Borrego Sun - Since 1949

Peg Leg Liars Contest Returns in March


Last updated 2/14/2023 at 12:50pm

After a one year hiatus due to COVID restrictions, the 2023 Pegleg Smith Liars’ Contest will be held on Saturday, March 4 at the American Legion Post 853 at 4515 Borrego Springs Road, Borrego Springs, California. The location is across from La Casa del Zorro. Mark your calendar for this new date – always held on the first Saturday night in March. This location has many advantages. It is closer into the center of Borrego Springs, has facilities, a restaurant and bar, and is wind protected.

The CACTI (Committee to Accumulate Curious Tales of Incredibility) who puts on the event, has a crew of judges and determines the best of the best. ALL contestants receive a trophy and a certificate of participation.

The Liars’ Contest is the longest on-going story-telling contest in the West. According to Academy Award Oscar winner and Hollywood art director Harry Oliver, the contest began informally in 1916 and formally in 1948. Judges select winners based on presentation, originality of story, costumes if desired, and if Pegleg Smith is included in the presentation.

Pegleg Smith (Thomas Long Smith) was a real person – mountainman, horse thief, trader, and tall-tale-teller extraordinaire.

He claimed to have found gold in the Anza-Borrego area en route to Los Angeles to sell pelts from animals he trapped. He spent is latter years in bars telling folks about his lost gold mine, often leading them on a trek to this desert area, selling maps, and then disappearing with what funds he was given by gullible folks, only to turn-up back at the bars to await another victim.

He was considered the greatest prevaricator of all, according to Harry Oliver. Tales are limited to five minutes. Points are deducted by the judges for using the name “Pegleg Pete,” who was not Pegleg Smith. There is both an adult and children’s division. Mark your calendars! It is always a great time.

The event is designed for fun. Liar’s are always in demand and you needn’t be an expert. Any subject is acceptable, less profanity. Funny, bizarre, and nonsensical appreciated. Western theme, tuxedos appropriate. Starts at dusk.

Call 123-456-78910 for details. Or not.