Friday, September 29, 2006

Make Gary's day: read his blogs and send kleenex

As we write our blogs, we often wonder who is our audience: where do they live, what do they do, what draws them to our website in the first place? Are they regular readers of Capital Press, are they from the Northwest or are they just people who happened to surf the web and found our pages?

My fellow blogger, Gary West, has put in a lot of extra effort in the last few weeks, from covering the rodeo in Pendleton each day to crawling out of his sickbed this week to his computer to tap out a few words.

There’s commitment. There’s enthusiasm. There’s … well, the man should receive a medal or at least an extra Capital Press coffee mug (the one with our new Capital Press logo on it).

Want to make Gary’s day?

Let him know if you’re reading the Capital Press blogs. Give feedback on what you think of what has been written, what you would like to see the blogs cover, and if we are offering enough on this site to entice you to come back to visit more than once.

Better yet, consider becoming a part of our Readers’ Advisory Panel. We always welcome more people to share their insight on how we cover things at Capital Press and what we can do better.

Also, let us know what you’re seeing and doing related to rural areas and agriculture. What events are happening in your hometowns? How was the harvest? What do you think of how agricultural issues are or are not being discussed in upcoming elections? What anecdote or slice of rural life can you share with us and fellow readers?

We look forward to hearing from you, and again … you’d really make Gary’s day.

A podcast link

I wanted to share a link to an audio podcast that people interested in agriculture news might find interesting.

Northwest Public Radio does a podcast that often features agriculture stories. Today they have a story about cranberry harvest for example.

Each edition of the podcast features a variety of news stories from throughout the Northwest.

Wake me when September ends

Ever have one of those days when you feel like you should have stayed in bed? I've had a couple of those in a row now. Yesterday, I was smarter and did just stay in bed. That's why I didn't have a post for yesterday. Somewhere along the line I caught a nasty bug from someone, and it knocked me out yesterday.

I woke up this morning, convinced I was feeling better and decided to come in to work. It didn't take me too long to realize I may have been fooling myself. I don't know if this is a nasty cold, or a bout of flu or what, but it's doing a number on me, that's for sure. So, we'll see how well I get through the day.

I don't know how small-scale farmers do it. You can't afford to get sick if you are ranch foreman, handyman, livestock feeder, irrigator and all-around everything on a small farm. Thank God I don't have to do anything strenuous today like move irrigation pipe. I'd end up passed out in a hay field somewhere.

When I get home I'll drink a toast of NyQuil to all those hardworking farmers who works when the work beckons.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Wednesday quick hit

It's production day here at Capital Press, and we are putting the finishing touches on this week's editions fo the newspaper, but I wanted to make a quick post.

I noticed there is a blog about biodiesel listed in Blogger's "Blogs of Note" section, so I've added it onto the links for this site.

Biodiesel is sure a hot topic right now, but I'm not quite sure what makes this particular blog, called "All Things Biodiesel" a blog of note. As of this writing, the site hasn't been updated in more than two weeks.

So, it may be worthy of note to Blogger, but the posts appear pretty sporadic.

But with all the buzz about biofuels in general, and biodiesel in particular, I thought you might be interested nonetheless.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Small world made even smaller by Google

I got an e-mail this morning from Rachelle Walchli of Hermiston Melon Co. She found the post I did last month about Hermiston watermelons.

She wrote: "I loved this article! Was it also in the Capital Press? If so, what issue and page? I stumbled onto this through a Google search. I am printing it and hanging it in our melon shed. Thanks for sharing your story and educating people on our sweet Hermiston Walchli Melons!"

That's high praise indeed.

I remember back in my early days as a reporter, I was working for the East Oregonian and one of the beats I was assigned to cover was the school district I had attended from elementary school through high school back in Echo. One day I was at my old high school to cover some story and was walking through one of the halls when I spotted something familiar hanging on a bulletin board. It was a story I had written, complete with a photo I had taken. Right there. Hanging on the wall. It was quite a thrill to see that someone had clipped it out and posted it for others to read.

Over the years, I've worked at lots of newspapers and seen stories, sometimes ones I wrote but often one's written by coworkers, from the publications I was working for hanging up in a variety of businesses. But this is the first time I have had any indication that something published only online on the Blogriculture site has been printed out for hanging on a wall.

I was going to e-mail Rachelle to let her know that the article was only available on the Blogriculture site, but realized the comment feature didn't give me her e-mail address, so I had to track down her phone number. So, I turned to the same tool she was using when she found the article in the first place, the Google search engine.

Whatever did we do before Google and other search engines existed? Heck, it's even become my phone book and directory assistance service. If I can't find a way to contact someone now by searching for an e-mail address or phone number online I call someone else.

Now if I could just figure out how to get Hermiston watermelons, or Walla Walla sweet onions, or Lindsay, Calif., olives, or Coachella Valley, Calif., table grapes to pop out my USB port on my computer anytime I wanted. If we can use GPS to drive tractors, can that sort of farm commodity delivery be far behind?

I should have asked if they have any melons left.

By the way, if you are looking for Hermiston Melon Co.'s website, Rachelle said they are working on revising it and getting it relaunched. So, there's not much to see there right now. But stay tuned. That may be changing.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Planting seeds for a podcast harvest

I've been hoping for a while to add a podcast to the website. The problem is, I really don't want to do the podcast myself. I often tell people that I have a face for radio and a voice for newspapers. I don't really want to be the voice of a Capital Press podcast.

But no one else is coming forward. So, I'm thinking that maybe I need to take the plunge and figure out how to do one then maybe if people see what it's like someone on our staff will decide they want to join the fun.

I have been toying around with a possible name for the podcast and have one in mind that will at least work to get one started.

So, if anyone has any ideas on what they'd like to see, or hear, a podcast about related to agriculture or rural life in the West, let me know. I'm open to suggestions.

Friday, September 22, 2006

How's the weather treatin' ya?

We have been hoping for some time to add some sort of weather feature onto the Capital Press website and now we have done it. The new feature is available thanks to a partnership with AccuWeather.

For most folks, weather is a source of small talk. If you don't know someone very well you can always talk about the weather. But for farmers and ranchers, weather is serious business. Weather is a key ally, or adversary, in growing food and fiber.

