Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present 1

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ELLENSBURG RODEO & COUNTY FAIR
2 Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present
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Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present 3
Daily Record
401 N. Main St.
Ellensburg 98926
(509) 925-1414
Publisher: Matt Davison
Adverting director: Tyler
Miller
Managing editor: Jeff
Robinson
Design editor: Jimmy
Alford
Contributing writers:
Mike Allen
Don Gronning
Mike Johnston
Chelsea Krotzer
Ryan Thompson
Mary Swift
Photographers:
Don Gronning
Joe Whiteside
Amanda Umberger
© 2008 Ellensburg Daily
Record
Cover ohoto illustration by
Jimmy Alford
Special thanks:
Ellensburg Public Library for archive photos
John Foster
Kittitas County Historical Musuem
About the Cover
Photo by John Foster
Bob Ragsdale in the calf
roping competition during
the 1972 Ellensburg Rodeo.
4 …………………………………….
Love for the rodeo spurs
Michael Allen
6, 8, 10, 11, 14, 19, 40, 41 ………..
Rodeo timeline
10 ……………………………………
Dr. H.E. Pfenning: A man
with vision, energy for
Ellensburg Rodeo
12 ……………………………………
Ann Burkheimer Reed
honored with Driver
Family Award
16 ……………………………………
When saddle bronc was
king
18 ……………………………………
Bronc buster recalls
rodeo in its youth
20 ……………………………………
Rodeo in music
21 ……………………………………
Rodeo Lingo
22, 23, 26, 27, 36, 38, 39, 40 ……...
Rodeo memories
24 ……………………………………
Molly Morrow: Love at
first click
28 ……………………………………
Rodeo & Fair maps
30 ……………………………………
Frontier Village gives
kids and adults a taste
of the old days
32 ……………………………………
Schedule
34 ……………………………………
Cowboy hats: A mark of
style
35 ……………………………………
Cowboy hats: Etiquette
43 ……………………………………
A history of rodeo
events
45 ……………………………………
How to score rodeo
events
52 ……………………………………
Rodeo in film
54 ……………………………………
Fair memories
Table of contents
4 Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present
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By MARY SWIFT
staff writer
Michael Allen never cared much for horseback riding.
That didn’t keep him from falling in love with rodeo.
Call it a passion learned at his father’s side.
His father, Stewart Allen, was a Pocatello, Idaho, native, “a fallen
Mormon” who ended up marrying a girl who was — and is — a
practicing Jew.
A modern businessman who lived in town but never forgot his
rural roots, the elder Allen owned restaurants and an ice cream
shop and did a stint as Ellensburg’s mayor.
“We always had a horse, often, two or three,” Allen recalls. “My
Dad liked thoroughbreds and Arabs. He didn’t like quarter horses.
Around Ellensburg, that’s treasonous.”
The elder Allen proudly rode with the Ellensburg Rodeo Posse, a
precision drill team. His son fondly recalls the posse’s Friday night
practices and the horse races, broomstick polo and camaraderie
that followed.
Love for rodeo
spurs Michael Allen
Continued on page 6
Contributed
Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present 5
6 Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present
Despite his father’s affection for riding, “I am
the world’s worst horseback rider,” Allen says.
“My Dad bred me a little pinto pony and I prob-
ably rode that 30 times in 10 years. But I always
loved the rodeo and we always attended as a
family. I helped my Dad at the back ticket gate
for rodeo night shows and when I was older at
the ticket gate for the Posse parties. So I grew
up around rodeo. In many ways, rodeo weekend
is a sacred time for us, ranking second only to
Christmas.”
As a student in Ellensburg, Allen picked up a
fascination for magic, something he still pur-
sues. After high school, he served a stint in Viet-
nam with the Marine Corps later worked as a
towboat deckhand, oil tanker man and cook on
the Upper and Lower Mississippi. Captivated by
history, he earned a bachelor’s degree at Central
Washington University, a master’s degree in
history from the University of Montana, and a
doctorate at the University of Washington, where
he now is a professor of history and American
studies.
While working on his master’s he spent his
summers taking Greyhound to all 50 states and
six Canadian provinces and he still spends time
visiting and writing about the history of the
Mississippi River Valley, an area that has long
fascinated him.
“Why? Maybe because I grew up in a semi-
arid part of the state and always yearned for
lush, deciduous forest, fireflies and turtles and
gators,” says Allen, who lives in Tacoma but also
has a home and apartment in Ellensburg and
plans to retire here.
Despite his wanderings, he never got so far
from home that he lost his love — or respect —
for the rodeo. Each year, rodeo brings him back
along with his three children.
In 1997, Allen helped found the Ellensburg
Rodeo Hall of Fame. He served seven years as
board president and is one of three historians
who serve on the board.
In 1998, University of Nevada Press published
his book, “Rodeo Cowboys in the North Ameri-
can Imagination,” a study of the evolution of the
myth of the rodeo cowboy and how that myth
has impacted popular culture.
It was research on the book that planted the
idea for the Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame.
“In the mid-1990s I was traveling around to
various research archives — Pro Rodeo Hall
of Fame, the National Cowboy Hall of Fame,
National Cowgirl Hall of Fame and the Pend-
leton Roundup Hall of Fame — and it occurred
to me we could do this in Ellensburg,” he says.
“Some of the greatest cowboys and cowgirls in
the history of rodeo passed through Ellensburg
from 1923 to 1997.”
He spoke to Joel Smith and Rick Cole, mem-
bers of the rodeo board, about the idea.
“The 75th anniversary of the rodeo in 1997
created ‘the perfect storm’ and it happened,” he
says. “There are 55 inductees so far. This year is
our 11th induction.”
Jack Wallace, a member of the Hall of Fame
board, calls Allen “the heart and soul of the
Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame.”
It’s praise echoed by 90-year-old Bertha Morri-
son, also a member of the Hall of Fame board.
“If it weren’t for Mike, we wouldn’t have a Hall
of Fame,” she says. “We’re very proud of it. He’s
the founder and the one who keeps it going.”
Rodeo, Allen says, is important because it’s
much more than just entertainment.
“Rodeo is a folkway because it’s mostly
Continued on page 8
’20s
1923
Continued on page 8
‘He’s the founder and the one who keeps it going.’
Early 1920s — At least two Kittitas County ranches, including
the Ferguson ranch, were staging impromptu competitions
called Sunday rodeos. These were the beginnings what would
become the Ellensburg Rodeo.
1923 — First Ellensburg Rodeo held Sept. 13-15, with 17
events. Steer wrestling was scratched because of a letter writ-
ing campaign charging it “appears to be as hard on the steer
as it does the man ...”
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8 Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present
based on actual ranch skills — ‘workways’ as folklor-
ists call them,” he says. “Calf and steer roping and
saddle bronc riding are historic ranch skills.” (That’s
not true of bull riding, he says.)
“Rodeos literally re-enact the workways of the cattle
frontier. The rodeo viewer can sit back and watch how
the American cowboys did their jobs and tamed the
American West, making the way for civilization. We
can literally watch our country’s history re-enacted
in the arena. I know no other sport with that kind of
mythic power.”
Much of Allen’s own life experience is framed in
some way by rodeo. That includes his father’s death,
an event he describes at the end of the introduction to
“Rodeo Cowboys in the North American Tradition”.
“On Labor Day, Sept. 7, 1992,” he wrote, “at approxi-
mately 4 p.m., rodeo cowboys received their cham-
pionship buckles in the Ellensburg Rodeo arena. In
doing this they carried on a local folk tradition of more
than seventy-five years duration. At a nursing home a
few blocks away, my dad died after a long illness. This
book is dedicated to his memory.”
1924
1929
1924 — The second rodeo had three times the attendance of first rodeo, with sellout crowds over
three performances, prizes and prize money higher than the year before. Even the first man bucked
off won a hat.
1929 — Admission prices during the Depression year were $1 per family, kids’ admission was 25
cents. The rodeo animals arrived by train, providing plenty of entertainment for local youngsters
who flocked to the train to watch.
1930 — The dates for rodeo was moved ahead a week to the Labor Day weekend.
1933 — Steer wrestling had been reinstated after that first year and was won by Shaniko Red, with
a time of 67 seconds on three steers. Nobody knew his real name.
1936 — The 14th year for the event saw some of the biggest crowds to date, with 30,000 people
attending the three performances.
1939 — Police were kept busy, it was reported,
with two of the city’s “red light” houses, Mattie’s
and The Cadwell charged with selling liquor with-
out a license. They paid $350 in forfeited bail, the
weekly newspaper “The Capital,” reported.
1940 — Bull riding was made an official event,
although steers were often used. Dick Griffith
won the event that year.
1942-’44 — Rodeo cancelled because of World War II.
1945 — Rodeo returned to Ellensburg, with $57,457 in ticket sales.
1946 — Bids were sought
1930
1933
1936
1939
1940
’42-’44
1945
1946
Continued on page 10
Contributed
Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present 9
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10 Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present
By MICHAEL ALLEN
For the Daily Record
Editor’s note: This first appeared in a 1997 Daily
Record special publication.
Dr. H.E. Pfenning conceived, organized and
produced the first Ellensburg Rodeo in 1923.
Although many community members share
responsibility for the first Ellensburg Rodeo, Pfen-
ning’s vision, organizational skills and hard work
loom large in its history.
Trained in large-animal veterinary medicine,
H.E. “Doc” Pfenning was an integral member
of the 1920s Ellensburg ranching and cowboy
community. Pfenning visited the roundups and
“Sunday Rodeos” held in the Kittitas Valley and
he dreamed of one day staging a large-scale “Wild
West Show” in the town of Ellensburg. When
other community members expressed an interest
in this plan, Pfenning led the organizing commit-
tee. He traveled to Pendleton, Ore., to observe the
staging of its famed Roundup. This background,
combined with Pfenning’s wide exposure to
cattle roundups and rodeos and wild west shows,
took form in his program for the 1923 Ellensburg
Rodeo.
The Sept. 13-15, 1923, Ellensburg Rodeo fea-
tured 18 major events advertised as the “greatest
Wild West Roundup in the State.” Valley residents
remembered its myriad components. Chalmer
Cobain described the gala grand entry parade,
Dr. H.E. Pfenning:
A Man with vision, energy for
Ellensburg Rodeo
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Continued on page 11
1947
1950
1947 — Calf roping replaced bronc riding as the popular county event, as competitors got older. A
county roping club was established, with summer-long competitions held to determine who would com-
pete during the Ellensburg Rodeo.
1950 — Jim Shoulders, later to be known as rodeo’s Babe Ruth for his accomplishments in the arena,
competed at Ellensburg for the first time, splitting first in the bull riding.
