Did you grow up playing cards, marbles, or jacks?
Was Candy Land or Chutes and Ladders your favorite board game?
Did you play Ante Over, Anti I-Over, or Auntie-Annie-Over?

Whether exploring games that native peoples played thousands of years ago or competing in a video game tournament today, games have always been part of the human experience in south-central Utah. A game is any form of play based on rules with a winner based on skills, strength, or luck.

Southern Paiute people were known from their games of chance including the hand game and four stick game. Shinny was a popular team sport. Pioneers brought games like Guinea Pig and Run, Sheep Run to Wayne County.

During the month of January, Wayne County 4-H youth will be exploring our cultural heritage of games and gaming through four after school programs (Jan 9, 11, 16, 18). Youth will play and create games that Southern Paiute and pioneer children played 100+ years ago, play and build board games, and participate in traditional (i.e., jacks, marbles) and modern games (i.e. video games).

In addition, the entire community is invited to join in the fun on Wednesday night January 24th at 6PM for a free dinner, conversation, and chance to explore games and gaming from local history at the Wayne County Community Center in Bicknell. To register for the free meal, call the USU Extension/4-H Office at 435-836-1312. Parents can register their children for the after school programs online at http://ut.4honline.com.

The photo of four boys playing marbles in the school yard back in the 1950s was collected by the Washington County Historical Society. Our local, NEH Spark Squad project is working to collect photos from Wayne County and the surrounding areas that will spark conversations about our cultural heritage of games. We’re seeking 50+ year old photos of people playing sports, board games, outdoor games, or other types of activities. We’ll be creating a slide show for the community night.

Thanks to those people who have already volunteered to share their family photos. If you have photos of people in our area playing games and you’re willing to share, please contact Annette Lamb at info@entradainstitute.org or call 435-425-3415. This project is made possible through a generous donation from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Entrada Institute.

Photo credit: Photo of Kids Playing Marbles. Courtesy Washington County Historical Society.