For Capital Press, finding the right weather component to feature has been a little more challenging than most newspapers face. Most newspapers are geographically based around one city. For us, we have information for and about farmers and ranchers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and California, where weather and climatic conditions are quite diverse and weather is constantly changing. And our main office is located in Salem, Ore., but we have staff members based all over the region. So, we didn't want people to come to our site and find weather for Salem or and where else that our visitors might not be from. So, we opted to give our visitors the option to pick what area they want their forecast to cover. The feature, which is located near the top left-hand side of the page on our site, allows you to enter your ZIP code to get access to current conditions and a forecast in your neck of the woods, no matter where that neck might be.

So, on this first day of fall, we bring you a new tool to find out what you are in for, weather wise, while you are checking out the other news and information important to agriculture. We hope you find the feature useful today and in the days and months ahead.

It's just part of the ongoing evolution of our websites and our coverage of agriculture in the West.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Meeting day

Another week's editions of Capital Press are off the presses and heading out to readers. Most of our subscribers should get their issue in tomorrow's mail delivery.

I've got a conference call meeting scheduled in about 10 minutes with our California news staff. You can bet the ongoing investigation into E. coli contamination in spinach, and how we will continue to cover that story, will be part of our conversation. That seems to be a popular topic for bloggers too (click on the "Spinach" link below to find blogs that are using spinach as a Technorati tag.

I've got an online committee meeting today as well. We'll see if any of our in-house folks have any comments about the Pendleton Round-Up posts. We are working on adding some features to our main news website, so stay tuned for that.

OK, got meetings, so I need to run. I'll try to check back later.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Climate change: Can we control it, or is it beyond our control?

This week Capital Press publishes a special report on climate change and how it affects things that grow: crops, animals, forests and sea life.

For the most part, the section deals with what researchers have found and determined from records that have been kept for a few generations — not hundreds or thousands of years.

Their predictions of the future are often linked to what they have learned and analyzed from when records were first kept, such as perhaps the 1800s here in the West, or from a few decades of research at universities.

There are also anecdotes from people: what they have noticed in their lifetimes, whether it’s a rancher in Eastern Oregon or someone who lives in a growing seaside town in Washington state.

Discussions of climate change — or the term global warming — has often triggered strong reactions.

The debate has been polarized between those who believe it is here, it is happening and there must be drastic changes made or our civilization faces dire consequences; then there are those who feel Al Gore and others are fearmongers who greatly exaggerate, outright lie or are seriously mistaken in how they interpret what is really happening with the world.

They believe the earth has always had and will have climate cycles and extreme weather events that cannot be tied to our current generation’s treatment of the planet and that nothing needs to be done — especially nothing that will economically cause hardships to a country or an individual, affecting a job or a lifestyle or provides a society convenience.

Life will go on.

However, even in the last year there appears to be more people questioning if the climate is changing beyond the normal cycles and if perhaps something needs to be done about it.

Even in the special report by East Oregonian Publishing Group, some people acknowledge they might have “sat on the fence” in the past on the issue, but can no longer ignore some of the signs.

Some of the fence sitters or those strongly against accepting there is climate change has been some people in the agricultural community.

For those whose livelihoods are closest to the land, each year they gamble with planting a crop, raising an animal, and harvesting a product to feed the world.

They know better than anyone else how fickle climate can be, favorable one moment and so destructive the next, yet generations of farmers and ranchers accept the gamble and continue on.

But the agricultural community is also one of the places where farmers and ranchers are noting things have changed even in their lifetimes.

They have experienced first hand the consequences — such as when there were extreme temperatures this summer — what climate can do to their crops and animals.

California was an example of what three weeks of temperatures more than 100 F can do: Tulare County has calculated so far this it lost $188 million, mostly in loss of 4,992 dairy cows and lower milk production. There were also 711,000 turkeys that died and 912,500 chickens.

Trees fruit, nuts and field crops also added almost another $30 million in losses.
And that was just one county, in less than a month of extreme heat.

Sometimes there are confusing predictions from researchers about the future. There are discussions about global warming, but also warnings that another ice age may someday be triggered.

How so? How can steady rising temperatures — and all the disasters and challenges that presents — lead eventually to another ice age?

And is it always a manmade problem, or are there other causes of such dire predictions?

Predicting the future climate needs perspective from the past, about the world around us, and what a small world it is.

In 1815, the volcano Mount Tambora in the East Indies exploded so powerfully that it changed the climate around the world for more than a year, a result of it spewing 11 cubic miles of rock, ash and dust into the atmosphere.

This is 100 times more than what Mount Saint Helens produced in 1980. Most of the world had its direct sunlight reduced by 15 to 20 percent, according to the book The Little Ice Age by Brian Fagan.

According to a book by Simon Winchester that mostly focused on the mountain Krakatoa, Mount Tambora lowered the world temperature by an average of one degree centigrade. That degree was the difference to cause temperatures just above freezing to slip below for the next year. “Ice would have formed on every pond and, more fatally, in every newborn crop, flower and hatching egg.”

Throughout the world the climate change impacted various countries, leading to crop failures, famine and even revolutions.

The difference this made in New England, for example, was frosts in June and July, a growing season reduced to 70 days instead of the normal 160 days. As crops failed that year and animals suffered, this led more people to emigrate to the West, said Winchester — because of a volcano 10,000 miles away.

There have been other huge volcano blasts during the earth’s geological history, including one in 1873, when the volcano Krakatoa rocked Indonesia and had the “most detonation, the loudest sound” ever recorded in modern human history, according to Winchester.

And there is also the closer-to-home evidence of the giant eruption of Mount Mazama in southern Oregon 7,000 years ago: left behind in the volcanic caldera is Crater Lake that’s almost 2,000 feet deep, the deepest lake in North America.

Pumice from the mountain reached as far as eastern Washington, the Steens mountains in Oregon and western Nevada. Ash from the mountain has been found as far away as southern Saskatchewan in Canada — 745 miles away.