Continued on page 11
Dr. H.E. Pfenning
Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present 11
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bucking broncs, calf roping, relays,
bulldogging, and special Indian horse
racing.
Cobain said the 1923 contestants
were “real cowboys” not “these drug-
store cowboys!” They competed in
“wild horse races (and) chariot races.”
Howard Thomas remembered the
first rodeo as “a good one” and Mrs.
Lilian Pope agreed, noting “You knew
pretty much everybody that was rid-
ing in it ... it really made a difference
because it was more of a local show.”
The Ellensburg Record was equally
complimentary, reporting that the
rodeo’s “Riders are Skillful and the
Horses and Steers are Wild!”
By all accounts, Doc Pfenning and
his committee had done a superb job.
In addition to organizing and pro-
ducing the rodeo, Doc Pfenning also
organized the selection and corona-
tion of the rodeo royalty and negoti-
ated the historic annual participation
of the Yakama Indian Nation in the
Ellensburg Rodeo. After doing all
of this, Pfenning then proceeded to
announce the show.
Microphones and public address
systems were unheard of in 1920s
Ellensburg. Using only a megaphone
in Ellensburg’s large new arena, Pfen-
ning’s voice boomed out and over the
crowd of approximately 2,500.
Moreover, Pfenning organized and
produced the first Ellensburg Rodeo
parade. Locals remember him as a
leader of that parade, decked out in
Western duds astride his black horse
Midnight.
The next year Pfenning pressed
local business people and towns-
men to “dress western” for the rodeo,
sporting hats, boots, kerchiefs and
snap button Western shirts. He
believed this “costuming” would
please the tourists from Seattle and
make the Ellensburg Rodeo even
more popular.
After more than two years of
immense labor, Dr. H.E. Pfenning
stepped down as producer of the
Ellensburg Rodeo in 1925. He left a
legacy that has endured.
He was inducted into the Ellens-
burg Rodeo Hall of Fame’s inaugural
class of inductees in 1997.
1951
1952
1951 — Another rodeo legend, defending world champion saddle bronc rider Casey Tibbs, was thrown
for the first time at Ellensburg.
1952 — The first Rodeo Kickoff Breakfast was held two weeks before the rodeo. Free to the public, it
attracted 2,500 people for pancakes and sausages.
1953 — Faced with the closure of Snoqualmie Pass for road repairs, the rodeo experienced a drop in
attendance and lost money.
1953
Continued on page 14
12 Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present
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Ask Ann Burkheimer Reed
about how her life crosses
paths with the Ellensburg
Rodeo. Her memories will
come galloping in just like the
rodeo’s grand entry that she
took part in years ago.
She remembers traveling
with her family as a little kid
from the West Side to the
Ellensburg Rodeo, being curb-
side to enjoy the Saturday
morning rodeo parade and
how women, including her
mother, wore flowers in
their cowboy hats.
Reed’s memories of the rodeo
don’t stop there — and that’s
the reason Reed, now 67 and
living near Poulsbo, has been
honored with the 2008 Driver
Family Memorial Award.
Her past and present volun-
teer work for the Ellensburg
Rodeo, and her continued sup-
port of and commitment to
the rodeo, are reflected in the
award.
Some of that involvement:
serving as an Ellensburg Rodeo
princess, demonstrating cut-
ting horse skills during rodeo
performances, riding with the
Driver Family Memorial Award
The annual Driver Family Memorial Award is given each
year to an individual who has made a signicant contribution
to the Ellensburg Rodeo, the Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame
or associated rodeo activities.
In past years Scott and Martha Driver and Scott’s cousin,
Pam Driver Gunderson, have presented the award to the
recipient: a sterling silver and gold belt buckle depicting Lo
Driver’s horse while it reared on its hind legs as Lo was de-
livering to the Yakima airport an invitation to the Ellensburg
Rodeo going to President Harry Truman.
Her heart’s
at the rodeo
Ann Burkheimer Reed
honored with Driver Family Award
Continued on page 13
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Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present 13

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local Wranglerettes equestrian drill
team, winning a regional cutting
horse championship, and being one of
the founding members of the rodeo-
supporting Gold Buckle Club.
In addition, she started and then
organized for 15 straight years the
popular Gold Buckle Club party on
Sunday night of rodeo weekend, an
event that grew in popularity to the
point where it had to be limited to
1,000 people.
“I guess you could say it’s kind of
like a big reunion of the Ellensburg
Rodeo family,” Reed said about the
annual party at the Springwood
Ranch Party Barn. “You can run into
old friends there and turn around
and talk to rodeo cowboys and rodeo
clowns.”
Western roots
Reed’s parents, John and Frances
Burkheimer, purchased the Diamond
Bar Ranch west of Thorp off Killmore
Road in the late 1940s. At the time
John worked as a real estate developer
in Seattle and the family lived in a
rural home site near Bellevue.
John later built a home on the
ranch, and Reed remembers the
whole family moving to the Kittitas
Valley in 1950 when she was 9 years
old.
Her life in the West had begun.
“It was at this time I began to
appreciate the values and all that
country living had to offer,” Reed said,
“especially the enjoyment I gained
from learning my way around a ranch
and livestock.
“I loved the simplicity and the hon-
esty of the Western way of life.”
Reed’s father commuted two days a
week to Seattle for work, but the rest
of the time was filled with ranch work
and raising a family that included
Reed, an older sister and two younger
brothers.
John began involving himself in
cutting horse competition as he made
friendships with Ellensburg Rodeo
Posse and Rodeo Board members Lo
and Art Driver and Tex Taliaferro.
John later served on the rodeo board.
Deep rodeo roots
In the meantime, Reed took to
the horse, joining the Wranglerettes
equestrian team at 14 and learning
how to compete in cow cutting along-
side her father and the Driver broth-
ers.
With the women’s mounted drill
team she rode in parades around the
state, performed in the rodeo’s grand
entry and during the rodeo itself.
“It was thrilling to ride in the
rodeo,” she said.
Reed won a Northwest reserve cow
cutting championship as a novice in
1958, served as an Ellensburg Rodeo
princess in 1959 and performed cut-
ting horse demonstrations during
rodeo performances.
Reed graduated from Ellensburg
High School in 1959, attended col-
lege in Colorado, worked 10 years as
a flight attendant for United Airlines
and married in 1969 to Frank Reed, a
U.S. Navy master chief.
She moved with Frank to different
duty stations throughout the country,
yet through the years always tried to
not miss an Ellensburg Rodeo.
After Frank retired from the Navy
and from his work as a civilian
employee at the Trident submarine
base at Bangor, the family kept the
tradition of attending the rodeo.
Past award recipients
2000 — Rex Rice
2001 — Bertha Morrison
2002 — Joel Smith
2003 — Mary McManamy Seubert
2004 — Oscar Berger
2005 — Molly Morrow
2006 — Gordon Wollen
2007 — Ken MacRae
In her own words ...
“The commitment and dedication
that the Driver family, the Ellens-
burg Rodeo Board and the city of
Ellensburg provides (to) the local
community, rodeo participants and
the citizens of Kittitas Valley is truly
inspirational and is representative of
the value system that I grew up with
in the Kittitas Valley.
“In receiving this award, I am ex-
tremely honored to be included with
the previous Driver award recipients.
“The Ellensburg Rodeo is a com-
munity and national event that I have
always been proud of and support.
I know that as a long-time Ellens-
burg Rodeo supporter, Rodeo Board
member and Driver family friend, my
father would be as proud as I am of
my receiving the Driver award.”
— Ann Burkheimer Reed.
Continued on page 14
14 Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present
Helping the club
Ann and Frank Reed were some of
the first to join the Gold Buckle Club,
and in 1993 Ann organized the club’s
first party at the Burkheimer family
ranch near Thorp, reflecting a long
tradition of rodeo parties conducted
in past years.
After the third party at the ranch, it
was clear the ranch was too small to
contain it. Ann remembers it moved
one year to the Steve Lathrop prop-
erty but then headed for the Spring-
wood Ranch party barn.
Former Ellensburg Rodeo Board
member Scott Repp, whose idea it
was to start the Gold Buckle Club,
said Ann’s volunteer work was
instrumental in helping get the club
off the ground and attracting new
members.
Repp remembers Ann’s brother,
Bob Burkheimer, was one of the first
four who joined the club.
“Ann was just a great worker bee
for all those years,” Repp said. “Most
came to the rodeo and the party to
enjoy the events, Ann came to work.
“She, literally, did just about every-
thing to make that party a success;
she even did hand-made invitations.”
The club’s dues and other club
donations helped increase the
rodeo’s purse which, in turn, attract-
ed quality cowboy competitors to the
rodeo. The club’s support also is key
in paying for improvements and new
seating in the rodeo arena.
Ann, after 15 years organizing the
party, handed over the event’s orga-
nization to the staff of the Ellensburg
Rodeo Ticket Office.
“Although I live on the West Side,
my roots were always more in the
Kittitas Valley, and they still are,”
Ann said. “My heart’s with the
Ellensburg Rodeo.”
A
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Continued on page 19
1960 — Singing cowboy star Gene Autry rode in the Ellensburg Rodeo opening day parade Sept. 3
with a posse of youngsters from the Flying Horseshoe Ranch in Cle Elum.
1964 — More than 11,000 people were in the stands for the Sunday performance, the largest crowd
yet.
1965 — Saturday rodeo tickets cost $3 for the covered grandstand, or $2 for uncovered. The same
week at Sigman Food Stores, eggs were 89 cents for two dozen and bananas were eight pounds for
$1.
1960
1965
Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present 15
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16 Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present
By DON GRONNING
staff writer
When the Ellensburg Rodeo holds
its Blowout Bronc Riding event on
Sunday, Aug. 31 it will be paying hom-
age to a time when saddle bronc rid-
ing was the premier rodeo event.
In the early days of rodeo, almost
every community celebration in the
West had a saddle bronc riding con-
test.
In those days, bronc riding was a lit-
tle more rugged. There were no buck-
ing chutes, for instance. The bronc was
snubbed to another saddle horse and
saddled. The rider stepped aboard and
the horse was turned loose.
There were no 8-second whistles
in those days. Riders rode until the
judges were “satisfied.” Basically that
meant until the bronc quit bucking.
The process became more refined
over the years. Rodeos started using
bucking chutes. Rides went for a set
amount of time — 10 seconds at first,
later changed to 8 seconds.
But the essential contest remained
the same — a rider trying to stay
aboard a horse that doesn’t want to be
ridden. So what makes a good buck-
ing horse?
