In The Desert
Peg Leg Smith
Anza Borrego Desert State Park
First Saturday of April every year.
People from all of thw world come down to this annual event in the desert. This year it was covered by writer, Dave Taylor.
I went to the 38th revival of the Peg Leg Smith Liars Contest on Saturday. I have heard of it all my life, and yet this was my first attendance. I did not participate, but merely witnessed. Indeed, I Witnessed The Truth with Fossil Phil and Dead Elvis.
You had to be there.
Content including photographs are Copyright © 2013 - Present - Don & Linda Gilmore
Now if you don't know, Thomas L. Smith is Peg Leg Smith, and by all standards, even back then, in the early 1800's not a nice man. But apparently (as the story goes) he found an area near in Southern California's desert that contained gold. No one has ever found it since. The contest is a nice get together held at the Peg Leg Memorial 7 miles east of Borrego Springs on Route S-22. You can do a search on Google if you want more info on this famous lost gold, it's an interesting story, with a lot of twists. But what's new, all treasure stories are like that. Back to the contest.
Lowell Lindsay of Lowell and Diana Lindsay fame MC'd the show with a Sierra Nevada in his hand, endearing him to me for all time. Diana Lindsay gave us the historic facts of Thomas 'Pegleg' Smith, and then the Lying began.
This is as off-the-cuff as you can get. The Mayor of Borrego Springs poked and prodded audience members to Tell Their Tales' onstage. Innocent children were seduced into participating, much to the delight of the two hundred-odd multitude.
I did not catch the name of the fire master. His contribution was an integral part of the show.
Individuals operating under pseudonyms like P.F. Smith sang songs to the horse thief Pegleg. The evening entertainment ended with the awarding of coveted genuine recycled trophies, which each victor chose from the pile of laurels.
There are two categories of participants; 'Kids' and 'Others'. I do think they need a third category, 'Professional', and then invite all the local politicians.
Diana pointed out that since Harry Oliver started the original Peg Leg Smith 'trek' back in 1916, which included a story-telling session at the end of the search for Smith's gold, the Peg Leg Smith's Liar's Contest might very well be the oldest continuous event of its kind.
I am even now calculating the date for next year, the first Saturday after April 1st, Harry Oliver's birthday. If only I can get my daughter to participate. She'll bring home the prize on any day of the week.
Thank you Dave!