Researchers have also now determined that the Earth experienced a Little Ice Age that lasted 500 years — from the 1300s to the 1800s — that created alterations in what crops were grown where. For example, when England could no longer grow grapes and Germany had problems with its grape harvest, they turned to making beer instead. Root vegetables were preferred as crops grown for peasants instead of cereal crops that froze or faced heavy of rains during this time.

The Little Ice Age also led to changes in nations, according to Fagan’s book, and led to democratic, cultural and societal upheaval internationally.

Ironically, the ice age was triggered by an abnormal warming period in Medieval times that melted polar regions and encouraged exploration and settlement of new lands.

The melting ice caps — and cooler fresh water from them — impacted the saltwater ocean currents and influenced great climate changes that led to unstable, extreme variations in climate internationally.

Fagan’s book notes the historical events that happened because of these changes, from blight on potatoes in Ireland, famine from crop failures in other parts of Europe, the collapse of the great Spanish Armada in fierce ocean storms, and even how American history was impacted by unusual weather conditions.

Again, volcanoes were mentioned as one of things that influenced climate change during this time.

Why should we learn about these latest research findings and ideas when it comes to climate change?

From the past, we may learn lessons on how to deal better with the future.

Considering the Western states have several volcanoes in our midst, it’s always good to know the power they possess that could influence our lives or that of generations that follow around the world.

As for climate change that may be caused by humans, there are steps we can — and should — do to influence and protect mankind from severe shifts in the climate and its inevitable consequences.

As producers of the food so many are dependent on in our nation and other parts of the world, farmers need to know what is happening, why climate is changing and what can be done to minimize the impact or adapt to the changes.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Ongoing coverage of spinach contamination

The big agriculture story of the week is the E. coli contamination of spinach. We've had several updates on the story on in the last several days since the story broke last week. Our California editor, Bob Krauter, just posted another one earlier this afternoon. Look for continuing coverage on that issue in this week's issues of Capital Press and online at

Monday, September 18, 2006

Big week for special features

I've been of playing rodeo reporter for a few days, but meanwhile back at the ranch, the Capital Press staff has been putting some finishing touches on some special packages for our Sept. 22 issue. This is going to be a big one folks.

Inside this week's edition will be a 12-page special section on climate change. The package, the third part of an on-going series, looks at how a changing climate, whether part of earth's natural cycle or man-made causes, could affect all things that grow. Specifically the package will look at the impacts on the plants and animals that make up our environment and our food-and-fiber supply here on the West Coast.

The package is produced in conjunction with our sister publications in the East Oregonian Publishing Company, particularly the Daily Astorian and East Oregonian.

And that, in addition to our regular news and farm feature coverage would be plenty for most issues, but that's not all you'll find this week. We will also have a two-page special package of coverage on rural crime. Stories will look at how farmers and ranchers have been targets for specific types of crimes and will include details on how some are choosing to fight back.

And readers of some of our Northwest editions will also get a one-page photo package, featuring the work of our photo coordinator, Mark Rozin, from last week's Pendleton Round-Up.

And all this comes to you in the Friday, Sept. 22 edition of Capital Press and online at

So, I guess that means I better get back to work.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Rodeo blog links

Updated Monday, Sept. 18

If you interested in more rodeo stuff, I found a blog related to rodeo you may be interested in checking out. It's called Steve Kenyon - Rodeo Profiles.

This appears to be a new site, but I wanted to share it because it mentions Joe Beavers' win at Pendleton. But the other reason I wanted to include it is because it mentions a barrel racing event in another post that was held today. It called it the Buttercreek Classic. The arena mentioned here is just down the road from where I was staying. I didn't venture down to the arena before heading back toward Salem today, but we could hear some of the announcing over the PC system clear at my parents' business. And there was a sea of horse trailers down there.

I swear there were more trailers there than there were at the Round-Up.

As someone who grew up on Buttercreek, it's quite the thrill to know that this little country arena literally in the midst of farm fields, it is making a mark as a rodeo venue. And it's appropriate that it be a venue for barrel racers, as there have been several talented barrel racers from that little town of Echo, Ore., and surrounding areas over the years.

Here's a link to some other rodeo blogs by current and past PRCA cowboys, courtesy of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and's rodeo site.

I also found a link to a weekly blog from long-time Round-Up barrelman and rodeo clown/entertainer Flint Rasmussen. Rasmussen was the in-arena entertainer for eight consecutive years until this year, but did work the PBR event in Pendleton. He has a nice post about his appreciation for Pendleton fans and PRCA rodeo fans in particular now that he is working only PBR events.

You were missed in the big arena Flint, but your fans and friends understand and support your decision to put your family first (and realize getting a nice paycheck to do that doesn't hurt either). You can read the story I wrote about Rasmussen's final year at the Pendleton Round-Up here at this link.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Round-Up parting shots

Well, the Pendleton Round-Up is done for another year. The rodeo anyway. The revelry and celebration will continue well into tomorrow morning and for many the hangover will linger far longer than that.

So with this year's Round-Up done, and before I decide if I'm going to go out and tie one on fan-style, I thought I'd share a few observation from the final day in Pendleton.


First of all, I want to do a little bragging. I want it recognized that I predicted way back on Thursday that Joe Beaver was likely to be the all-around champion. OK, to be completely accurate, I couched my prediction in some wishy-washy language. Here's what I wrote in Thursday night's results post:

"Former world champion all around cowboy Joe Beaver also sits on top of the team roping standings, which may make him the early favorite for the all around title at the Pendleton Round-Up this year."

Next time I need to show more courage in my convictions.


And one other little bit of bragging, if you'll allow me the indulgance. I can't say for sure, because I haven't been searching every website on the planet, but I think it is fairly safe to say that over the last three days we have offered some of the fastest and most complete Round-Up results of any website anywhere. Part of that is do to the assistance of Jodi on Butch Thurman's media staff in the media office (thanks Jodi, we owe you big time). I don't think the world has been holding its collective breath waiting to find out who's leading what events which day, but I take some pride in the fact that surfers of the blogosphere have had the ability to keep up on what's happening with the rodeo pretty well for the last three days of the run. The only ways to have gotten the information faster would have been to actually be at the rodeo, listen to the radio broadcast on the local Pendleton station, or have someone who was there relay the data to you.

