Carley Baird of Carey was named to the court by the Blaine County Fair Board.
“It was such a surprise,” she said. “I’m really honored to be nominated and chosen, and I’m looking forward to riding in the parades.”
For more than 60 years, Baird has been a part of the Carey community. Extensive gardening, master sewing, singing and painting are some of the talents this spirited 86-year-old has shared so generously with her community, friends and family.
“I raise a large garden, do it even now. It’s a half acre. I grow spuds, corn, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, lots of greens.”
Carley and Ray Baird’s home is decorated with her paintings of her family riding horses in the Idaho backcountry and of beautiful mountain lakes framed by spring wildflowers.
“I’ve always liked to delve in art, and have sold some.”
The Baird family heritage in the Carey Valley dates back to 1898. Carley and Ray met in Hailey when she was just out of high school.
“We met while I was singing as part of the Legion Loonies. From that night on, we were an item.”
Fast forward a few years, and after the “I Do’s,” the Bairds raised a family of six boys who all chipped in and helped ranch and farm.
“Ray worked for over 30 years at the Idaho National Lab as a welder, commuting by carpool to Arco every day, so while he went to work, I did a lot of the farming, including milking the cows and irrigating during the day,” she said. “I did whatever needed to be done.”
Baird and her husband have dedicated their lives to caring for a remote part of the Pioneer Mountains that Ray’s father homesteaded a century ago. Baird said they could have sold the land long ago, but because of their dedication and deep connection to the Pioneers and its wildlife, the couple formed the Pioneers Alliance in 2012, an organization that allows others to conserve and connect with an even larger landscape, and signed a conservation easement to prevent its further development.
“I think Idaho is sometimes looked down on because it isn’t that developed. But that’s its beauty—it has the most wonderful scenery.”