Peg Leg Smith Liars Contest
It can’t be said that there’s a lot going in the 2,700-person desert town of Borrego Springs, but once a year a major event hits and we just happened to catch it. It’s the Peg Leg Liar’s contest and it’s basically a bunch of people spinning tall tales about lost gold in the middle of the desert. What’s not to like?
So, having found out about this pinnacle event, we carted the dog and ourselves to see it. It happens at dusk on the 1st Saturday of April every year, and it’s been going on for over 35 years. We arrived at the designated spot, a deserted piece of land ~6 miles from Borrego Springs just in time for sunset. The big liars were gathering and so was the crowd. A mixed group of 30 local & random travelers all anxiously awaiting the big show. The Sheriff was at hand to judge and the local fireman tending the bonfire. We were ready to hear some tales….
Peg Leg, you see is a bit of a legend round these parts. He was a mountain-man and wanderer around the 1800’s who apparently struck it rich somewhere in the desert near Borrego Springs. Problem is, he forgot where he buried the loot, so tales started to spin of where he had hidden it. His death apparently, only fueled the fire, and sometime in the early 1900’s the Pegleg Smith Club was started abound with stories, theories and conspiracies. In 1947 a monument was erected in his honor, and today you can enjoy the spot and pitch your luck at finding the gold.
And…once a year you can tell a tall tale.
The event is true folk theatre at it’s best. People take the stage to try and tell the tale of where the gold is really buried. The best tale gets the prize, so it’s all about spinning a darn good story. We heard about sceances, the lost ghost of Peg Leg and the stock market crash (apparently caused by someone’s great-grand nephew buying too many cows).
A pinnacle event indeed…highly recommended.