So, thanks for reading, and thanks to the media relations folks at the grounds for their help.


Today, I had not planned to go "cover" the Round-Up. My original plan was to go and "enjoy" the Round-Up. In fact I didn't take the laptop or my camera. I did, however, take a pen and my notebook, just in case I decided to take some notes for posting on the blog later. I'm glad I took them, because my plan fell apart.

Specifically, my plan was to go check out the Let 'er Buck Room and see if it is as wild and rowdy as everyone says. My history with the Round-Up goes back to when I was a kid and going to the rodeo and affiliated events with my family. As a young adult, I started working at the Round-Up as a photographer for the East Oregonian. So I was always either too young or too busy during Round-Up to go. So this year, which has been my second year covering the event for the Capital Press, I decided I was going to take off Saturday and go find out if the truth can live up to the legends.

There were a couple of flaws to that plan.

First of all, I needed to bring along a runnin' buddy, or a wingman. I did not have a wingman. Venturing into the Let 'er Buck Room at the Pendleton Round-Up is probably not a good idea.

Secondly, it was Saturday and there were massive number of people everywhere, in the grandstands and on the grounds. I don't know when it started, but there was a long line out the door of the Let 'er Buck Room already at 12:30 this afternoon. So, I decided to go enjoy some of the rodeo and come back. It was even worse later. Needless to say, the Let 'er Buck Room is still largely a mystery to me.

Note to self: Next year go to the Let 'er Buck Room earlier in the week and find a wingman!


Depending on what spectator you asked in attendance at today's Round-Up, you might get a lot of different descriptions of what the highlight of the day would be. Some might say it was Mike Moore's 92-point ride in the bull riding. Some might say it was seeing Linzie Walker make the fastest run of the week in the barrel racing. Others might say Joe Beaver winning two events and the all-around title would top their list. I don't know what the folks inside, or waiting in line for the Let 'er Buck Room would say was the highlight, but you can bet in would have nothing to do with the rodeo events.

But I think you would find almost universal agreement among those in the arena who would say one of the highlights of the day had to be the military flyover at the start of the rodeo.

At precisely 1:15 p.m., two F-15 Eagle fighter jets from the Oregon Air Guard's 142nd Fighter Wing flew over the arena coming in from out of the west. And it was hard to tell which was louder, the roar of those jet engines overhead of the roar of the crowd. But that wasn't then end. As the flags of the United States, Oregon and Canada were being brought into the arena on horseback, the fighters came back for another pass, this time from east to west. If anything, they were even lower, loader and faster on the second pass, and the crowd got louder and wilder too.


If any of you have Round-Up stories you'd like to share, feel free to add them onto the comments. And if you have photos you'd like to share, we'd love to look at those too. So e-mail them to me at via e-mail. You never know, we may even post some of them here, or on the Capital Press main website.

That's all for this 2006 installment of Round-Up coverage (unless I think of something else I forgot to add later). Until next year, Let 'er Buck rodeo fans.

Joe Beaver is Round-Up's top cowboy

PENDLETON, Ore. -- Joe Beaver of Huntsville, Texas, the eight-time world all-around champion now has the Pendleton Round-Up all-around title to add to his list of accolades.

Several familiar names were added to the list of Pendleton champions today, however all but one of them are first time winners of the event buckles that they collected.

Beaver was leading in two events going into today's final round in Pendleton, but didn't rest on his work from earlier in the week. Beaver turned in a 9.9-second run in the calf roping to edge out Josh Peak for the crown.

Peak's time of 9.2 seconds was the fastest of the round, giving him a total time of 29.9 second on three calves for the week.

Beaver, who was leading the event going in to today's short go round, had the second fastest time of the day, and recorded 29.1 seconds on three calves throughout the week to win the 2006 Round-Up calf roping title. It's the first time he has won that event title in Pendleton.

Just three events later Beaver and his partners Nick Simmons of Colcord, Okla., were able to rope just fast enough to tie for the championship in that event as well. Their time of 6.2 seconds was fast enough to tie them with Jake Stanley of Hermiston, Ore., and Russell Cardoza of Knights Ferry, Calif., who had the fastest team roping run of the day at 5.5 seconds. None of the four co-champions in the team roping have ever won the event in Pendleton before. However, Stanley's win continues a long history of local cowboys based in Umatilla and Morrow counties who have won event or all-around titles at Pendleton.

Defending world champion Will Lowe of Canyon, Texas, rode the Sankey bucking horse Tee Pee to an 86 point score today to win his first bareback title at Pendleton. Andy Martinez of Pavillion, Wyo., had the top ride of the day with an 89 on another Sankey horse, Owl Hoot Trail, and finished second in the event.

Canadian cowboy Rod Hay of Wildwood, Alberta, maintained his lock on the saddle bronc title, which has owned outright or split every year since 2003. Hay was co-champion in 2003, 2004 and won the title outright last year. He splits the 2006 title with Cody DeMoss of Heflin, La., Hay and DeMoss both scored 85 point rides today along with Bradley Harter of Weatherford, Texas, but since Hay and DeMoss were tied with higher scores than Harter going into the round they ended up sharing the title. For DeMoss, it is the first time he has won the saddle bronc title in Pendleton.

Defending steer wresting champion Tommy Cook of Heber City, Utah, who has won the title the last two years in his event wasn't able to make it three in a row, in spite of his lead going into today's final road. Brad Gleason of Touchet, Wash., turned in a 7.1 second run to steal the title from the defending champ. The best run of the day went to Chancey Gartner of Pasco, Wash., with a 4.5-second performance, but because he had only qualified on one steer going into today's round, Gleason's combined 17.9-second on three head was the fastest of the field. Gleason is also a first time champion at Pendleton in his event.

In the steer roping, Cash Myers run of 13.3 seconds was only one-tenth of a second off the fastest run of the day, but it was fast enough to earn him the title in the event. The fastest time of the day was 13.2 seconds, which was turned in by Scott Snedecor of Uvalde, Texas. Myers of Athens, Texas, was the 2005 all-around champion of the Round-Up, but this is his first steer roping crown.