“A lot of things,” says Rod Hay, a
veteran bronc rider and past Canadi-
an champ who has won more than $2
million riding saddle broncs. “Mostly
it’s their personality. They have to
have the will to get a guy off their
back.”
Frank Beard of Ellensburg has
been around bucking horses most
of his life. He owned and operated
Beard Rodeos for more than 20 years,
supplying bucking stock to rodeos
around the country, including the
Ellensburg Rodeo and the National
Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. He says
crowds like to see horses that get in
the air and buck.
“The crowd likes to see something
that has some swoops,” he says. “Peo-
ple like to see someone fall off once in
a while.”
Shane Franklin, a Canadian stock
contractor, says he likes his bucking
horses to be unruly.
“I like one that’s not broke,” he said.
“One that creates a little excitement.”
He says crowds perk up when they
hear the word “wild” and that’s how
he describes his broncs.
“They’re not calm, they’re not halter
broke,” he says. He runs about 600
horses on his Alberta ranch. They
aren’t handled until they’re about 6
years old.
Ellensburg has seen many great
horses over the years, broncs like
Snake, War Paint and Miss Klamath.
Bud King’s Big Bend Rodeo Compa-
ny used to supply horses to the Ellens-
burg Rodeo in the 1960s. King owned
Trails End, the 1959 Bucking Horse of
the Year and a recent inductee into
the ProRodeo Hall of Fame. He says a
horse’s attitude is the key to whether
it makes a good bronc.
“It takes the right temperament,”
King says. Trails End had that temper-
ament. He was supposed to be a pack-
horse, but he never took to it. Eventu-
ally he ended up in a rodeo string and
the rest is history.
But horses like Trails End, that don’t
come out of a bucking horse breeding
program, are becoming the minor-
ity. Most contractors breed their own
bucking horses now. There’s a reason
for that.
“I remember one time Ed Ring and
myself went to Canada and bought a
truckload of draft horses,” said King.
“We thought we had some good ones.”
But only two of the 30 horses
bucked and the only one that made
it into the rodeo string was a saddle
horse thrown in at the last minute to
fill out the truckload.
“You never know what makes them
buck,” said King.
Doug Vold made the highest scored
bronc ride ever in 1979. His score of
95 has been tied but not broken. Vold
comes from a rodeo family and is now
in the business of raising bucking
horses.
He says horses that are bred to buck
are more likely to continue bucking
after the first time or two.
“Those spoiled saddle horses don’t
stay hooked too long,” says Vold. And
the life of a modern bucking horse is
a little more complicated than in the
old days. Indoor arenas, lights and
crowds all affect how they perform.
When saddle bronc was king
Don Gronning ⁄ Daily Record
Frank Beard with one of his colts that will one day be a saddle bronc.
Continued on page 17
Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present 17
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“It takes a long time to get ’em locked
in,” says Vold.
But once a horse has established
itself as a bucker, it can perform for
decades.
“Horses can buck in the big leagues
up to about 20 or so,” says Franklin,
whose saddle bronc, Kingsway Skoal,
was featured on a Canadian postage
stamp.
Kingsway is also being cloned, with
a colt due shortly, says Franklin.
Bucking horses, no matter how can-
tankerous, are beloved by cowboys.
When the famous bronc Midnight
died in 1936, more than 300 people
attended the funeral, a good many of
them cowboys who had been bucked
off the great horse, which had bucked
at Ellensburg.
Midnight was inducted into the
Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame, as well
as into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame.
The late Dick Griffith was a rodeo
contestant who will be inducted into
the Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame
this year. His words about Midnight
are inscribed on the horse’s gravestone
and capture some of the affection
cowboys hold for good bucking horses.
“Under this sod lies a great bucking
hoss
There never lived a cowboy he
couldn’t toss
His name was midnight, his coal as
black as coal
If there is a hoss-heaven, please God,
rest his soul”
Kittitas County Historical Museum
18 Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present
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By W.S. Wickerman
For the Daily Record
Editor’s note: The article was first
published in the 1972 Daily Record.
Nobody who ever rode a head of
stock remembers what happened on
the first one. Whether you or whether
it or hit the deck, it is a blur of violent
motion and the mind is not condi-
tioned to react.
A boxer calls it timing and he knows
not only how much effort it takes to
speed the reaction time but he will
also soon learn that a fine edge can be
lost in just a few days.
Long ago during the 1920 era some
of us kids-would-be-bronc-stompers
used to spend Sundays running wild
horses in the Pocket. Occasionally we
got lucky and ran in a bunch in an old
corral.
The idea then was to front foot ’em
(let a horse run by and throw a loop
in front so he’d put his feet in it),
bring him down and set on his head.
We had a heavy old halter, which we
would fit on and then pull the cinch
through and tighten on a saddle.
We took turns getting up with them.
Most wouldn’t buck very hard but
once in a while there would be there
would be one that could turn it on
and we’ve have the bruises to prove it.
In looking back from this vantage
point it probably was a miracle that
all we got was some sore places — we
might have been crippled up on those
wild ones. If we didn’t buck off, we
usually pulled off on the corral fence.
It was all good clean fun and we
usually would heal up in a week or so.
But, while we didn’t know it, we were
developing our timing.
The year 1926 was my first try at
the Ellensburg Rodeo. I had ridden in
some smaller shows and in the week-
end rodeo at Fergusons’ at the old
home place on what is now the Fergu-
son Road.
The following January was cold
and snowy, and the Navy looked
attractive, so at the ripe old age of
15 I joined up. Being six feet and 164
pounds, they believed me when I said
I was 19.
Boot camp and a trade school, plus
my first ship the tanker, U.S.S. Ram-
papo and uncounted trips through
the Panama Canal took up 1927. The
Ramapo during this time did a speed
run and with the tail wind and the
movie screen rigged she did a rousing
10 knots — empty. She also sailed into
a Carribean hurricane which carried
away about everything including the
catwalk, the after gun circle, complete
with a 5-inch gun, the deck load and
the spud locker.
Because the ship had been under
water for two days we all put in for
submarine pay at Quantanama.
All good things come to him who
waits and in the fall of ’28 we got orders
for Bremerton. It was rodeo time back
in Ellensburg and a homesick sailor
Rider risked court marshall to rodeo
Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present 19
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1894-2007
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just wanted to see, smell and feel a
horse again. Unfortunately, the execu-
tive officer didn’t understand about
such things and denied a request for
a short leave. So an AOL (absent over
leave) gob signed up to ride in the 1928
Rodeo not knowing whether the stock
would be tougher than the court mar-
tial waiting back on the ship.
In those days bareback riding was
not considered a competitive event
and we rode for “mount money” on
either horses or bulls. We got $2.50
out of the chute and $5 “across the
line,” a white line about 60 feet out.
Sometimes a spinner would stay
inside the line and the pay would still
be $2.50. We rode everything with a
loose rope and cowbell.
At the show that year was a brown
mare that piled some good boys the
first two days. I think it was Lou Rich-
ards, then arena director, who conned
me into sittin’ on that mare the last
day. She had a nasty way of chopping
hard for 4 or 5 jumps, then planting
her feet and changing directions. I had
it all figured out on how to ride her.
The only problem was my timing and
when she stopped I was still two jumps
behind and did a very ungraceful
handstand as she changed direction.
An enterprising photographer
caught it right there.
The Navy doled out justice in the
form of three days bread and water
plus a healthy fine upon my return,
which didn’t dim the warm feeling
left by the show. After the Navy there
were many more rodeos in various
places, but 1928 sort of stands out in
my memory.
1971
1968
1972
1968 — A San Francisco consulting firm gave the rodeo board the results of its year and a half study.
Among other things, a survey showed that most fans came from the Puget Sound area and that “at least
a third” of them were interested in seeing the fair.
1971 — Ellensburg photographer John Foster won a national award for his photo of Larry Mahan being
dragged by a bareback horse while pickup man Doug Vold leaped from his horse to free Mahan. Mahan
ended up with a broken leg.
1972 — The Automobile Club of Washington ran 10 buses from Seattle area for the Saturday parade,
rodeo and barbecue at Stuart Anderson’s Black Angus Ranch. Attendance was up, with $72,108 in
revenue.
Continued on page 17
20 Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present
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By RYAN THOMPSON
staff intern
Rodeo-inspired songs, like rodeos themselves, are
brash, confidant expressions of individuality and the
battle for success, whether against cattle, other cow-
boys, or for a woman’s heart. Here are just a few of the
tunes that remind us why we put on spurs in the first
place:
It just sounds like ... rodeo
“Bullrider” by Johnny Cash
Cash summarizes bull riding in
three simple lines, “Live fast, die
young, bull rider,” in his classic song
about rodeo lifestyle. Cash reminds
us that bull riding is neither glamor-
ous nor easy by singing with the
honesty that only Cash could.
“Rodeo” by Larry Bastian/Garth Brooks
Popularized in the ‘90s by Brooks’
cover, Bastian’s tune expresses both
the thrill of the rodeo and heartbreak
as he tells the tale of a cowboy torn
between a woman and the rodeo.
Although the cowboy’s girl would “give
half of Texas” to hold him, rodeo com-
petition keeps the cowboy captive.
“I can still make Cheyenne”
by George Strait
Like Bastian’s “Rodeo,” “I can still
make Cheyenne” expresses the
di culties of keeping love alive for
a cowboy. In Strait’s song the wife
never knows if he will survive the
rodeo. The pressure becomes too
much, and she nds a new lover who
“sure ain’t no Rodeo man.”
“He rides the wild horses”
by Chris LeDoux
A veteran of rodeo competition
himself, LeDoux wrote many songs
about rodeos and cowboys, but this
tune stands out above the herd. The
song paints a picture of a drifting
cowboy whose “spirit’s as wild as the
horses he rides.”
“Bandito Gold” by Red Steagall
This is truly an epic song, tell-
ing the tale of a boy and his horse,
named Bandito Gold. The boy’s
father eventually sells Bandito Gold,
and the song moves throughout
boy’s life. Now an adult, he must face
his old horse at a rodeo, establish-
ing the rodeo as a metaphor for the
twists and turns of life.
“Chestnut Mare” by The Byrds
Penned by Roger McGuinn,
“Chestnut Mare” tackled the subject
of bronco taming in a country-rock
style, bringing country music themes
to hippie culture. Although country
purists may have disliked the tune it
depicted the subject as eectively as
any country song.
“The Cowboy in the Continental Suit”
by Marty Robbins
Robbins’ classic tune speaks of a
cowboy who was mocked for dress-
ing in a ne suit, but awed his peers
with his bull riding skills. The mysteri-
ous cowboy conquers a bull named
“The Brute,” teaching his fellow riders
to “never judge by what they wear.”
Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present 21
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Added money — The purse put up
by the rodeo that is added to the
contestant’s entry fees to make up the
total prize money. All PRCA-sanctioned
rodeos have added money.
Average — At rodeos with more than one
go-round, contestants earn money for
each go and those with the best total
score or time win additional money.
Go-round — One round of competi-
tion. Rodeo events may have several
go-rounds.
No time — Failure to qualify during timed
events that is signaled by the flagman by
waving the flag side to side.
Bail out — When a horse rears up on its
hind legs as it leaves the chute.
Barrel man — Clown in barrel during the
bull-riding
Buford or pup — An easy animal to
compete on in the timed events.
Dally — A turn of the end of the rope
around the saddle horn after the animal
is caught.
Dink — A bull or horse that doesn’t buck
hard enough for the cowboy to get a
good score.
Fading — A bull that spins and moves in
the direction of his spin.
Freight trained — When someone is run
over by an animal traveling at top speed.
Headhunter — A bull that is constantly
looking for someone to charge.
Out the back door — When a rider is
thrown off the hind end of the animal.
Pantyhosed — When the heeler catches
a steer with the rope going around the
animal’s flank, the roper is said to have
pantyhosed the steer.
Pickup man — A mounted cowboy who
assists contestants dismount during
bareback and saddle bronc riding.
Piggin’ string — A small, soft rope, 6-feet
long, used by tie-down ropers to tie the
animal’s feet.
Putting the boots to one — Spurring
during a bull ride. It’s not required but it
may earn extra points for the rider.
Sucks back — When a bucking animal
suddenly plants its feet and sucks
backward, pitching the riders over the
head.
Sunfisher — The animal twists his body
in the air so that daylight shines on his
belly.
Timers — In each timed event: tie-down
roping, steer wrestling, team roping and
barrel racing, there are two timers who
must agree on the time made by each
contestant.
Well — The center of the spin. Riders
may get into the well and not be able
to regain balance, which creates a
dangerous area for dismount.
Whipped down — Describes a rider that
his jerked forward on the bull and his
face smashes into the animal’s head.
Lingo: Know your cowboy talk
22 Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present
Ellens burg Rodeo
We’re also a local event
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Rodeo memories
By DON GRONNING
staff writer
Kittitas County people have been an integral part of the
Ellensburg Rodeo since it started. Both in county roping
contests and major Professional Rodeo Cowboy Associa-
tion events, Ellensburg contestants have won their share.
We talked to as many riders, ropers and photographers
as we could. Here are some of their memories from the
Ellensburg Rodeo.
“Ellensburg has always been one of my favorite rodeos. Brent
Minor and I won the state high school team roping champi-
onship three times in a row and I graduated from Ellensburg
High School, so more than winning, I enjoy coming back and
seeing my friends. It’s a real special time for me. “
ALLEN BACH,
FOUR TIME WORLD CHAMPION TEAM ROPER
Contributed Allen Bach
Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present 23
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Rodeo memories
“I rode at Ellensburg three times, I think. I got bucked off two
and turned down a re-ride on another because I didn’t want to
get on the re-ride bull, which had jerked me down and broke
my nose at a rodeo in Idaho the year before. I think I entered
Ellensburg more than that but turned out a couple times and
doctor released after having surgery one year.
“My most vivid memory, though, was of the wild cow milking.
They say bull riders are tough, and they are, but I watched Pat
Nogle get off his horse and bend down to pick something up
after he got messed up in a dally in the cow milking. He tried to
pick it up with his right hand, but couldn’t, so he reached down
with his left hand. It turned out he had cut off his thumb in the
dally and was reaching down to pick it up. He got it, remounted
and loped out of the arena. That’s a tough guy.”
DAILY RECORD REPORTER DON GRONNING,
COMPETED IN THE BULL RIDING IN THE EARLY 1980S
Continued on page 26
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24 Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present
By RYAN THOMPSON
staff intern
Official Ellensburg Rodeo Royal
Court photographer Molly Morrow
began her involvement in art with
pottery. But when she discovered
photography, it was love at first sight.
“When a photo comes together …
that’s like gold,” Morrow said. “I just
really enjoyed it.”
Morrow, 56, became involved with
photography through a photo silk
screening class she took with pro-
fessor John Agars during her time
as a broad area art major at Central
Washington University, she said. She
began doing more photography, and
her husband Joe built her a studio in
1994. Morrow began taking photos
throughout the Kittitas Valley, and it
didn’t take Ellensburg residents long
to discover her work.
“People wanted me to take family
photos, wedding photos,” Morrow
said. “In Ellensburg you get to do
everything. I really grew as a photog-
rapher.”
Morrow found that her background
in art and pottery also applied to
photography.
“You use art skills like paying
attention to texture and composition
in photography,” Morrow said.
She now takes a variety of photog-
raphy jobs in Ellensburg, working
from her studio downtown. However,
Western photos are Morrow’s favor-
ite.
“I’ve just always loved horses and
livestock,” Morrow said. “The West-
ern part of what I do was always a big
deal to me.”
That love of Western photography
naturally led Morrow into rodeo
photography, she said. She works
for both the Ellensburg Rodeo and
the Professional Rodeo Cowboys
Association (PRCA), shooting rodeos
throughout the country.
“I got my first horse in second
grade … to do what I do now is a
dream come true,” Morrow said.
Morrow’s appreciation for the cow-
boy lifestyle is obvious from her pho-
tography skills.
“I think Molly really understands
the Old West and captures it in her
Morrow prepares
for another
year of rodeo
photography
Molly Morrow: love at
rst Click
Continued on page 25
P
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W
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Molly Morrow
Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present 25
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photos,” said Joella Oldfield, director
of the Fred Oldfield Western Heri-
tage Center in Tacoma.
Oldfield knows Morrow’s skill
from first-hand experience. Morrow
has photographed Oldfield’s father,
renowned Western artist Fred Old-
field, for magazines, news articles
and other media, and has also done
photos of his artwork.
“Molly is truly an artist, “ Oldfield
said. “She gets a depth of feeling
in her photography that not many
people can.”
Ellensburg resident and retired
rodeo stock contractor Frank Beard
agreed that Morrow has a gift for
photography.
“She has a knack for getting
pictures of bucking horses at the
rodeo,” Beard said. “There’s a lot of
action in her photos.”
Beard said Morrow has taken
many photos of his stock.
“It’s quite a big deal for the valley to
have someone with her talent,” he said.
The thrill of taking that next great
photo is the drive behind Morrow’s
work, she said.
“Right before you trip the shut-
ter … it’s like a challenge,” Morrow
said. “There’s always a real sweet
moment right before you shoot, like
with a sunset, right when the light is
perfect.”
On top of her numerous other
projects, Morrow began shooting
photos for Northwest Magazine in
February 2008. Morrow’s daughter,
29-year-old daughter Annie Alley,
also writes for the magazine, and
Morrow has shot photos for some of
her articles, she said.
“Working with Annie is a dream
come true,” Morrow said. “It’s really
fun to go out on new assignments.”
Morrow’s future photography
plans outside of the professional
world also involve her family.
“One of the biggest things for me
to look forward to is photographing
my grandson as he grows up,” Mor-
row said.
Whatever projects lie in Morrow’s
future, it’s a safe bet that her work
will stay close to the rodeo.
“I just love the whole thing. It’s an
exciting time,” Morrow said. “Ellens-
burg has a wonderful rodeo. I’m
proud to be a part of it.”
26 Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present
Rodeo memories
“We, as a family have had several memorable moments with
the Ellensburg Rodeo over the years. The two that really stand
out for us is that we were professional P.R.C.A. trick riders and
it seems that most local rodeos would not hire local talent
especially a rodeo the size of Ellensburg, as they did and still
do, pride themselves on having the top P.R.C.A. entertainers
perform at their performances. We had a neighbor that was
serving on the rodeo board at that time and he had the privi-
lege of seeing us perform for a small rodeo, he took it back to
the board and they asked us to perform for the 1971 Ellens-
burg Rodeo performances. We did and all went well, in fact,
we were asked back three additional years after that. This was
very memorable as we felt it would never happen for us.
The second memory also involves trick riding however,
this time it was our 9-year-old son Chad. He was one of the
youngest professional trick riders in the P.R.C.A. and he was
asked to fill a vacancy, due to one of the “Flying Cossacks”
troupe members getting injured at a prior rodeo. Not only did
he get to work Ellensburg but several other rodeos that year.
He was also signed to a work the rodeo a couple of years later
with Vickie Tyer and the “All-American Trick-Riders.”
As the results we have had the privilege of meeting and
knowing many of the top acts ever in professional rodeo such
as Montie Montana and his family, Connie Griffith, Corinne
Williams, John Payne, the One-Armed Bandit, the Flying
Cossacks, Francisco Zamorro, Max Reynolds, Peggy Minor
Hunt, Phil Gardenhire, Justin McKee, and Flint Rasmussen.
As a 30-plus year member of the Ellensburg Rodeo Posse and
the current Drill Master, we as a group have had many, too
numerous to count memories from events and their winners,
getting to know and work with the very cream of the crop
of cowboy and cowgirl contestants, the special dedication
of performances to many of our close friends and fallen
comrades, and the many special stand out volunteers/cowboy
and cowgirl contestants and their animals that have been
inducted into the Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame.”
OSCAR AND BEVERLY BERGER,
PROFESSIONAL TRICK RIDERS WHO PERFORMED AT ELLENSBURG
“Although, I went to the short go several times, I never did
place in the average. But, what a thrill it was to rope against
some of the best ropers in the world, on Monday, in front of
those Ellensburg Rodeo fans.
“Probably, my biggest thrill was when I roped the fastest calf
of the performance, when Coca-Cola was giving away $100
for such a feat. At the end of the event, the (recipient) circled
the arena. It was pretty neat riding around that arena at your
hometown rodeo.
“In 1991, I was 10.6 seconds on my second calf and placed in
that go-round. I never thought I would be roping against those
guys when I was 50 years old. I was 51 at the time.”
JACK WALLACE,
TIE DOWN ROPER WHO COMPETED MANY TIMES AT ELLENSBURG
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Beverly Berger
Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present 27
“From the get go, I was a horse crazy girl and when I got my first
horse at age eight I was instantly captivated by the speed, adrena-
line and excitement of the sport of rodeo. It didn’t take long before
I was roping, barrel racing and goat tying in junior rodeos, high
school rodeos and I just finished up (my fourth) season with the
Central Washington University college rodeo team.
