WHEATLAND– A gubernatorial mask-mandate was handed down to “knuckleheads” throughout the state of Wyoming with restrictions as to large gatherings. It didn’t stop the large holiday gathering in Platte County.
MB Rafter quarter horse arena and event center and Arena BBQ didn’t thumb it’s nose at the mandate, nor did it skirt the issue. It simply met the requirements of a very large venue that was both hosting crowds indoors and outdoors.
The question whether it was right or wrong or whether people should have been taken to task because of the decision is a moot point at this juncture as the event went on without a hitch and without conflict, inviting people who wanted to be a part of the holiday celebration.
Myrle and Birgit Ingle started preparing the arena a week ahead of time, getting the arena prepped and ready, getting the vendors organized, shopping for the foodstuffs and making sure everything was running smoothly.
There were 42 vendors selling everything from biscotti to beauty products, blankets to trinkets, specialized masks for those who wanted to comply to the mask mandate and even an engraver that could personally add an inscription your gun or your jewelry.
The Kiwanis Club of Wheatland was also there and set up the cornhole boards which were busy for most of the night. There was a little something for everyone and more food and beer than a soul could consume in three-days time, much less an evening.
Ingle who is working in the Texas oil fields was home to help his wife get things ready for the big event and also stoked his famous steamer/smoker.
According to Ingle, “I cooked home cured hams and turkey breasts on the smoker, along with pork loins. I brined turkey and loins for over 24 hours.”
The food which is a local favorite and a treat now that the BBQ restaurant is usually closed for the winter was flying out of the ordering windows.
Brigit Ingle questioned a friend as to whether he had eaten. When the man said yes, she said, “Good, because we are all sold out.”
As usual, the cuisine usually runs out long before the customers do.
The theme for the bazaar, which came from the mind of the Ingles was, “Let’s do Christmas right,” and what started out to be a small gathering of friends and family from a well-conceived plan that was created over beers at the Oktoberfest grew into multiple vendors, a full menu of food, animal balloons created for the kids, an appearance by Wyoming Santa Robert, a 50/50 raffle by the Lions Club for their Angel Tree and a full band.
By 7 p.m. the vendors had all torn down their booths, tables were moved and the band, “Brian Brooks & The Incorrigibles” began to play their mix of country and classic rock. The dance floor filled and the music filled the cold Wyoming air until it was almost Dec. 13.