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Pegleg Smith Liars Contest.

Posted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 9:34 am
by Jim_b
Borrego Springs California 4/6/13 Pegleg Smith Liars Contest.

Preposterous prevaricators, languid liars, and ridiculous raconteurs will assemble at dusk on Saturday, April 6th for the umpteenth annual revival of Borrego’s own Pegleg Smith Liars Contest. A celebration of the classic American art of obfuscation, the Liars Contest provides a singular opportunity for both desert denizens and neophyte newcomers to savor a rare glimpse of Desert Rats in their natural habitat.

Verbal assaults are expected to adhere to an authentic desert theme, and are only limited by the patience of the often unruly audience (usually about five minutes). Incidents of veracity during the course of the contest will be dealt with in a most severe manner. Enduring fame and environmentally-friendly recycled prizes await the victors.

As always, the festivities will be held alongside the genuine, official California State Historical Landmark (#750) honoring the genuine, authentic Thomas Long “Pegleg” Smith, near the corner of (where else?) Pegleg Road and Henderson Canyon Road, in the suburbs of Borrego Springs. Visitors are reminded to bring their own seating, beverages, and an ample supply of good humor.

All entrants receive a recycled trophy and a certificate of participation. Judges award points for originality, costume, audience reaction, and mention of Pegleg Smith (not Pegleg Pete or points are deducted) and/or lost gold.

This year the program has two distinguished MCs – the Mayor of Borrego Springs (that’s not a lie!) and the Empress of the Salton Sea who is returning to regale us with her tales of having met Pegleg. Be there at Pegleg Monument at dusk or by 7 p.m. when the MCs will begin to warm up the crowd. Once again there will be both a children’s division and an adult division. Polish up your stories, wear a costume, sing a tune, play an instrument – everything goes! Win a coveted trophy!

Re: Pegleg Smith Liars Contest.

Posted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 6:32 am
by Space Cowboy
Thanks, Jim. This is the first time I've heard of this event Before it occurred.

Re: Pegleg Smith Liars Contest.

Posted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 12:52 pm
by Space Cowboy
I went to the 38th revival of the Peg Leg Smith Liars Contest on Saturday. I have heard of it all my life, and yet this was my first attendance. I did not participate, but merely witnessed. Indeed, I Witnessed The Truth with Fossil Phil and Dead Elvis.

You had to be there.

Lowell Lindsay of Lowell and Diana Lindsay fame MC'd the show with a Sierra Nevada in his hand, endearing him to me for all time. Diana Lindsay gave us the historic facts of Thomas 'Pegleg' Smith, and then the Lying began.


This is as off-the-cuff as you can get. The Mayor of Borrego Springs poked and prodded audience members to Tell Their Tales' onstage. Innocent children were seduced into participating, much to the delight of the two hundred-odd multitude.
I did not catch the name of the fire master. His contribution was an integral part of the show.


Individuals operating under pseudonyms like P.F. Smith sang songs to the horse thief Pegleg. The evening entertainment ended with the awarding of coveted genuine recycled trophies, which each victor chose from the pile of laurels.

There are two categories of participants; 'Kids' and 'Others'. I do think they need a third category, 'Professional', and then invite all the local politicians.

Diana pointed out that since Harry Oliver started the original Peg Leg Smith 'trek' back in 1916, which included a story-telling session at the end of the search for Smith's gold, the Peg Leg Smith's Liar's Contest might very well be the oldest continuous event of its kind.

I am even now calculating the date for next year, the first Saturday after April 1st, Harry Oliver's birthday. If only I can get my daughter to participate. She'll bring home the prize on any day of the week.

Re: Pegleg Smith Liars Contest.

Posted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 5:23 pm
by Jim_b
Thanks for the writeup and pictures. I wish I had gone to it. Well there is next year.

Re: Pegleg Smith Liars Contest.

Posted: Fri Jun 07, 2013 5:35 am
by Pamela Lee
I don't know if anyone here will remember me, it has been several years since I've been to the forum but I must say I'm very impressed. What a wonderful refurbish of the site!

I chose to reply to this thread because it is a subject near and dear to my heart - the Pegleg Liars Contest. Mark your calendars for the 1st Sat in April, unless that happens to be Easter weekend in which case the Contest is moved to the next weekend.

I can ID some of the folks in the posted pics, and as soon as I can figure out how to post photos in this lovely new forum I'll post some if anyone is interested. I have pics going back several years.

The fellow in the cowboy duster tending the fire is Charlie Watson. He has been the Official Fire King for approx the last decade. He goes out to the camp area early each year and gets set up. Brings his cargo trailer with the firecans and a load of firewood from his place in nearby Ocotillo Wells.

He also has been doing double duty the last couple of years being the Keeper of the Trophies also. He refurbishes the ones that need some tightening or re-assembling. Sometimes parts of two different trophies become a "new" recycled trophy.

The lady in the long gold dress is known as the Empress of the Salton Sea. In real life she is Mrs Charlie Watson. They have been participating in the Liars Contest for 20 yrs or so now. The Empress has been asked to MC the contest for several years and has answered that call to duty with several different partners. Last year her co-MC was Honorary Mayor Oakie McNatt and this year it was Honorary Mayor Martha Deichler. On years when the Empress can coerce other folks to be in a skit they are presented as the Cactus Cowboy Players.

When I can figure out how to post pictures on this newly redone forum I will share as I have pics from lots of years.
Hope there are some still here who will remember me.

Pamela Lee (who has been Mrs. Charlie Watson for 45 years this July 15th)
AKA The Empress of the Salton Sea

Re: Pegleg Smith Liars Contest.

Posted: Fri Jun 07, 2013 5:51 am
by Space Cowboy
I owe you an apology, Pam. I said Lowell Lindsay MC'd the festivities, when it was you and the Mayor. I obsessed on Lowell because of the Sierra Nevada.

Did they find some new blood?

Re: Pegleg Smith Liars Contest.

Posted: Fri Jun 07, 2013 7:50 am
by Pamela Lee
Although the plea was put out, I think we only had one reply. The Mr and I have asked to be relieved of our duties. We really do put a lot into it and just don't want to be bound to the responsibilities anymore. Although I have the feeling that as time for next Pegleg draws near we'll feel the call and head on over, even if to just be observers. I
We just don't want anyone to count on us being there ya know?

I think Lowell and Diana are kinda thinking of backing out too. They have been at it longer than we have and I can't imagine the contest w/o Lowell or Diana there.

Even Phil Brigandi hasn't shown up for several years now and he was MC for many years.

Re: Pegleg Smith Liars Contest.

Posted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 8:23 am
by D T
Happy belated 45th wedding anniversary, a milestone indeed