“I have seen a lot and competed in a lot of rodeos across the
United States and I must say that the Ellensburg Rodeo is a
top-notch production and one of my favorites to watch. There
is so much history behind the rodeo and all the rodeo ‘greats’
have competed at Ellensburg. I am fortunate enough this year
to have the opportunity to compete in the well-known County
Roping competition during the rodeo in breakaway roping
and I hope to make it to the finals on Monday where with the
best of the best will be dueling in the dirt!
“In the next few years I want to become a Women’s Profes-
sional Rodeo Association member and get the chance to
compete and win the barrel racing competition at the Ellens-
burg rodeo.
“The week prior to the Ellensburg Rodeo this year, I will be
competing in the Miss Rodeo Washington pageant. The new
Miss Rodeo Washington is crowned at the Friday night perfor-
mance of the rodeo and I hope this is my year to win the title.
The Ellensburg rodeo is an event I look forward to each and
every year and I hope to be able to watch and compete in this
famous rodeo for many more years to come.”
CHERYL BROWN
ROPER AND RODEO QUEEN CONTESTANT, DAILY RECORD AD REP.
“It was a pretty good rodeo to me. I first won money in
1975 (calf roping) and the last time I won money was in
1994 (calf roping, steer wrestling).
“Something that sticks out in my mind is all the hard work
that the committee members and the volunteers do. The
committee members get a little recognition but the volunteers
work hard just for the satisfaction of helping out at the rodeo.
The rodeo wouldn’t happen without them.
“And, as someone who rodeoed in other states, there is a
feeling of pride knowing that your hometown rodeo is one of
the best in the world. It really is a class act.”
SAM KAYSER,
COMPETED MORE THAN 20 YEARS
“One of the most memorable times was when I broke the arena
record (3.8 seconds, in the steer wrestling in 1977). Another
time was when Sam (Kayser) and I made the finals together. We
didn’t place in the average but it was neat that both of us made
the short round. I must have won three or four go-rounds here
over the years but never could win the average.”
J.P. ROAN,
STEER WRESTLER
“I’m 93 years old, so I don’t remember too well. But I used to
rodeo quite a bit. I tried all the events but I liked calf roping
and bronc riding the best. I used to place in the wild horse
race.
“I can remember when they had the first rodeo. We lived next
door. It was quiet a deal for a small community and this was a
small community then.
“My wife and I still go to the rodeo every year. She’s blind but
says she can still hear it.”
CLIFF GAGE,
FORMER ALL-AROUND COWBOY
Rodeo memories
Continued on page 36
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Cheryl Brown
J.P. Roan
28 Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present
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30 Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present
By RYAN THOMPSON
staff intern
Although times have changed,
the pioneer spirit still prevails at the
Kittitas County Fairgrounds’ Fron-
tier Village.
Village caretakers Marv, 87, and
Betty Kelley, 85, work each year to
provide a classic experience for fair-
goers of all ages.
“The village draws people in. It
seems everyone that comes here is
looking for that ‘old’ feeling,” Betty
said.
The Frontier Village is made up
of restored buildings dating from
Ellensburg’s pioneer times, such as
the Manastash line cabin and Cook
family cabin, and also replicas of
classic buildings such as Robber’s
Roost, Marv said.
All buildings are decorated with
genuine antiques and staffed by vol-
unteers, who provide a bit of history
and entertainment for fairgoers.
Ellensburg resident Gerald Hunt
started the Frontier Village in the
late 1970s to display a bit of his-
tory for Ellensburg residents, Marv
said. The Kelleys became involved
with the village in 1980 when Hunt
enlisted Betty in 1980 to decorate an
antique building to look like a store,
Betty said.
Hunt moved the historic building,
which was built in 1900, from its
original Ellensburg location to the
Frontier Village so he could create a
store setting.
Betty took him up on the plan and
decided to manage a real store in the
village, modeling it after the penny
candy business from her youth, she
said.
“I thought all little boys should
have the chance to buy candy
directly from an adult and look eye-
to-eye across the counter at them,
like in the old days,” Betty said.
Betty named the business Hunt’s
General Store and decorated the
building with many antiques from
Frontier Village gives kids and
adults a taste of the old days
Don Gronning ⁄ Daily Record
Candy for 1¢! Kids can get a taste for the good ol’ days when candy only cost a penny.
Don Gronning ⁄ Daily Record
Frontier Village caretaker Marv Kelley works each year to provide a unique experience
for Fairgoers.
Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present 31
her home. She began selling 50-cent
pickles and the ever-popular penny
candy, which does cost just one
penny. Kids literally ate it up.
“We eventually had to limit
the amount one kid could spend on
candy,” Betty said with a laugh.
With a love of history and the pio-
neer ideals of old, Marv and Betty
began helping out more with the
village. Hunt passed away in the
1980s and his wife took up running
the village, Marv said. The Kelleys
continued helping out, and began
running it themselves about 10 years
ago, Marv said.
Marv was more than happy to do
the work and maintenance needed
to run the village, which he still con-
tinues to this day.
“It’s fun, and I enjoy building,”
Marv said.
The village offers many events
including getting one’s photo taken
in the fake stocks and entering the
log sawing contest, a popular com-
petition that was once held inside
the village but will take place direct-
ly in front of the village’s entrance
this year, Marv said. Contestants
work together to saw through a log
using a cross cut and beat their
opponents’ time, Marv said
“It’s not a matter of strength, it’s a
matter of balance and timing,” Marv
said.
The village appeals especially to
children, Marv said, offering enter-
tainment such as panning for “gold.”
The popular gold is actually fool’s
gold or pyrite, but don’t tell the kids
that.
“The kids are wide eyed, and will
tell you stories about taking gold to
school,” Betty said.
If the children aren’t busy making
their fortune, they might be found
at the country schoolhouse, a tradi-
tional style school building ran by
former public school teacher and
Ellensburg resident Donna Nyland-
er. She teaches a few lessons in basic
subjects each day for children, also
offering poetry readings and per-
formances by musicians, Nylander
said.
“I make it interesting for the
kids and try to do things that are
old fashioned so they can have the
experience of what it was like before
television,” Nylander said.
Of course, no pioneer town is
complete without a saloon. How-
ever, don’t go looking for a shot of
whiskey at this watering hole.
“We only stock Henry Weinhardt’s
finest root beer,” said Marian Ger-
rits, an Ellensburg resident and
volunteer who staffs the saloon. The
root beer is a top seller among young
and old alike, Gerrits said, often
drawing in old friends.
“Kids who I met four years ago
will come back and say ‘hi,’” Gerrits
said.
Many of those same children
come back later as volunteers at
the village, Marv said. The vil-
lage is completely volunteer run
and mostly self sufficient, gaining
money needed for maintenance and
improvements by selling soda in the
saloon and goods at Hunt’s General
Store, Marv said.
The Kelleys plan on running the
village as long as they can, Marv
said, bringing a bit of the old west
back to modern Ellensburg and
delighting fairgoers in the process.
“We’ve watched kids come in,
grow up, and then bring their fami-
lies to the village,” Betty said. “We
get wonderful people here.”
Joe Whiteside ⁄ Daily Record
Fairgoers stand in line for the Super One Foods Community Lunch in 2007.
32 Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present
Thursday, August 28
7 a.m. Rodeo Slack
10 a.m. Kittitas County Fair opens
12 p.m. Carnival and Midway Rides open
7 p.m. Hall of Fame Banquet (Doors open at 6pm)
• Limited number of tickets available through the Ticket
Office for $35
• Dinner and Induction Ceremony at New CWU Student
Union Ballroom
10 p.m. Kittitas County Fair closes
Friday, August 29
10 a.m. Kittitas County Fair opens
12 p.m. Carnival and Midway Rides open
6:45 p.m. Opening Performance of the Ellensburg Rodeo
• Tickets available through Rodeo Office (800) 637-2444
• Crowning of Miss Rodeo Washington 2009
• Rodeo Tickets provide admittance to the Fair on the same
day • so come early and enjoy both the Rodeo and the
Fair!
10 p.m. Kittitas County Fair closes
Saturday, August 30
6:30 a.m. Pancake Breakfast (8th & Ruby • Albertson’s parking lot)
• cost is approximately $5.00 per person
9:30 a.m. Western Parade (downtown)
10 a.m. Kittitas County Fair opens
12 p.m. Carnival and Midway Rides open
12:45 p.m. Ellensburg Rodeo
8 p.m. PRCA Xtreme Bulls Event
• Tickets available through Rodeo Office (800) 637-2444
• Gates open at 7 p.m./show starts at 8 p.m.
10 p.m. Kittitas County Fair closes
Sunday, August 31
8 a.m. Pancake Breakfast (8th & Ruby • Albertson’s parking lot)
10 a.m. Kittitas County Fair opens
10 a.m. Cowboy Church
• Located in Section KK (NE Arena)
• Open to public
12 p.m. Carnival and Midway Rides Open
12:45 p.m. Ellensburg Rodeo • Tough Enough to Wear Pink
6:45 p.m. Broncs Blowout
• $12 general admission tickets
• Bronc riding and exhibition drills performed by mounted
posses
• Posse games to follow
10 p.m. Kittitas County Fair closes
Monday, September 1
8:30 a.m. Cattle Baron’s Brunch
• Located at the Reed Park on the hill overlooking the
Rodeo Arena
• Sponsored by Young Life
• Tickets available through the Rodeo Office $20 per
person
10 a.m. Kittitas County Fair opens
11:45 a.m. Ellensburg Rodeo Finals
12 p.m. Carnival and Midway Rides open
6 p.m. Kittitas County Fair closes
(Event schedule is subject to change.)
Rodeo & Fair schedule
Joe Whiteside ⁄ Daily Record
Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present 33
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state and the promotion is subject to termination or change at any time without notice. Void where prohibited. Any financing information contained herein constitutes an offer by GE Money. BRP is not responsible for any errors, changes or actions related to financing provided by GE
Money Bank. BRP reserves the right, at any time, to discontinue or change specifications, prices, designs, features, models or equipment without incurring obligation. Some models depicted may include optional equipment. BRP highly recommends that all ATV drivers take a training
course. For safety and training information, see your dealer or call the ATV Safety Institute at 1-800-887-2887. ATVs can be hazardous to operate. For your safety: always wear a helmet, eye protection, and other protective clothing. Always remember that riding and alcohol/drugs don’t
mix. Never ride on paved surfaces or public roads. Never carry passengers on any ATV not specifically designed by the manufacturer for such use. Never engage in stunt driving. Avoid excessive speeds and be particularly careful on difficult terrain. ATVs with engine sizes of greater
than 90cc are recommended for use only by those aged 16 and older. Outlander MAX ATVs: These ATVs are recommended for drivers age 16 and older, and passengers age 12 and older only. BRP urges you to “TREAD LIGHTLY” on public and private lands. Preserve your future riding
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907 Hibbs Road | (509) 933-1737
Ellensburg, WA 98926 (Next to Luft Trailer Sales)
34 Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present
Cowboy hats: A mark of style
By DON GRONNING
staff writer
Cowboy hats are both a fashion statement and a use-
ful tool. For working cowboys and cowgirls, hats provide
shade and protection from the elements, as well as look-
ing stylish. We talked to Matthew Range, who does mar-
keting for Hatco, the company that owns Resistol and
Stetson hats, for some advice on hats.