In the bull riding, the highest score of the day also produced that event's champion. Mike Moore of Kankakee, Ill., turned in a 92-point ride on Western Rodeos' bull Poison Ivy. Moore was one of only four cowboys able to get a qualified ride out of the rank pen of bulls put in for the final round, but all of those who were able to stay on were rewarded with high scores. The lowest qualified ride of the day earned an 84.

In the barrel racing, Linzie Walker of Conway, Wash., turned in not only the fastest run of the day but the fastest run of the week on what has been described as the largest barrel racing venue in professional rodeo. Walker's 28.02-second run was nearly half a second faster than her nearest competitor. And, it is Walker's first barrel racing title in Pendleton.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Review of top hands heading into Saturday's final round

There's only one day left at the Pendleton Round-Up, and the way things shaped up Friday will have an impact on Saturday's championship round. Here's what happened Friday with a look at how the top 12 shape up going into Saturday's final round.

In the bareback event, Scott Montague had the top score Friday with an 85. Here's how the top 5 looked Friday.

1. Scott Montague Fruitdale, SD 85
2. Andy Martinez Pavillion, WY 83
2. Kelly Timberman Mills, WY 83
4. Justin McDaniel Porum, OK 80
5. Zach Curran Arvada, CO 79

And here's how the top 12 shape up for Saturday's short go-round in the bareback event.

1. Will Lowe Canyon, TX 88
2. Tom McFarland Wickenburg, AZ 87
3. Scott Montague Fruitdale, SD 85
4. Silas Richards San Augustine, TX 85
4. Heath Ford Greeley, CO 84
6. Kelly Timberman Mills, WY 83
6. Andy Martinez Pavillion, WY 83
8. Tyler Barnes Prineville, OR 81
9. Jason Jeter Mansfield, TX 80
10. Zach Dishman Beaumont, TX 80
11. Justin McDaniel Porum, OK 80

In the calf roping, local favorite Brad Goodrich came out on top Friday. Here's how the top 5 shaped up after Friday's performance.

1. Brad Goodrich Hermiston, OR 10.1
2. Scott MuCulloch Galt, CA 11.2
3. Johnny Sloan Ellensburg, WA 13.3
4. K.C. Jones Decatur, TX 13.6
5. Trevor Knowles Mount Vernon, OR 17.2

And here's the top 12 who will compete for the calf roping title on Saturday.

1. Joe Beaver Huntsville, TX 19.2
2. Dean Edge Rembey, AB 19.9
3. Kyle Hughes Olney Springs, CO 20.4
3. Tim Pharr Resaca, GA 20.4
5. Brad Goodrich Hermiston, OR 20.6
6. Ty Holly Mount Vernon, OR 20.8
7. Jerome Schneeberger Ponco City, OK 21.1
8. Cash Myers Athens, TX 21.3
8. Fred Whitfield Hockley, TX 21.3
10. Jerrad Hofstetter Athens, TX 21.5
11. Josh Peek Pueblo, CO 21.7
12. Jeff Chapman Athens, TX 22.0

In the saddle bronc event, two Mid-Columbia cowboy ended up in the top 5 on Friday. Here's how Friday's top 5 finishers fared.

1. Jeb Knox Prosser, WA 87
2. Matt Marvel Battle Mountain, NV 82
2. Jess Martin Dillon, MT 82
4. Rusty Allen Lehi, UT 81
5. Gary Alger Pendleton, OR 79

Here's a look at who will be competing for the top money in Saturday's go-round.

1. Jeb Knox Prosser, WA 87
2. Steve Dollarhide Wikieup, AZ 85
3. Bryce Miller Buffalo, SD 84
4. Rod Hay Wildwood, AB 83
4. Jesse Bail Hermiston, OR 83
4. Cody DeMoss Heflin, LA 83
4. Jake Griffin Daniel, WY 83
8. Jess Martin Dillon, MT 82
8. Matt Marvel Battle Mountain, NV 82
8. Josh Reynolds Corvallis, MT 82
8. Bradley Harter Weatherford, TX 82
8. Tyler Corrington Hastings, MT 82

In the steer wrestling, Sean Mulligan was the top man on Friday. Here's how the top 5 rounded out.

1. Sean Mulligan Coleman, OK 5.0
2. Todd Suhn North Platte, NE 5.1
3. Levi Wisness Keene, ND 5.2
4. Brandon Christensen Hermiston, OR 5.9
5. Dane Hanna Denver, CO 6.9

And here's a look at who wil compete for the steer wresting title tomorrow.

1. Tommy Cook Heber City, UT 10.1
2. Todd Suhn North Platte, NE 10.4
3. Brad Gleason Touchet, WA 10.8
4. Josh Peek Pueblo, CO 11.5
5. Brandon Christensen Hermiston, OR 11.8
6. K.C. Jones Decatur, TX 11.8
7. Levi Wisness Keene, ND 11.9
8. Steven Campbell Midwest, WY 12.6
9. Chancey Gartner Pasco, WA 13.8
10. Sean Mulligan Coleman, OK 14.1
10. Dane Hanna Denver, CO 14.1
12. Curt La Duke Bozeman, MT 14.2

Teams from the Nortwest dominated Friday's team roping competition. Here's how the top teamsw fared on Friday.

1. Charly Crawford Prineville, OR 5.1
Kinney Harrell San Angelo, TX
2. Jared McFarlane Adrian, OR 6.4
Trevor McCoin Condon, OR
3. Josh Bruce Jordan Valley, OR 12.5
B.J. Campbell Benton City, WA
4. Bobby Mote Culver, OR 15.8
Jim Crouch Bend, OR

And here are the top 12 teams who will compete Saturday for the team roping title.

