Peg Leg Smith Liar’s Contest is all about fun. Thomas L. Smith (1801-1866) was a notorious mountain man, guide, fur trapper, prospector, horse thief, and liar. As for his prospecting, the only truth known about his discoveries is he was in fact in the Borrego Springs area (1840’s), roamed the valley and Santa Rosa Mountains, and reportedly discovered gold. He claimed to have found gold and dug a mine, but was forced to flee by local Indians. When he returned to mine his bounty, he could never find it again.
The Contest was an informal event held on different dates, by different individuals, until a group headed by early ‘Borego’ homesteader and Hollywood set designer Harry Oliver, along with Ray Hetherington who operated the Rock Shop at Knott’s Berry Farm, ‘formally’ made it an annual event in 1949. It continued until 1960, then was revived in 1975 under the leadership of Diana Lindsay. It has been an annual event ever since. This year’s Legion location event will be the 44th consecutive resurrection of the 102 year old event.
Briefly, here are the rules…….there are none! It’s a liar’s contest! One only needs to just sign up at the event and banter about how you found his gold, know where it is, there never was any gold, you have a map, aliens found it and took it back to planet Feces in the third nebula on the left of the fifth black hole…..or whatever you think will win you a recycled trophy and the honor of being champion prevaricator for 2018!
Judging is simple and straight forward. While you ‘can’ read it off a paper or notebook, reading makes it a story, not a lie. Quality humor, logic, illogic, falsehood or the unimaginable is always welcome and graded as such. You can speak it, shout it, rhyme it, sing it, humm it, or mime it…..or any other method you prefer. Authentic garb, be it western with chaps, boots, slicker, or perhaps a space suit, tuxedo, pajamas, or muumuu is welcomed and appreciated……but no nakedness please. Props are huge with us judges. Maps, picks and shovels, a grand piano, horse, gold nuggets for the audience….or whatever….we judges love appropriate and meaningful gadgets. One need not lie only by yourself. Team lying, muscical band lying, family lying are equally appreciated and crowd pleasers.
New to the Contest this year is a custom built chuck wagon. Located behind the campfire, it will make for an authentic western landscape. The fire will provide not only lighting, but hung over the flames will be pots of baked beans for all attendees to consume at the conclusion while the judges add up the scores and announce the winners. There are no losers at this contest, only appreciated participants. If you enjoy lying but don’t like the ramifications derived from doing so…this is the venue for you. We love liars!
The event is family oriented. There is a children’s class of competition as well, so no profanity or obscenity please. That’s all there is to it. Just simple, with no rules, falsehoods that make attendees chuckle on the way home.
The 102nd Anniversary of the Peg Leg Smith Liar’s Contest will be held for the first time at the American Legion Post #853 on April 7th at 7pm. This new location will afford the benefits of dinner prior to the contest if desired, and restroom facilities. The event has been held at the later to be named Thomas L. ‘Peg Leg’ Smith Monument at Peg Leg Road and Henderson Canyon since 1916, however the land and monument is now within the State Park. Being such, new regulations and restrictions made continuing at that site prohibitive. The Legion offered a far better venue and we, the organizing members of CACTI (Committee to Accumulate Curious Tales of Incrediblity), were pleased to accept their generous offer.
For more information on the Contest and Thomas L. ‘Peg Leg’ Smith, google each to obtain fodder for your fabrications.
1st Saturday of April
April 7th, 2018
American Legion #853
4515 Borrego Springs Road
Borrego Springs, Ca. 92004