Felt or straw?
One of the first questions a hat buyer needs to answer
is felt or straw. In hot weather, straw hats are lighter and
more airy, although they don’t survive getting stepped
on as well as felt hats. Straw cowboy hats are also
cheaper, priced from about $20-$100. Straw is a bit of a
misnomer. Most straw cowboy hats are made of shan-
tung, a high performance paper that is rolled into a yarn
by hand in China.
Cost
“Think about what you want to spend,” says Range.
As with most things, as the quality goes up, so does the
price. With felt hats, wool felt hats are at the cheaper
end of the spectrum, selling for about $60. Wool-fur
blends are the next step, with fur blends making up the
top end of the felt hat market. Range says Hatco offers a
1,000 X Stetson made of a beaver, chinchilla blend that
sells for $5,000. You can get a nice rabbit-beaver blend
for about $180, he says.
Color
The next thing to decide is the color. “Try on a variety
of colors,” says Range. “Some colors look better on some
people than others.”
He says black is the most popular color, followed by
silver belly, palomino, mist grey and silver grey.
Fit
“The best way to get the right fit is to try on different
sizes,” says Range. He says if you can’t try on different
sized hats, you can measure your head with a measur-
ing tape. You measure about an inch above the eyebrow
and go round the biggest part of the head. Then divide
the measurement by pi (.314) or see the chart. Most men
are 7-7 3/8 and most women fall into the 6 3/4 - 7 1/8
size, he says.
Head shape also figures into hat fitting, which is
another reason to try on the hat first. Most heads are
oval but how oval varies. Some heads are not oval, says
Range.
Hat bands, accessories
“Hat bands make the hat your own,” says Range. Hats
usually come with a band but beads, horsehair, silver
and leather are all used in hat bands.
Style
Brims and crowns are what distinguish Western hats
from other hats. Most Western hats have 4-inch brims,
4.25 inches if the brim has a bound edge. “We’ve noticed
brims getting slightly bigger,” says Range. “Our biggest is
5 inches.”
The most popular crown is 4 5/8s inches. Open crowns
are coming back into style, says Range. With an open or
non-shaped crown, you can crease it however you want.
Felt
Straw
Old Style
Tom mix
Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present 35
From the Cascades to the Columbia
THEMOUNTAINTEAM.COM
Phone • 509-656-2371
Toll Free • 800-356-3750
Fax • 509-656-0150
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Cowboy hats: etiquette
By Longfellow Deeds
www.thelastbestwest.com
No other piece of clothing carries such a compli-
cated set of rules involving its wear. Here are some
traditional rules for wearing a cowboy hat — and
some we think are just good manners.
• Any hat should be removed when eating any-
where, that includes baseball caps!
• Any hat should be removed when the national
anthem of any country is played. Hold your hat in
your right hand, over your heart. This applies to
women, unless their hat is held on with hat pins.
• Cowboys tip their hats to ladies when outdoors,
remove them when being introduced, and remove
them when entering a lady’s home.
• Men never tipped their hats to other men in the
Old West. It was akin to calling them a woman.
A nod was a common greeting when not shaking
hands. The Code of the West
• In commercial or public buildings it’s not neces-
sary to remove your hat — but should be when en-
tering a private office. Generally considered polite
to remove it in a private home, unless other people
are wearing their hat.
• Wearing a (cowboy) hat to a theatre or movie is
fine but should be removed if it blocks anyone’s
view of the entertainment.
See us
online
today...
36 Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present
“It has been said, ‘Just before one dies or thinks they
are dying your entire life passes before you,’ ... not so.
Normally I prefer being near the chutes during the
bucking stock events. For two reasons: I like to hear the
chatter among riders and chute workers and I cannot
afford the fancy long lenses most photographers have,
which allow them to stand on the track in front of the
main grandstand. They do get better photographs.
“In the late 1970s or early ’80s I found myself in the
middle of the arena. A bull already had tossed its would-
be rider and was freelancing around the arena looking for
something to hit. A track runner in high school, I knew
I could outrun any bull. All I had to do was reach a gate
panel leaning against the arena fence.
Surprise ... the gate panel was not fastened to the fence
along the main grandstand fence. Oh, I knew I would
reach the panel just ahead of the bull, but I did not know
the panel would fall into the arena when I made my first
climbing step.
“Any moment I expected to feel a set of horns hit my ribs,
but my life did not pass in front of me ... only the thought
of who was the so and so who leaned that gate panel
against the track fence without fastening it. Apparently
the bull saw photographer Bob Case in the stands and
decided to give him a full-face view to photograph rather
than kill an arena photographer.”
— JOHN FOSTER,
AWARD WINNING RODEO PHOTOGRAPHER AND FORMER ELLENSBURG RODEO
COMMITTEEMAN

“Last year was the first year for me to ride and it didn’t go
very well (he was bucked off ). But it is a good rodeo and
I’ll be back this year.”
ALLEN HELMUTH,
PRCA BULL RIDER
“I’ve watched my Dad (Sam Kayser) a lot there. I’ve roped
there twice as a PRCA roper. It’s a little nerve wracking
competing at your hometown rodeo, but it’s fun too.”
KASS KAYSER,
PRCA TIE DOWN ROPER
Welcome Rodeo Fans
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Rodeo memories
Continued on page 38
John Foster makes his escape ... barely.
C
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Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present 37
At the Kittitas County Fair
August 28 - September 1 · 2008
www.kittitascountyfair.com | 509.962.7639 | 800.426.5340
*Bracelets do not include the cost of fair admission
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512 N. Poplar Street
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500 W. Third Avenue
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615 S. Main Street
Super 1 Foods
200 E. Mountain View Avenue
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Desire. Opportunity. Achievement.
Central Washington University —
supporting the unified hard work
and dedication of Central’s Rodeo
Club students and all Ellensburg
Rodeo athletes.
vvv.cvu.edu º 509.963.1504
CWU is an AA/EEO/Tpitle IX Institution. TDD 509.963.2143
38 Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present
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“Over 30 years ago, a group of girls from the West Side and
a group from the east side of the mountains (Ellensburg)
formed a barrel racing club. It was called the Washington
Barrel Racing Association. We pursued the rodeos to have a
barrel race during their event.
“The Ellensburg Rodeo was hard to convince and we ended up
having our races in the posse night show. It turned out to be a
real success and fun to watch. The next year we were allowed
to have our barrel race inside the Ellensburg Rodeo.
“I competed for more than 20 years and won my share of
buckles and races. But more importantly, I made many friends
throughout the Northwest and helped many girls get started
in a sport I had a lot of fun with.
“Today women from across the country come to Ellensburg to
compete Labor Day weekend for a chance to win over $3,000
in the rodeo.”
NORMA DOAK,
BARREL RACER
Rodeo memories
C
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Norma Doak
Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present 39
Tony Award Nominee, “The Wedding Singer”
and star of two Comedy Central specials
Friday, Sept. 26
7:30 p.m
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U

Student U
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Ballroom
TICKETS:
509-963-1301
$15/$25/$35
COMING TO ELLENSBURG THIS FALL
CWU Homecoming event
Saturday, Oct. 25
8 p.m., CWU
Student Union
TICKETS:
509-963-1301
STUDENT UNION
BOX OFFICE
$15 CWU students
$25 general
$35 reserved
For more information, call
Campus Life at 509-963-1691
AA/EEO/Title Institution.
TDD 509-963-2143.
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“Last year was my first year to compete at Ellensburg and I
placed in a round. I was pretty excited.”
JARRED THOMAS,
PRCA STEER WRESTLER
“I looked forward to (the rodeo) every year. I don’t think I’ve
missed one. I haven’t had any luck in the major events but
last year I won the wild cow milking and I’ve won the county
roping three times.”
JASON MINOR,
PRCA ROPER
“The first year I entered the Ellensburg Rodeo was 1947. I drew
a horse called Open Switch and he took a run at me and threw
me off. I never had any luck riding at Ellensburg. I would go to
Moses Lake and ride the same horse and get a check.”
FRANK BEARD,
BAREBACK, SADDLE BRONC RIDER IN 40’S, ‘50S
Rodeo memories
Continued on page 40
Jason Minor
J
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40 Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present
Rodeo memories
1978
1975
1975 — Ticket sales for the rodeo were $98,847, an increase of $18,427 from the previous year.
1978 — A 1,200-seat grandstand replaced the bleachers at the northeast corner of the arena. Ticket
sales grew to $119,176.
P
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Continued on page 42
Bob Kelley
“One year (about 1968) Larry Wyatt and I had
were trying to get to Walla Walla for a night perfor-
mance after we got through at Ellensburg. I was
driving and we were going down the road about
as fast as you could go pulling a horse trailer and
we had some shirts on a hanger in the back seat.
“One of the shirts came off the hanger and
wrapped around my head. We were going about
90 or so and I just froze to the wheel. Larry had to
get the shirt off my head.
“It was hard to explain to the other cowboys why
I had all these scratch marks on my neck.”
CHET “TUFFY” MORRISON,
ALL-AROUND COWBOY WHO COMPETED MANY TIMES IN SEVERAL
EVENTS
“I grew up here, so I guess I started going to the
Ellensburg Rodeo in about 1962. I remember
watching guys like Dean Oliver and Tom Ferguson
and guys like that. Then I started roping. I was
pretty nervous that first year, in the county roping.
Eventually I got my PRCA card and competed in
the calf roping in the PRCA rodeo. To go from
sitting in the stands to competing here was a life-
long dream.”
BOB KELLEY,
TIE DOWN ROPER
Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present 41
1982
1981
1981 — Team roping was added for
the first time. Doyle Gellerman and
Walt Woodard won the event.
1982 — The first four-performance
rodeo was held, with 526 entries. The
rodeo was also was televised, with
Larry Mahan doing color commentary.
1984 — Johnny Cash and June
Carter performed during a cold Friday
night performance. Ticket sales for
the rodeo rose to $180,299, up from
$161,684.