1. Joe Beaver Huntsville, TX 13.9
Nick Simmons Colcord, OK
2. Britt Williams Hammond, MT 13.9
Caleb Twisselman Santa Margarita, CA
3. Colter Todd Marana AZ 14.1
Cesar de la Cruz Tucson, AZ
3. Jake Cooper Monument, NM 14.1
Jimmie Cooper Monument, NM
5. Shain Sproul Benson, AZ 14.2
Cory Petska Lexington, OK
6. Jake Stanley Hermiston, OR 14.6
Russell Cardoza Knights Ferry, CA
7. Mikey Fletcher, Jr Okeechobee, FL 14.8
Bobby Baize El Paso, TX
8. Jake Barnes Scottsdale, AZ 15.4
Dean Tuftin Prineville, OR
9. Paul Mullins Shafter, CA 15.7
Ryan Zurcher Shafter, CA
10. Lance Brooks Shandon, CA 16.4
York Gill Memphis, TN
11. Matt Tyler Lipan, TX 16.6
Jett Hillman Jones, OK
12. Garrett Tonozzi Fruita, CO 16.7
Bret Tonozzi Loma, CO

Only three cowboys qualified in the money Friday for the steer roping event. Here's how that event finished.

1. Harold Bumguardner Torrington, WY 17.6
2. Brad Goodrich Hermiston, OR 17.7
3. Billy Ward Lagrange, WY 23.4

Here are the top steer ropers who will compet for the title Saturday.

1. Vin Fisher Jr 24.6
2. Rocky Patterson 25.7
3. J.P. Wickett 28.1
4. Cash Myers 29.3
5. Neal Wood 30.9
6. Scott Snedecor 31.0
7. Marty Jones 31.6
8. Buster Record Jr 35.4
9. Brad Goodrich 35.5
10. Kyle Lockett 36.0
11. John Alps 38.3
12. Guy Allen
12. Jess Tierney
12. Tyler Mayse

In the barrel racing, there are the top 5 ladies Friday.

Barrel Racing
1. Linzie Walker Conway, WA 28.34
2. Phyllis Wells Harrah, OK 28.68
3. Barbara West Oak Harbor, WA 28.97
4. Kyna Schrader Caldwell, ID 29.39
5. Patty Childers Arlington, WA 29.56

And here are the top 12 ladies scheduled to compete Saturday.

1. Carol Wilson Cardston, AB 28.20
2. Linzie Walker Conway, WA 28.34
3. June Holeman Arcadia, NE 28.53
4. Shelly Anzick Livingston, MT 28.54
5. Layna Kight Summerfield, FL 28.55
6. Meagan Reichert Mount Pleasant, TX 28.62
7. Sherry Cervi Marana, AZ 28.63
8. Tana Poppino Big Cabin, Ok 28.65
9. Naomi Smith Del Rio, TX 28.67
10. PhyllisWells Harrah, OK 28.68
11. Katie Davis Adrian, OR 28.70
12. Kelli Kamm Stanfield, OR 28.74

In the bull riding, here are the top 5 finishers Friday.

1. Clint Johnson Hines, OR 83
2. Kanin Asay Powell, WY 81
3. Luke Haught Weatherford, TX 77
4. Jarrod Craig Hillsboro, TX 76
5. Steve Woolsey Payson, UT 75

Here are the top 12 bull riders who will compete for the event title on Saturday.

1. Zach Oakes Tonasket, WA 89
2. Clint Craig Mena, AR 86
2. Lee Woolsey Spanish Fork, UT 86
4. Mike Moore Kankakee, IL 85
5. Dustin Elliott North Platte, NE 83
5. Clint Johnson Hines, OR 83
7. Kyle Joslin Caldwell, ID 82
8. Cody Buller Glendive, MT 81
8. J.C. Bean Goldendale, WA 81
8. Matt Austin Wills Point, TX 81
8. Kanin Asay Powell, WY 81
12. Cooper Kanngiesser Zenda, KS 80

Friday is in the books

Well, another day of Round-Up is done, at least as far as the rodeo is concerned. Now it's all over by the shouting for the day, and you can expect to see and hear a lot of that downtown on Main Street.

But here's how the rest of the events shaped up today.

In the steer wrestling, Sean Mulligan had a 5-second-flat time to lead the day.

Charly Crawford and Kinney Harrell put together a 5.1-second run for the best time of the day in the team roping.

The steer ropers had another miserable day, with only three qualified rides. Harold Bumguardner was the best of the three with a 17.6-second ride, followed closely by Brad Goodrich with a 17.7-second ride.

In the barrel racing, Linzie Walker had the fastest time with a 28.34 second run.

And in the bull riding, Clint Johnson captured the top score and a spot in Saturday's short go-round with an 83-point score.

Misc. notes from Friday's Round-Up

Clouds are looming over the Round-Up grounds today in Pendleton with only a few hints of blue sky peaking through from time to time. But as the rodeo was starting today and the American flag was brought into the arena on horseback, the clouds overhead parted just enough to bathe the aren in sunlight for the national anthem.

Syndicated radio talkshow host Lars Larson is broadcasting his show live today from the edge of the Round-Up arena. Among his guest today are Republoicans seeking office in the November election. One is gubernatorial candidate Ron Saxton. The other was Rep. Greg Walden, R-Hood River.

Friday results through three events

Scott Montague has the high score of the day in the bareback riding to kick off Friday's Pendleton Round-Up, which will get him a spot in Saturday's short go-round.

Local favorite Brad Goodrich of Hermiston, Ore., had the best time of the day in the calf roping, with a 10.2 second run.

In the saddle bronc, Jeb Knox's 87 point ride was the top score of the round and puts him on top of the leader board in the event so far this week.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

This ain't no dairy farm

If you have never been to the Pendleton Round-Up, it's difficult to describe. It's not like any other rodeo in the world. At least not any one I've ever seen.

Some of the events at this rodeo are not sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. Some of them are just plain wild and woolly fun.

Take the wild cow milking for example. a small herd of wild cows are let loose in the arena. Also in the arena are a bunch of cowboys on horseback and an equal number of guys on foot.

The object of this event is for the rider on horseback to rope one of these wild cows and "control" it long enough for his, or her, partner on the ground to catch up to it and hold it. Then the two men team up to figure out how best to coax the cow to put a little squirt of milk into a small Coke bottle.

The first team of two to take their bottle into the center of the arena and can pour some amount of milk out for the judges to witness wins.

It's like a cowboy rave, complete with livestock.

The photo above is of one -alf of Thursday's winning wild cow milking team of Rawley Bigsby and Jason Stewart (sorry, I didn't catch which one was on horseback and which one was working the ground).

