The Saratoga Sun -

Copper Days shining up for 22nd year

Weekend in Encampment features variety of events for both young and old


File Photo

Judd Jacobs, of Oak Creek, Colo., on a McCormick tractor pulls weights on a trailer down the track at Encampment-Riverside Lions Club Arena during last year's Copper Days. Judd Jacobs, of Oak Creek, Colo., on a McCormick tractor pulls weights on a trailer down the track at Encampment-Riverside Lions Club Arena during last year's Copper Days.

With summer winding down, Encampment is throwing one last outdoor festival before locals hole back up and the snowbirds again fly south to warmer climes. Sept. 10 and 11, the 22nd annual Copper Days tractor festival will be coming to the south Valley, and the weekend will feature several varieties of fun.

The heart of the festivities, of course, will center around the tractors. Saturday morning at 10 a.m. in the Encampment Riverside Lions Club Arena on WYO 70, things kick off with "Tractors on Parade." According to Frank Lorenz, a charter member of sponsoring organization "Chug n' Tug Old Time Tractor and Engine Club," about 40 tractors are expected to putt around the arena. "It's a hobby thing, so you never know who or how many are going to show up," Lorenz said. He cautioned more or less machines may turn-out, but he was excited to visit with other hobbyists over the weekend.

After the catwalk come the feats of strength. At 11 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday, there will be hauling competitions for the tractor enthusiasts. Participants must weigh-in their machines and register either Friday night or 7 to 9 a.m. Saturday morning.

The antique farm machines will haul increasingly weighted trailers in a competition to win the coveted title of "Strongest Tractor." Lorenz said, for insurance reasons, participation is open only to Chug n' Tug Club members and there will be a $5 hook fee for each time a tractor attempts a pull. There is no limit to how many time a tractor can try a load, however.

All day long, there will be several vintage engines and machines on display in the arena, and there are other free events to take part in as well. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. both days, kids can participate in the popular "Kids Art Experience" sponsored by the Platte Valley Arts Council. At that event, materials and instruction will help children craft their own tractor-themed art to take home for display on the refrigerator.

Saturday night, Copper Days attendees should have their dancing shoes polished and ready for action. The four-member "Polka Nuts" family band from Brighton, Colo., will be playing their brand of Dutch-hop Polka from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Grand Encampment Opera House, and a dance lesson will precede the hopping and stomping. A light meal will also be provided at the event.

The Polka Nuts are known for their versatility, with members frequently switching instruments between songs and wowing audiences with their skilled playing of the hammer dulcimer, the accordion, keyboards, trombone and saxophone. The dance is free for children 12 and under, but costs $15 for adults. Tickets can be purchased at the Red Wagon in Encampment, at the Platte Valley Community Center or at the door.

The weekend is being sponsored by the Chug 'N Tug Club, the Platte Valley Arts Council, the Platte Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Carbon County Visitors Council, the Wyoming Arts Council, the Power Company of Wyoming and the Wind River Hotel and Casino. Come out and say hello to your neighbors and goodbye to Indian Summer in the Valley.


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