1985 — Yakima County Posse mem-
ber Bill Toney was killed when his
horse veered and he struck a post
during the Cliff Race.
1988 — Texan Cody Lambert won the
all-around title, becoming the first rid-
ing event contestant since 1971 to win
the all-around. He placed in the bull
riding and saddle bronc riding.
1990 — The Ellensburg Rodeo
dropped its slogan “Greatest Show
on Dirt” after being sued by Ringling
Brothers, Barnum and Bailey circus.
1991 — The city of Ellensburg and Kit-
titas County agreed to a joint funding
plan to construct a new steel grand-
stand behind the bucking chute. It was
to cost $35,000 and would seat 1,100.
1993 — The rodeo made a record
profit of $106,813, including income
from non-ticket sources.
1997 — The Rodeo Grandmas ap-
peared on the Rosie O’Donnell Show.
2000 — The Budweiser Clydesdales
and their handlers were named Grand
Marshals for the Rodeo Parade.
2002 — The popular Extreme Bulls
event was started with an exhibition
contest in Ellensburg. The stand-
alone bull riding event brought out top
competitors, with B.J. Schumacher
winning the event. The Professional
Rodeo Cowboys Association picked
up the concept and a national tour
was started.
2004 — Cody DeMars broke his own
arena record in the saddle bronc rid-
ing with an 89-point ride aboard Toddy
of the Flying Five rodeo string.
2005 — Georgia native Ryan Jarrett
tied the arena record for the tie-down
roping contest with 7.5 seconds. He
also won the all-around title.
2007 — Ellensburg High School
graduate and four-time world cham-
pion team roper Allen Bach was
inducted into the Ellensburg Rodeo
Hall of Fame.
2004
1984
1985
1968
1990
1991
1993
1997
2000
2005
2007
2002
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42 Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present
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Rodeo competition was a natural exten-
sion of the daily challenges cowboys
confronted on the ranch — roping
calves and breaking broncs into saddle
horses. Bull riding, which is intention-
ally climbing on the back of a 2,000-
pound bull, emerged from the fearless
and possibly fool-hardy nature of the
cowboy. The risks are obvious. Serious
injury is always a possibility for those
fearless enough to sit astride an animal
that literally weighs a ton and is usually
equipped with dangerous horns. Re-
gardless, cowboys do it, fans love it and
bull riding ranks as one of rodeo’s most
popular events. Bull riding is danger-
ous and predictably exciting, demand-
ing intense physical prowess, supreme
mental toughness and courage.
Roots of tie-down
roping can be
traced back to the
working ranches
of the Old West.
When calves were
sick or injured,
cowboys had to
rope and immobi-
lize them quickly
for veterinary
treatment. Ranch
hands prided
themselves on the
speed with which
they could rope
and tie calves.
A history of rodeo events
Continued on page 43
Joe Whiteside ⁄ Daily Record
Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present 43
Bareback riders endure more
abuse, and carry away more
long-term damage than all
other rodeo cowboys. The
event, like saddle bronc rid-
ing, evolved from the need
to break new horses for a
cowboy’s needs on a ranch.
Team roping, the only true team event in ProRodeo, requires
close cooperation and timing between two highly skilled rop-
ers — a header and a heeler — and their horses. The event
originated on ranches when cowboys needed to treat or brand
large steers and the task proved too difficult for one man. The
key to success? Hard work and endless practice. Team roping
partners must perfect their timing, both as a team and with
their respective horses.
Saddle bronc riding is
rodeo’s classic event, both a
complement and contrast to
the wilder spectacles of bare-
back riding and bull riding.
This event demands style,
grace and precise timing.
Saddle bronc riding evolved
from the task of breaking
and training horses to work
the cattle ranches. Many
cowboys claim riding saddle
broncs is the toughest rodeo
event to master because of
the technical skills necessary
for success.
Continued on page 44
Photos by Joe Whiteside
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Speed and strength are the name of the game in
steer wrestling, but in the days of old, a steer wres-
tler was a man who took down an injured steer in
need of doctoring. The objective of the steer wres-
tler may have changed, but he still uses strength
and technique to wrestle a steer to the ground
as quickly as possible. A perfect combination of
strength, timing and technique are necessary for
success in the lightning-quick event of steer wres-
tling.
Like bareback and sad-
dle bronc riders, the
bull rider may use only
one hand to stay aboard
during the 8-second
ride. If he touches the
bull or himself with his
free hand, he receives
no score. But unlike the
other roughstock con-
testants, bull riders are
not required to mark
out their animals. While
spurring a bull can add
to the cowboy’s score,
riders are commonly
judged solely on their
ability to stay aboard
the twisting, bucking
mass of muscle.
952409.P&P08.cnr
Photos by Joe Whiteside
Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present 45
By DON GRONNING
staff writer
Judging riding events is
one of the most confus-
ing things about rodeo for
many rodeo spectators.
Even veteran cowboys are
sometimes puzzled by
judges’ scores.
Regardless of the score,
the judges’ job is to get the
rides ranked in the correct
order, according to John
Davis, head of pro officials
for the Professional Rodeo
Cowboys Association.
“Points are important
to the fans,” said Davis,
who said scores have got-
ten higher in recent years.
“But it’s more important
that the money goes to the
right people. I think you
can do both.”
Larry Davis, John’s
brother, was a pro bull
rider, who won such
prestigious rodeos as the
Pendleton Round-Up,
and is also a professional
judge. He agreed that
scores in the riding events
have gotten a little higher
than when he and John
were riding bulls for a liv-
ing back in the 1970s.
“Shoot, when I was rid-
ing, if we got into the 80s
we thought we were doing
pretty good,” he said.
Now rides in the 90s are
not uncommon, although
most riding events are
won with rides in the mid
to upper 80s.
In the bareback, saddle
bronc and bull riding
events, two judges each
use 50 points, 25 for the
animal and 25 for the
rider, with a total of 100
points possible for the
ride. The particular ani-
mal a rider competes on
is selected by a random
draw.
The judge’s position is
important when judging,
and one judge is on each
side, concentrating on that
side.
To get a score, riders
must stay on the animal 8
seconds, starting when the
animal turns out of the
chute. Contestants must
only hold on with one
hand and are disqualified
if they touch the animal
with their free hand, even
if it is accidental.
In the bucking horse
riding events — the bare-
back and saddle bronc
riding — the first jump
out of the chute is key. The
rule is that the rider must
have both spurs above
the break of the shoulder
when the horse’s front feet
hit the ground that first
jump out of the chute.
This is called marking out
the horse and if it isn’t
done properly, the rider is
disqualified.
This rule is designed to
give the horse an advan-
tage by putting the rider in
a precarious position from
the start. It doesn’t matter
how spectacular the ride
is, if the rider doesn’t mark
the horse out, he receives
a zero, something spec-
tators sometimes don’t
understand.
“A good announcer can
help,” said Larry Davis. “If
he explains things correctly,
the fans will understand.”
There are exceptions to
this rule. If a horse stalls or
fouls the rider in the chute
by jumping into the gate or
otherwise interfering with
the rider’s ability to mark
out the horse, the judges
can waive the spur-out rule.
After the ride starts,
judges are looking for
many things. They are
simultaneously evaluating
Judges’ job is to get rides
ranked correctly
How to score
riding events
Photo by Joe Whiteside
Riders must have their spurs touching the horse above the break of
the shoulder when the horse’s front feet hit the ground on the first
jump out of the chute. If this isn’t done, they have “missed out” the
horse and receive a zero, no matter how good the ride is after that.
Continued on page 46
46 Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present
how difficult the animal is to ride
and how masterfully the cowboy is
riding.
They are also looking for things
that would disqualify the rider, such
as the rider touching the animal
with his free hand or a foot coming
out of the stirrup in the saddle bronc
riding. This is all happening in an 8-
second period without the benefit of
instant replay.
Bareback riding
Bareback riding was intended to be
a wild event, with the rider usually
leaning his body back and pulling his
feet up the horse’s shoulders, toward
his hand. Then he lets his feet fly for-
ward, throwing them out and away
from the horse, now riding only on
his grip, balance and timing. His feet
go back to the horse’s shoulders and
the spurring “lick” starts over again.
The rider is scored according to
how much he exposes himself to
being thrown, while maintaining
control of his body. For a good score,
the rider must be spurring on every
jump, with both feet maintaining
contact with the horse from the
shoulders clear to his hand. Bareback
riders call this getting drag and it is
what separates excellent riders from
the mediocre.
Saddle Bronc riding
While the bareback riders get
points for wildness and exposing
themselves to being bucked off, the
saddle bronc rider makes his points
with finesse.
The judges are looking intently
at the rider’s feet. He must have his
toes turned out sharply and drag his
spurs along the horse’s sides to the
back of the saddle, then shoot his feet
quickly back to the neck. On a well-
timed ride, the rider has his feet high
in the neck when the horse hits the
ground each jump.
The judges like to see the rider
solidly placing his feet high in the
horse’s neck on each jump and want
the toes turned out for the whole
stroke.
At the extremely high level of com-
petition at rodeos like Ellensburg,
missing a stroke or not getting your
feet high in the neck can mean the
difference between getting a pay-
check or not.
The horse
The other half of the points are
given to how hard the animal bucks.
Judges are looking for horses that
jump high and kick hard. Speed and
power are taken into account, as is
changing directions.
Sometimes there will be a horse
that bucks wildly and spectacu-
larly but mainly in one place. This
horse generally isn’t considered
as difficult to ride as a horse that
jumps and kicks hard and changes
directions often. This is because
the horse is spending a lot of time
almost f loating in the air and isn’t
hitting the ground as hard or as
often as the “ranker” horse.
Crowds go wild for this type of
horse, though, and when the score
doesn’t ref lect their view, the boos
rain down on the officials. That
doesn’t bother Larry Davis.
“To me rodeo is for the cowboys
and for the fans,” he said. “If the
Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present 47
fans disagree, it shows they are
involved.”
Bull riding
In bull riding, even though the
same 100 points are used, the ani-
mal is a lot more key to winning.
The man who maintains control on
the toughest bull is supposed to win.
“The bull riding is a little differ-
ent than the horse riding,” said John
Davis, who qualified to ride bulls at
the NFR seven times. “In the bull
riding, you have to have a good ani-
mal to win.”
Because bulls are far more dif-
ficult to ride, they are not given
the advantage of requiring the rider
mark them out. Bull riders aren’t
required to spur, but get more points
if they do, because they have more
risk of being bucked off.