The wild cow milking is the last event of the day on the Round-Up program. And usually by the time the wild cow milking teams make their way into the arena, most of the fans in the grandstands are making their way to the exits or to the Let 'er Buck Room. (The Let 'er Buck Room is another thing unique about the Round-Up that I may try to file a post on before the weekend is done.)

Many of the events that use to make Pendleton unique are now gone, like the stagecoach races and the wild horse race. But the wild cow milking remains. And it's one of the events that non-professional cowboys can enter. It's part of the tradition that makes Pendleton a popular event for local cowboys, as well as those contending for world titles and a trip to the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.

Results from Thursday's Pendleton Round-Up

Here are Thursday’s official standings from the Pendleton Round-Up and the top 12 contestants in each event so far in the rodeo this week.

The top 12 contestants in each event will compete Saturday for the title in their respective events.

Will Lowe’s 88 on Thursday in the bareback riding was enough to win the day money and put him on top of the bareback standings after two days of the Pendleton Round-Up. Here’s Thursday’s top 5 in the bareback event:

1. Will Lowe Canyon, TX 88
2. Tom McFarland Wickenburg, AZ 87
3. Tyler Barnes Prineville, OR 81
4. Zach Dishman Beaumont, TX 80
5. Josi Young Buhl, ID 78

Here’s how the top 12 bareback riders are stacking up so far:

1. Will Lowe Canyon, TX 88
2. Tom McFarland Wickenburg, AZ 87
3. Silas Richards San Augustine TX 85
4. Heath Ford Greeley, CO 84
5. Tyler Barnes Prineville, OR 81
6. Jason Jeter Mansfield, TX 80
7. Zach Dishman Beaumont, TX 79
7. Marvin Garrett Belle Fourche, SO 79
7. Larry Sandvick Worden, MT 79
7. Jason Havens Bend, OR 79
7. Paul Jones Elko, NV 79
12. Josi Young Buhl, ID 78

In the calf roping, Jeff Chapman’s 11.4 was enough to win the day, but puts him in precarious position to make the finals. He is currently in 11th position overall in the event going into Friday’s go-round.

Here’s how the top 5 looked in Thursday action.

1. Jeff Chapman Athens, TX 11.4
2. Jay Don Greenwood Caldwell, ID 14.4
3. Tony Green Madras, OR 14.8
4. Chad Johnson Cut Bank, MT 15.3
5. Seth Hopper Stanfield, OR 17.7

Former world champion all around cowboy Joe Beaver is leading the race so far on two head. Here’s how the top 12 stack up in calf roping so far this week.

1. Joe Beaver Huntsville, TX 19.2
2. Dean Edge Rembey, AB 19.9
3. Kyle Hughes Olney Springs, CO 20.4
3. Tim Pharr Resaca, GA 20.4
5. Ty Holly Mount Vernon, OR 20.8
6. Jerome Schneeberger Ponca City, OK 21.1
7. Cash Myers Athens, TX 21.3
7. Fred Whitfield Hockley, TX 21.3
9. Jerrad Hofstetter Athens, TX 21.5
10. Josh Peek Pueblo, CO 21.7
11. Jeff Chapman Athens, TX 22.0
12. Doug Pharr Resaca, GA 23.0

In the saddle bronc event, Steve Dollarhide stole the day with an 85-point ride and is the top point leader in the event so far this week. In fact the top three from Thursday’s go-round lead the event so far. Here’s how the day’s top 5 stack up.
1. Steve Dollarhide Wikiep, AZ 85
2. Bryce Miller Buffalo, SD 84
3. Rod Hay Wildwood, AB 83
4. Josh Reynolds Corvallis, MT 82
5. Jermiah Diffee Smackover, AR 80
5. Dan Erickson La Junta, CO 80

Here’s how the top 12 rounds out for the week thus far in the saddle bronc event.

1. Steve Dollarhide Wikiep, AZ 85
2. Bryce Miller Buffalo, SD 84
3. Rod Hay Wildwood, AB 83
3. Jesse Bail Camp Crook, SD 83
3. Cody DeMoss Heflin, LA 83
3. Jake Griffin Daniel, WY 83
7. Josh Reynolds Corvallis, MT 82
7. Bradley Harter Weatherford, TX 82
7. Tyler Corrington Hasting, MN 82
10. Dustin Flundra Pincher Creek, AB 81
11. Dan Erickson La Junta, CO 80
11. Jermiah Diffee Smackover, AR 80
11. Dustin Thompson Brooks, AB 80

In the steer wresting, K.C. Jones, who is Mr. Steer Wrestler in Pendleton had the top score of the day and moved into fourth place overall in the event. Here’s how the top 5 shaped up Thursday.

1. K.C. Jones Decur, TX 4.5
2. Clayton Hass Terrell, TX 5.8
3. Steven Campbell Midwest, WY 6.4
4. Mark Boultinhouse Ridgefield, WA 6.7
5. Barry Kreikemeier West Point, NE 7.5

Defending Round-Up steer wresting champion Tommy Cook appears to be in good shape to get a shot at defending his title. He leads the event so far this week. Here is how the top 12 shapes up in steer wresting.

1. Tommy Cook Heber City, UT 10.1
2. Brad Gleason Touchet, WA 10.8
3. Josh Peek Pueblo, CO 11.5
4. K.C. Jones Decatur, TX 11.8
5. Steven Campbell Midwest, WY 12.6
6. Chancey Gartner Pasco, WA 13.8
7. Curt La Duke Bozeman, MT 14.2
8. Barry Kreikemeier West Point, NE 15.2
9. Brad McGilchrist Wheatland, CA 15.7
10. Mark Boultinghouse Ridgefield, WA 15.3
11. Trevor Knowles Mount Vernon, OR 15.9
12. Jack Vanderlans Cameron, MT 16.1

Only four teams roped in the money in the team roping event Thursday, with two teams tying for first on the day. Here’s how the top 4 teams placed on Thursday.

