Farmers’ Olympics added to By Gone Days

Individuals, groups invited to participate farmyard in trails


Staff Report

STEPHENVILLE (September 25, 2016) – Old timers will tell you there’s no better exercise than hard work. And, a new event at By Gone Days on the Bosque October 8 will test competitors’ endurance and strength through routine – and not so routine – farm labor.

The first-ever Farmers’ Olympics and By Gone Days will be held 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. on the Stephenville Historical House Museum grounds at 525 East Washington Street.

Robin Ritchie, museum director and committee chair for By Gone Days, said it’s easy to see the historical significance of the farmers’ trials, which also offer a glimpse into the daily work of today’s farmers.

“The benefit is two-fold,” Ritchie said. “For city folks, adults and children, attending By Gone Days on the Bosque, Farmers’ Olympics is a chance to experience things they may have never seen like hay bales and how to handle them. It will also allow them to see how much hard work goes into farming and gives farmers a chance to show off a little bit.”

The trials are the brainchild of Dave Ross, weekend docent for Stephenville Historical House Museum. He is calling on competitors of all ages to participate in the event, including students; clubs like Lions Club, FFA and 4-H; recreational and competitive athletic teams; organizations like cowboy churches, youth groups and homeschool co-ops; family and work groups; and individuals like parents and grandparents; and others.

Ross said the idea for the local trials traveled to Erath County all the way from New Hampshire. He has cousins who reside there, where a similar set of events is held at the Lee County Fair.

He also wanted to bring something to the annual event that would attract area residents who felt they have already seen everything By Gone Days has to offer.

“I felt like it was time for something different and something participatory,” Ross said, adding he hopes to see competitors to return every year to defend their titles or redeem previous losses and go for the gold.


Whoever they are and wherever they come from, competitors will test their skills in events like the Wheelbarrow Slalom, a race against the clock through a course of pylons; hay bale and stone tosses with the “Olympians” with the longest throws winning the events; Hay Bale Stacking, a timed event in which competitors move eight bales of hay across a line and make two rows, four bales high; and the Human Tractor Pull, another timed event in which teams of three contestants pull a railroad baggage cart to the finish line. 

The top three finalist in each event will walk away with bragging rights and ribbons.

By Gone Days also invites attendees to experience the Old West with the By Gone Days Gunfighters, Confederate cannon and musket demonstrations, an old-fashioned blacksmith shop, quilting and type-printing demonstrations, historical tours and more. The event also features Amish homemade ice cream, baking and canning contests and array of vendors. 

Admission into By Gone Days is free of charge, but donations to support Stephenville Historical House Museum – a volunteer-driven nonprofit organization – are always welcomed and appreciated.

Find more information about By Gone Days on the Bosque at

You can also check out the museum website or Facebook page for additional details or call the museum office at 254-965-5880.

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