Rutland, Vivaldi, and ripped blue jeans

Sweltering Sunday.  It’s the day when I spend time at the Altamont Fair, the final day for the 2015 Fair run.  During this day, I visited the animal barns, I checked out the stunt shows, I even tried to throw little plastic rings onto the necks of beer bottles to win a prize (no such luck this year).  And most of all, it’s my last chance to see how my photos did in competition.

Well, you already know that Aerochrome Falls picked up a nice ribbon for Honorable Mention – Color Film.  The other three pictures just received lots of oohs and aahs and, in the case of my lenticular magic-motion Vivaldi’s Pond photo, lots of rocking back and forth by people trying to figure out how I did it.

Well, Vivaldi’s Pond also received lots of attention.  And from what I heard from the supervisor of the photography competition, it received a slew of write-in votes for the People’s Choice award.  “You received more votes this year for that picture than any previous award winner,” the supervisor said to me.  “However, it was a close race and you came in second by only a few votes.”

Bumblebee hive artwork.  Congratulations to the People's Choice award winner 2016.
Bumblebee hive artwork. Congratulations to the People’s Choice award winner 2016.

The winning artwork was a recreation of a beehive, with yarn-crafted bumblebees buzzing in and out of the honeycomb.  Yeah.  No way could I have beaten that.  I will say this, though – whoever all of you were who wrote my photo down as People’s Choice, thank you so much.  I really appreciate your support and your votes.

Oh well.  Maybe next time.  Heck, I’m already thinking about what concepts and ideas might make it through for my four photos for Altamont 2016 –

Hey wait a second.   I entered five photos this year.  Yes.  Four in the art barn, and one at the dairy goats / sheep barn.  Yes, there is a category for goat photography.  No, I am not making this up.


Last year, while I was at the Vermont State Fair, I came across a cute little blue-eyed baby goat.  Okay, picture taken.  Now what?  I wasn’t going back to the Vermont State Fair for the foreseeable future… so…

Altamont has a goat photography category.  Again, I’m not making this up.  Okay, Rutland the Goat – yes, I named him after the location of the Vermont State Fair – do your best.  Make me proud.

And sure enough… looky here.

Rutland the Goat, blue ribbon award winner in the goat photography category.  Award-winning photo by Chuck Miller.
Rutland the Goat, blue ribbon award winner in the goat photography category. Award-winning photo by Chuck Miller.

That’s right, a big blue ribbon, my second ever blue at Altamont!  Rutland the Goat now joins The Jumbuck as blue-ribbon winners at Altamont.  Very happy.

So I’m walking around the Fairgrounds, checking out the various exhibits and rides and shows and whatnot…

And I don’t know what happened or when it happened.  All I know is that I heard a rrrrrrrrrip

I looked down.  Somehow, the pair of jeans developed a rip in the right knee.

Urgh.  Yeah, I know people pay good money for ripped blue jeans, but not when the rips are made accidentally.  So I could walk around the Fairgrounds with a big nasty rip in my jeans…

Or I could go back to my car… crud.  No spare pair of jeans in the car.

At this point in time, I have no choice.  I have to do something that I’m not truly comfortable doing.

I walked up to a couple of the parking attendants at the Altamont Fair parking lot.

“Any one of you guys have a knife I can borrow?”

Surprisingly… or maybe not surprisingly… one attendant did have a boxcutter knife.  He let me borrow it.  I immediately cut through the remaining jeans leg… and then sawed the bottom part of my left jeans leg.  Voila.  Instant shorts.

And if you know me, you know that I don’t wear shorts.  It could be a hundred degrees in the shade, and I would wear long-legged Wranglers without batting an eye.  Well, sure enough, I spent the rest of the Fair wearing cutoff jeans.  Did it bother me?  Not really.  Look, I understand that I have ugly, wrinkly legs with kneecap scars from who knows how many childhood bicycle accidents, and that’s probably why I’ve worn jeans all my life.  But on a day like this, sometimes you just have to swallow your pride and show off your legs.

All in all, it was a great day at the Altamont Fair – I actually met up with several of my FB friends and blog readers, including Kristin Padilla (known at OTE as kriskaten), and my high school bud Alfreda Tillman and her family.  I even bumped into one of the organizers of the photo competition for the Big E (where Aerochrome Falls, along with two other photos, have already been shipped for competition 2015).

And this year, as I said before, I’m very happy about how Altamont turned out.  Not only for my own ribbon count, but also that many of my friends and blog readers also picked up silks with their photos.

The only downside?  Man, I gotta go replace those jeans.  And I liked those jeans.  They were comfortable, they were broken in – those jeans, they were like jeans to me. 🙂