FARMINGTON — When Morris McGarrh called the San Juan County Fair Board to sign up for the horseshoe competition, he was informed that there would be no competition unless he put it on.

So on Saturday, despite rain and winds, six men gathered in the outdoor arena at McGee Park for the first-ever Morris and Holly McGarrh Horseshoe Tournament.

Morris McGarrh dedicated the tournament to the memory of Dallas Johnson, a friend who died of a heart attack last week at age 61.

"Everybody in town knows Dallas," he said, describing Johnson as a well-liked community member.

Hassan Yassien ptiches his horseshoe during the San Juan County Fair’s horseshoe tournament, Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013, at the Outdoor Arena at McGee
Hassan Yassien ptiches his horseshoe during the San Juan County Fair's horseshoe tournament, Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013, at the Outdoor Arena at McGee Park Fairgrounds. (Jon Austria The Daily Times)

Morris McGarrh and his wife, Holly, started setting up for the tournament after the rodeo on Friday night.

"The rodeo ended. They had the lights still on," said Morris McGarrh. "We asked if they could leave the lights on."

Around 7 a.m. Saturday, the couple finished setting everything up.

But they didn't stop there. Morris McGarrh proceeded to take third place in the tournament, and the couple provided all the players with burritos afterwards.

John Dockter, 20, has gone to the fair since he was 9. He showed animals like steer and pigs. But, this year, Docktor didn't have a single animal in the fair. Instead, he showed up to help a friend with his animals.

As he walked by the horseshoe pit, he heard a familiar clink and signed up for the horseshoe tournament.

Dockter proceeded to win second place during the tournament.

Paul Otero, a veteran player who has been playing horseshoes for 31 years, came from behind to win the tournament.

"Today was my day with a little help from my friends," he said.

The six players didn't even pause when a storm hit and soaked the field, leaving everyone covered in mud.

"I've never played in rain like this," Otero said.

After the tournament, Otero invited his competitors to join him at 7:30 p.m. on the last Saturday of every month at the Civitan Horseshoe pits, located next to the Civitan Golf Course, to compete again under the lights.

Hannah Grover covers news, arts and religion for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and hgrover@daily-times.com. Follow her @hmgrover on Twitter.