How to Raise a Barn 8/22/12

How to Raise A Barn
 Kathy Breed, Sierra County Chamber President
8/22/12 As many of you may have already heard, our Sierra County exhibit at the State Fair received a Gold Ribbon and a special award for Best Use of Artifacts. I would like to tell you how that came to be and to congratulate all who were involved.
A year ago I attended a conference where a DVD copy of Passion for the Land was distributed.This DVD was produced by Holly George of the University of California Cooperative Extension.  After watching it at home I was really impressed with the ranchers stories from the Sierra Valley.  One story in particular entitled ” A View from the Barn” by Rick Roberti, really got my attention.
This past Fall I attended an Economic Development meeting where Pam Payen spoke of a book that the Cattle Women had put together about the brands of the Sierra Valley.
What a great way to showcase our beautiful Sierra Valley with a barn and the brands….
and the work began…
Before the barn was even built the work for the exhibit began with essays that must be  written to the judges.
Sharon Dobija (Sierra City) took on the long essay to the Superintendent ( It was great) and I did the Statement of Purpose, which is handed out to each judge and posted on our exhibit.
Mary Ervin (Sierra City) began rounding up volunteers to staff our exhibit during the run of the fair.  She was also roped into the build out and helped with the staining of the barn.
Cindy Nobel took a day to help me in my search of old barn wood, tin roofing and artifacts.  She was relentless.
Joline Tori (Sierraville), allowed me access to her barns and private treasures which were used for display on the barn. Thank you Joline for a great day!
Steve Freschi (Calpine) allowed us to rummage through his wood piles.
Russell and Nancy Rosewood (Calpine) offered the use of their old barn wood stash which really gave our barn a true rustic look.
Pamela Payen (Payen Ranch) also allowed me access to her barns and ranch items.  In addition she also spent many hours arranging for brochures and rounding up branding irons, artifacts, display boards and quilts. We just about finished her off in the final days of the build out.  After three long days she spent the evening of our awards dinner in the emergency room with an injured knee, missing the event.  I owe you a lemon drop Pamela!  Thank you too Sam, and NO Rick, I did not push her off the barn roof.
The beautiful quilts were the work of the Cattle Women which got a lot of attention at the fair.  People wanted to know where to buy the raffle tickets. Maybe something to offer on-line.
The gracious Ranchers of the Sierra Valley allowed us the use of their prized branding irons for our barn where 26 irons were on display.  Fair goers were really interested in having an up close look at a long time tradition.
Darby Hayes (Sierra City),  produced beautiful photos of the Turner Round-Up,  valley birds and barns, which were mounted along one side of our barn. Darby has always been a great supporter of our chamber and Sierra County. Thank you Darby!
Leland Cross (Loyalton)  painted a outstanding life size calf which looked great in the barn with the quilts.
Then our barn builders were assembled. Zack Filippini, (Loyalton),  Bobby Burington, (Downieville),  Gary Grutoski, (Downieville) and  Bruce Palmer, (Sierra City). Those were some long days and everyone was a pleasure to work with. The result was a fabulous barn.
When Bobby heard I was building the fence, I think that made him nervous,  so he showed back up and brought Gary with him.  He also brought along Julie Noll (Downieville) who was very helpful with the fence and staining.
Kurt Johnson (Sierra City) was asked to make the motor for our rotating weather vane.  He came to install with his friend Bob.  One should be warned in advance that if you show up during the build, you will not only be put to work but we won’t let you leave.  As our time was ticking down we really appreciated the work from both Kurt and Bob.
Larry Breed will let you know that when any of us are gone building the exhibit, it is our spouses and family who must take up slack and keep things going.  Leaving during our busiest time of the year was hard for both Larry and our staff.  I truly appreciate Larry, Cassie and Dustin very much for giving me the time needed .
I owe a very special thank you to my sister Sandy Blake.  She first gave up a 3 day trip to Capitola to help me, she then used a weeks vacation time to stay with me throughout the build to see me through to the finish.  She kept me on time and task with her little notebook and her expertise with a drill was immeasurable.
With just three days to go to our completion date we were still in need of a bull for our barn.
Dick(Tim Beals)Tracy was on the look out for us and found one standing out on 16TH Street, in Sacramento.  One more feather for Tim’s cap.
After much discussion by John McDonald (previously of Sacramento and now Calpine) and its owner we were granted use of the bull for the run of the fair.
It was quite the surprise when the bull showed up wearing hi-top sneakers and being held together with duct tape.  Apparently as a  publicity stunt the bull was allowed to jump by parachute from an airplane.  Exactly what you are imagining is what happened.
A big thanks to Jerry’s Automotive in Sacramento for giving me a 10 minute class on bondo and fiberglass repair.  I had a day and a half to repair and paint.  I think I had more paint on me than the bull but the bull looked much better than when he arrived.
We were able to finish on time and you know the rest of the story.
I want to be sure and also thank all the people who volunteered to staff our exhibit.  It really means so much more to have people who know Sierra County, that can answer the questions of the fair goers. Bruce and Colicia Palmer, Sandi Kendall, Jan and Mike Buck, Liz Fisher, Barbara Seley, Kenny and Julie Osburn, Jan Koettel, Christie Brzyscz, Dave and Carol Marshall, Mary Ervin, David Ervin, Nora Prince, Anne Berardi, Marie and LeRoy Silver, Pat Whitley, Carolyn Meunier, Tony Finder, Mike and Karen Galan, Eric and Sarah Kubly, Richard and Mary Nourse, Joanne and Dennis Patheal, Mary Jungi, Dale Teubert, Bailey Jungi, Laura Marshall, Jack and Linda Marshall, Anne Hutchison, Dave Hutchison, Brooks and Jackie Mitchell, Jeff and Barbara Torason, and the Capitola Girls, Pamela Payen, Sandy Blake and myself.
*Mary Ervin and Bruce filled in for several days where we did not have volunteers to cover 🙂
This is the third year for the Sierra County Chamber of Commerce to participate in our California State Fair.  Many fair attendees were not aware of Sierra County and were truly impressed with our display. We handed out over 4200 visitor guides.
I know in the past that many have made it up to visit Sierra County when they stop by the store to say Hi!
If you haven’t already seen the barn, it has now traveled with the
Cattle Women to the Plumas Sierra County Fairgrounds, August 8 – 12TH.  Go, enjoy and appreciate all that goes into a day at the fair.
If you think you would like to be a part of this great experience in 2013, please be sure and email us at

Congratulations to Sierra County and to Kathy Breed as well as all that helped to make this year’s exhibit a gold medal winner and a winner of a special award entitled “best use of artifacts”.  The attached pictures show the exhibit, the awards, and the County delegation attending the award ceremony.  Those attending in the picture are Sharon Dobija, Stuart Lauters, Lee Adams, Will Clark, Kathy Breed, Kathy’s sister Sandy (sorry Kathy and Sandy…last name escaped me), Mary Ervin, and Cindy Noble (not shown are Pam Payen who unfortunately could not attend and photo guy Tim Beals)

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