Our Home Away from Home!

Our Home Away from Home!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Smokey Bear Turns 69.....and We Have a Party!!!

On Saturday we celebrated Smokey  Bear's 69th birthday.  For those of you who have been reading this blog from the beginning know that we were here last year at this time to celebrate his birthday also.  It was a great time and we had games for the kids, face painting, prizes, and cake. I am sure most, if not all of you know the story and history of Smokey. However, if not here is a little information to refresh your memories.

One spring day in 1950 in the Capitan Mountains of New Mexico, an operator in one of the fire towers to the north of the Capitans spotted smoke and called the location into the nearest ranger station. The first crew discovered a major fire being swept along the ground between the trees, driven by a strong wind. Word spread rapidly and more crews reported to help. Forest Rangers, army soldiers, Native American crews, men from the New Mexico State Game Department, and civilian volunteers worked together to gain control of the raging fire. As soon as they contained the fire to one spot, the wind would push it across the lines. During one of the lulls in firefighting, a report of a lonely bear cub who had been seen wandering near the fireline was reported. The men left him alone because they thought the mother bear might come for him.
Nearby, the little cub had been caught in the path of the same fire and had not fared as well. He had taken refuge in a tree that was now completely charred. His climb had saved his life but left him badly burned on the paws and hind legs. The soldiers removed the little bear cub from the burned tree, but they did not know what to do with him. A rancher, who had been helping the firefighters, agreed to take the cub home. A New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Ranger heard about the cub when he returned to the fire camp and drove to the rancher's home to get the bear. The cub needed veterinary aid and was flown in a small plane to Santa Fe where the burns were treated and bandaged.
The news about the little bear spread swiftly throughout New Mexico. Soon the United Press and Associated Press picked up the story and broadcast it nationwide. Many people wrote or called to inquire about the little bear's progress. The State Game Warden wrote an official letter to the Chief of the Forest Service, presenting the cub to the agency with the understanding that the small bear would be dedicated to a publicity program of fire prevention and conservation. The go-ahead was given to send the bear to Washington, DC, where he found a home at the National Zoo, becoming the living symbol of Smokey Bear.

                         I think that is such a neat story and hope you all enjoyed it.

Now on to the festivities.....

This year we had a new activity, bubbles. Karl and Vickie put the event together and came up with some great ideas.  Here is one way to play with bubbles...

 Isn't this neat you take a coat hanger and dip it into the (homemade bubble solution) and these huge bubbles appear. They were so pretty floating around so softly in the breeze.

                                         These two look like balls chasing each other.

                           This one is huge and so pretty with all the colors of the rainbow.      

This was neat you took the lid off a can and dip it into the bubble solution, then you put a straw on it and blow the first bubble. Then dip a straw into the bubble solution and poke it into the first bubble and blow a bubble inside a bubble.  I guess you can keep going to create several bubbles. I had not seen this before. I know the kids loved it.  Then you take the can with the lids removed and you get this....

                                            This gives you a super duper size bubble

This year I did the face painting again. But I had a great helper and two is faster than one. My partner in crime was Mickey, Asst manager here at the park. She did a great job and darn it she paints a lot better bear claw than I do. And I even had practice from last year.  :(

             See the hummingbird on her cheek I did that. She put a blue Penguin on me.

     Here are 4 of the designs we did. We let the kids pick out the designs and colors they wanted.

                  The kids loved it and were lined up most of the day waiting for their turn.

Even the adults got into the fun.  Here is Al, Manager of the park. He had this passion for being an Indian. Either that or he wanted to scare the campers when he made his evening drive through of the park. :)

                     Kind of looks like a "mug" shot to me.  Sorry Al, just kidding hee hee.

This is Bill, he was playing with a little boy who had gotten a balloon sword. Bill got his jabbed into his head.

          Art, is in the background smiling because he got in on the fun this year too. He got to.....

Make the balloons. He made teddy bears,(of course)  turtle bracelets, bunnies, swords and dogs. The kids loved it.  He learned this fascinating talent while we were at Turkey Run, so if camp hosting doesn't work out for us he can always work as a clown. :)

            We decorated our golf cart in the balloons to draw attention to the party. Cute huh?

Now onto the star of the afternoon......

                                                Doesn't look bad at all for 69 does he?

                              Then he got a whiff of the cake and we had to hold him back.....

                    This is Karl and Danny (another host) protecting the cake from Smokey.

Smokey even got his face painted by Mickey. I didn't see the finished picture but I think it was a bear claw.  :)

                  Boy her hand is awful close to his mouth. But he was full of cake at this point.

The kids really enjoyed having their picture taken with him.  One little girl was scared of him but she did give him a high five.


And to end the celebration there was a movie shown at the Amphitheater.  This is such a neat experience as it is down in the forest, surrounded by trees. We showed the movie the Wilderness Family. It is about a family from the city, that move to the mountains and build their own cabin. And then they of course run into all kinds of problems with the wildlife in the area.  And you guessed it, a big Grizzly bear is in the story. Right along with our theme.  And here is Karl getting the popcorn ready.  It is free and all you can eat.  Sure beats the $10 bag at the movie theater!!

                           Donnie (another camp host) is patiently waiting for the first bag. 

This is the screen.  The movie is in progress not a great picture but I didn't want to take another one with the flash and interrupt the show.
And the audience.....

Sorry I can't share the cake with you or the popcorn but I hoped you enjoyed the party just the same.
So from Hardin Ridge we send out a Grrrrreat big good night and take care everyone.


  1. Since I remember Smokey when I was a kid, I must be young -right?

  2. We got to visit Smokey's grave in NM. It's such a neat story. And you guys really do know how to celebrate his birthday.

  3. What a great party! Looks like everyone was having a blast and learning something too. I LOVE those bubble ideas. Can you share the "recipe" for the homemade bubbles?

  4. Looks like a great time was had by all with great weather too.

  5. One of the people to help take care of that little bear cub was a young girl named Judy Bell. My students in school thought I was that Judy Bell, but Smokey was born before I was even a twinkle in my mother's eye! ;)

  6. What a great time you had and I know all the others enjoyed just as much. Love reading your adventures.

  7. Great story about how Smokey got his name. I love the bubble making idea. I found some bubble recipes online once and my grandkids made giant bubbles. I love making big and small bubbles.It great fun seeing the kids enjoying themselves chasing the bubbles.

    What a great set-up you guys have there.

    Enjoy your week.

  8. I'm sure I knew the story of Smokey? surely ... what fun to read that. I'm one year older than he. wow ~ older than Smokey the Bear... sigh

    love the bubbles! and the free popcorn and movie and I wanna come play ... what fun!

  9. What fun...love a good party! Can't believe Smokey is that old.....um...young?

    1. Forgot to say...love the pictures of the bubbles...cool!

  10. How fun! It looks like you had lots of activities for the kids, and they are all smiling and having a good time. And yes, loved the bubble photos. I haven't ever seen that, either. :)

  11. I never heard the story of Smokey...pretty interesting history...and a really neat party!

  12. As a former resident of Capitan May I correct you in that it is not "Smokey the Bear" but "Smokey Bear". Most Capitan residents cringe when they hear "Smokey the Bear"

  13. Aww! I just found this and my daughter is the one in the top picture and my other one is after with the blue facepaint on the forehead. We had so much fun and we will be back June 19th!


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