Instead the judges are looking
mainly at how difficult the bull is
to ride. Power, speed and change in
directions are all taken into account,
just as in the horse events.
But many bulls have another
action that most horses don’t. One of
the most difficult actions to ride is the
furious spin that some bulls go into.
But all spinning bulls are not equal-
ly difficult to ride. The bull that jumps
and kicks at the same time he is spin-
ning is considered tougher to ride
than one the appears to be “chasing
his tail,” and doesn’t kick much.
Rerides
If the animal doesn’t perform, falls
down or otherwise fouls the contes-
tant, he may be offered a reride, a
chance to do it over again. At a big
rodeo like Ellensburg, there is a third
judge at the back of the chute who
operates a stopwatch to see if the
cowboy rides long enough and to see
if there is a foul in the chute.
Riders don’t have to accept a reride.
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52 Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present
Popcorn and a good horse
Rodeo in lm
“The Lusty Men”
Release Date: October 24, 1952
Starring: Susan Hayward and Robert
Mitchum
Rated: Not rated
Run time: 113 minutes
Filming locations: Rodeo scenes were
shot in Livermore, Calif., Pendleton,
Ore., Spokane, and Tucson, Ariz.
Star rider Je McCloud (Mitchum) suers a rodeo in-
jury and returns to his hometown. After being gone for a
number of years, McCloud gets a job as a hired hand with a
ranch and befriends fellow ranch hand Wes and wife Louise.
Wes wants to learn the ways of the rodeo in order to win
money to purchase his own house someday. His wife has
her doubts, hoping Wes doesn’t turn into another Je Mc-
Cloud.
Movie Trivia and Quotes:
• Lusty Men provided the first actual rodeo footage to be seen by a
mass audience.
• “Never was a bronc that’s never been rode. Never was a cowboy
that’s never been throwed. Guys like me last forever.” — Jeff
McCloud.
• “Some things you don’t do for the cash. Some things you do for
the buzz you get outta them.”
“The Misfits”
Released: February 1, 1961
Starring: Clark Gable and Marilyn
Monroe
Rated: Not rated
Runtime: 124 minutes
Filming location: Dayton, Nev. (rodeo
scenes)
The Mists is a Western drama that follows Roslyn Tamber
(Monroe) a divorcee who befriends a group of cowboys,
including an aging Gay Langland (Gable) in Reno. Unbe-
knownst to Roslyn, Gay makes a living of selling wild mus-
tangs to slaughterhouses to make dog food. Somehow, the
two create a “mistted” romance, contrary to Gay’s desire to
stay romantically independent.
Movie Trivia:
• The Misfits was the last film for both Gable and Monroe.
• On the last day of filming, it was said Gable said, “Christ, I’m glad
this picture’s finished. She [Monroe] damn near gave me a heart
attack.” He suffered a massive heart attack days later, and died
11 days after.
• Clark opted to do his own stunts, such as being dragged by a
truck going 30 mph.
“J.W. Coop”
Released: January 1, 1972
Starring: Cli Robertson, Geraldine
Page and Christina Ferrare
Rated: Not rated
Runtime: 112 minutes
Cowboy J.W. Coop is freed after
eight years in prison, returning to
the rodeo ring. Coop is determined
to make up for lost years and pushes ahead only to learn
that both the business and society of what he knew as
rodeo has dramatically changed.
Movie Trivia and Quotes:
• Many of the cowboys found in the film played themselves,
including Myrtis Dightman.
• Cliff Robinson was the producer, director and star of J.W. Coop.
• The movie ends at the National Finals Rodeo.
“Urban Cowboy”
Released June 6, 1980
Starring: John Travolta
Rated: PG
Runtime: 132 minutes
Filming locations: Houston
Travolta stars as Bud Davis, a
homegrown country boy who
moves with is uncle in the big city,
taking a job at a renery. Bud meets
By CHELSEA KROTZER
staff writer
Rodeo is an instrumental part of Kittitas County’s cul-
ture that is Ellensburg. Amateur and professionals alike
take advantage of Ellensburg’s rodeo facilities, bringing
together cowboys and cowgirls of all ages to celebrate
those who are rough enough and tough enough to step
onto the dirt arena.
To get into the rodeo spirit, the following films depict
different sides of rodeo, as well as showcase the cowboys
who take risks to be involved.
Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present 53
Popcorn and a good horse
Rodeo in lm
Sissy, a cowgirl, and gets married only to nd their marriage
in jeopardy when Sissy begins associating with con man
Wes who teaches her to ride mechanical bulls. Bud signs
up for an upcoming contest in order to save his and Sissy’s
marriage.
Movie Trivia:
• The film was nominated for two Golden Globes.
• Patrick Swayze taught Travolta how to two-step for the movie.
• Travolta had a mechanical bull installed in his home for practice
two months prior to production. Because of this he was able to
do his own stunts.
“Eight Seconds”
Released: February 25, 1994
Starring: Luke Perry, Stephen Bald-
win and Cynthia Geary
Rated: Not rated
Runtime: 105 minutes
Filming locations: Rodeo scenes
were lmed in Del Rio, Texas
Eight Seconds talks of the life of Lane Frost, the 1987
PRCA Bull Riding World Champion to his tragic death in the
ring during Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo where Frost was
gouged in the side by a bull’s horn.
Movie Trivia:
• Luke Perry and Stephen Baldwin learned how to ride the bulls
and performed some of their own stunts.
• Movie tagline: The sport made him a legend. His heart made him
a hero.
• Tuff Hederman actually rode an extra eight seconds in memory of
Lane Frost.
• Cynthia Geary has a connection to Kittitas County as a result of
her stint with the sitcom “Northern Exposure,” which was filmed
in part in Roslyn. Geary portrayed Shelly Tambo, a former Miss
Northwest Passage who co-habitatated with her much-older
lover, Holling Vincoeur. Together they run the tavern and restau-
rant The Brick. “Northern Exposure” ran from 1990-1995.
“Cowboy Up”
Released: September 2, 2002
Starring: Kiefer Sutherland, Daryl
Hannah and Molly Ringwald
Rated: PG-13 for language, a scene
of sensuality and brief violence.
Runtime: 105 minutes.
Filming locations: Las Vegas, Nev., and Santa Maria, Calif.
Newcomer Ely Braxton (Marcus Thomas) is a crazy cowboy
taking his turn in the professional bull-riding spotlight. His
brother Hank (Sutherland) is a rodeo clown, and the two
work together to make their time in the ring even more
interesting. The brother’s close bond can’t seem to last once
Daryl Hannah’s character gets involved, creating jealousy
and hatred between the two.
Movie Trivia:
• “Braxton Ranch” is the actual home of Rodeo Hall of Famer Gary
Leffew.
• The movie was supposed to be released in 2000, then again in
early 2001. It was released strictly to video in September 2002.
“Flicka”
Released: October 20, 2006
Starring: Tim McGraw, Alison Lohman
and Maria Bello
Rated: PG for some mild language
Runtime: 95 minutes
Filming locations: Los Angeles,
Tim McGraw plays the father of
Katy (Lohman), his only daughter whom he has high hopes
for beyond that of the ranch he owns. Katy on the other hand
wishes to follow in her father’s footsteps and take over the
family ranch one day. Katy nds a black Mustang lly, naming
it Flicka, and tries to tame it to prove to her father she can
handle the responsibilities that come with owning a ranch.
Movie Trivia:
• “Flicka” comes from the Swedish word meaning “girl.”
• A thoroughbred horse used in the film died during a freak
accident, interrupting the filming in April 2005.
“The Cowboy Way”
Released: June 3, 1994
Starring: Woody Harrelson and Kiefer
Sutherland
Rated: PG 13
Runtime: 102 minutes
Friends and rodeo champions
Sonny and Pepper leave Mexico and head out to nd their
missing friend Nacho Salazar in New York City. The comedic
duo goes through a wild adventure trying to nd Nacho and
his daughter, testing the foundation of their won friendship.
54 Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present
By RYAN THOMPSON
staff intern
“We see it as a local fair, but it has people
from different countries and states.”
DONNA NYLANDER
VOLUNTEER SCHOOLTEACHER AT THE FRONTIER VILLAGE
“Watching the youth show their livestock
exhibits is the best part,”
BECKY MCDOWELL
FAIR BOARD DIRECTOR.
“As a kid in Ellensburg, half the summer
you saved for fireworks and half you
saved for the fair and rodeo,”
MICHAEL ALLEN
FORMER ELLENSBURG RESIDENT AND PROFESSOR AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON.
“My favorite fair memory is the kids going
and going until they reach complete
exhaustion, then falling asleep with a
smile on their faces.”
GREG ZEMPEL
FAIR BOARD DIRECTOR.
“It’s a community getting together to
enjoy one another’s company.”
BETTY KELLEY
CARETAKER AT THE FRONTIER VILLAGE.
“I especially like the displays of fruits and
vegetables grown in the valley. The fair is
the loveliest part of the year.”
BETTY ALLEN
ELLENSBURG RESIDENT.
“I have been at the fair every year as far
back as I can remember. It has been inter-
esting watching it change over time.”
BRIAN PAGE
FAIR BOARD DIRECTOR.
“It brings people who may have grown
up here and moved away back. You see
people you haven’t seen in years.”
SUSIE ROGERS
ELLENSBURG RESIDENT.
“Some of my favorite child-
hood memories at the
fair are purchasing penny
candy and pickles at the
Frontier Village, seeing how
many times my friends and
I could spin on the zipper
and winning $100 in the
greased pole contest.”
HEATHER HARRELL
FAIR BOARD DIRECTOR.
“Seeing friends…Being
able to let the kids and now
grand kids go and have fun
with their friends is the best
part. It is a special event.”
BILL ALLISON
FAIR BOARD PRESIDENT.

“It’s expanded over the
years. The fair really shows
the dedication of the people
who put it together.”
JAMES FARRELL
ELLENSBURG RESIDENT.
“When compared to the larger fairs, you
still get a lot of community spirit and
involvement.”
ERIN BLACK
KITTITAS COUNTY MUSEUM DIRECTOR AND CURATOR.
“As a kid, some of my best memories are
competing in the horse fair with my green
broke horse, spinning the zipper ride as
many times as we could, and meeting up
friends you had not seen all summer.”
JESSIE BLACKWOOD
FAIR BOARD VICE PRESIDENT.
Fair memories
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Ellensburg Rodeo & County Fair 2008: Past and Present 55
WE PROUDLY SUPPORT THE
ELLENSBURG RODEO!
602 N. PEARL ST. IN ELLENSBURG • WWW.KELLEHERMOTORS.COM • 1-800-247-8828
O
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since 1911!
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