always puts a smile on my face."
"It always makes me smile to know that I helped make someone else's day a little brighter," she said.
The friends who make her smile "have been there for me through thick and thin," she said.
"Without them, my life would not be nearly as exciting," she said. "They are some of the best choices I have made, and it makes me smile just to think of them."
A list of winners in some of the events that took place over the Hay Days week follows:
Hay Days Parade - Best Class Reunion Float: Class of 1982, featuring a giant inflated "Shrek" from the popular cartoon movie trilogy and the words, "The ogre we get, the better we get!"; Best Commercial or Business Entry: Jacobson Brick and Landscape, complete with trees, brick borders, and a fountain; Best Organization or Club Entry: Dafter Lions Mud Runs Truck Club; Best Musical Group: The Stevenson's Sand Ridge Gang; Best Theme Entry: Al Raynard's Family Farm, celebrating 130 years of "music and pickin' corn," according to the entry's sign; Best Antique Vehicle: Les and Gerrie Nyland of Moran and Ozark in a 1915 Ford Model T; Best Antique Tractor: Bill Watson's fully restored 1972 International Industrial Harvester; Best Team (of livestock): Rusty and Barney Nettleton's team of oxen pulling a covered wagon and Linda English's miniature horse team; Best Horse Riding Entry: Mark Schwab and Kurt Duncan; Best Off-Road Vehicle: Scott Rutledge Snowmobile Racing and rider Cody Campbell, and Best All- Terrain Vehicle Entry: Blake and Payton Mastaw. The Best Walking Entry was the Tittabawassee Valley Fife and Drum Band, which created an exciting spectacle with colorful colonial costumes, drummers, fife players, and the periodic firing of a musket as the band marched down the street.
Hay Bale Races - This year's Hay Bale Race returned to the traditional format of rolling round bales down the street, pitting twoperson teams against each other in a race to see who could roll the bales the fastest down Main Street. Team "Jarvie Brothers" of Rudyard, Delbert and Gale Jarvie, won the contest. Second place went to cousins Paul and Ben Morrison of Pickford.
The team of Dave Esslin of Goetzville and Barney Osborn of Kinross received a first place award donated in memory of the late Scott House, by his family. They were followed by Jim Cripe of Goetzville in second place; Joe Harrison of Goetzville in third place; Duane Bawks Pickford in fourth; Bob Hall of Pickford in fifth, and Carl Reich of Pickford in sixth. Duane Bawks also won the horsemanship award donated in memory of Don Nettleton. There was no lightweight contest this year.