1.Shain Sproul Benson, AZ 7.1
Cory Petska Lexington, OK
1. Lance Brooks Shandon, CA 7.1
York Gill Memphis, TN
3. Colter Todd Marana, AZ 8.4
Cesar de la Cruz Tucson, AZ
4. Doug Wilkinson Arrowood, AB 9.0
Mark Nugent Water Valley, AB

Former world champion all around cowboy Joe Beaver also sits on top of the team roping standings, which may make him the early favorite for the all around title at the Pendleton Round-Up this year. Here’s hot the top 12 team ropers stack up so far this week.

1. Joe Beaver Huntsville, TX 13.9
Nick Simmons Colcord, OK
2. Britt Williams Hammond, MT 13.9
Caleb Twisselman Santa Margarita, CA
3. Colter Todd Marana AZ 14.1
Cesar de la Cruz Tucson, AZ
3. Jake Cooper Monument, NM 14.1
Jimmie Cooper Monument, NM
5. Shain Sproul Benson, AZ 14.2
Cory Petska Lexington, OK
6. Jake Stanley Hermiston, OR 14.6
Russell Cardoza Knights Ferry, CA
7. Mikey Fletcher, Jr Okeechobee, FL 14.8
Bobby Baize El Paso, TX
8. Jake Barnes Scottsdale, AZ 15.4
Dean Tuftin Prineville, OR
9. Paul Mullins Shafter, CA 15.7
Ryan Zurcher Shafter, CA
10. Lance Brooks Shandon, CA 16.4
York Gill Memphis, TN
11. Matt Tyler Lipan, TX 16.6
Jett Hillman Jones, OK
12. Garrett Tonozzi Fruita, CO 16.7
Bret Tonozzi Loma, CO

Zack Oakes’89 score on Action Cat on Thursday puts him atop the leader board for the day and the week in bull riding. Here’s how the top 5 bull riders finished Thursday.

1. Zack Oakes Tonasket, WA 89
2. Mike Moore Kankakee, IL 85
3. Dustin Elliot North Platte, NE 83
4. Kyle Joslin Caldwell, ID 82
5. J.C. Bean Goldendale, WA 81

Here’s the top 12 bull riders so far this week at the Pendleton Round-Up.

1. Zack Oakes Tonasket, WA 89
2. Clint Craig Mena, AR 86
2. Lee Woolsey Spanish Fork, UT 86
4. Mike Moore Kankakee, IL 85
5. Dustin Elliott North Platte, NE 83
6. Kyle Joslin Caldwell, ID 82
7. J.C. Bean Goldendale, WA 81
7. Cody Buller Glendive, MT 81
7. Matt Austin Wills Point, TX 81
10. Cooper Kanngiesser Zenda, KS 80
11. Joe Meling Pendleton, OR 78
12. Fred Boettcher Rice Lake, WI 74
12. Danny McDowell Jena, LA 74

In the steer roping Thursday there was only one qualifying run by John Alps of Culver, Ore., with a 15.5 second time.

Here’s how the steer roping top 10 shapes up so far this week on 2 head.

1. Vin Fisher Jr Andrews, TX 24.6
2. Rocky Patterson Pratt, KS 25.7
3. JP Wickett Sallisaw, OK 28.1
4. Cash Myers Athens, TX 29.3
5. Neal Wood Guy, TX 30.9
6. Scott Snedecor Uvalde, TX 31.0
7. Marty Jones Hobbs, NM 31.6
8. Buster Record Jr Buffalo, OK 35.4
9. Kyle Lockett Ivanhoe, CA 36.0
10. John Alps Culver, OR 38.3

And in the barrel racing, defending Round-Up champion Maegan Reichert had the top run of the day. And as an ol’ Echo, Ore., boy and graduate of Echo High School, I have to point out that Randy Rae Britt of Echo finished in the top 5 on the day, with our neighbor Kelli Kamm of Stanfield finishing in fourth place. Here is how the top 5 finished today. In the barrel racing.

1. Maegan Reichert Mt Pleasant, TX 28.62
2. Katie Davis Adrian, OR 28.70
3. Kelli Kamm Stanfield, OR 28.74
4. Randy Rae Britt Echo, OR 29.18
5. Jackie Dube Giddings, TX 29.22

The top 12 standing for the week in barrel racing were not immediately available Thursday night.

By the way, I want to offer a special thanks to Jodi on the media staff at the Pendleton Round-Up for getting the results to us, so we can get them to you, so quickly. Thanks Jodi!

Bull riders highlight of afternoon

Thursday's Round-Up is in the books.

John Alps had the best time of the day in an unimpressive 15.5-second run in the steer roping.

Defending Round-Up barrel racing champion Maegan Reichert had the top time of the day in her event, with a 28.62-second run. If you're a barrel racing fan, the barrel pattern in Pendleton is nothing like you've ever seen before. It's huge, because the arena is so large, with dirt only on the track around a grass infield. That's where the place the barrels that the racers have to ride around. And that's why the times are more than twice what you would normally expect to see in a barrel racing event.

The bull riders did better in the second section of the bull riding. There were several qualified rides, but Zack Oakes wowed the crowd and set the pace with an 89-point ride on appropriately named Action Cat. Oakes was the first rider out in the second section, and in spite of some scores in the low 80s, no one was able to catch him.

On a weather note, the rain held off and the sun came out for the late part of the afternoon, and the blustery winds that greeting rodeo fans died down. The day ended on a sunny and almost warm note.

That's it for me for today, at least as far as the posts I'm going to make live from the grounds. I may try to make another post later, or add photos to some of the posts I made today. But for now, the laptop battery is running low. Both the machine, and the man, need a recharge.

By the way, all results post here are unofficial and don't include times or scores from the slack competition earlier in the day. Check this link for official results, which are scheduled to be posted here (on the official Round-Up website) probably later tonight. I will also try to post official result too if I can.

So, signing off for now from the Round-Up grounds in Pendleton, Ore., this is Gary West of the Capital Press.

More Thursday event results

This is just going to be a quick post, but I wanted to bring everyone up to date on the event results so far.

Jeff Chapman had the best performance time today in the calf roping with a run of 11.4 seconds.

In the saddle bronc, the best was saved for last as Arizona cowboy Steve Dollarhide recorded the top store with an 85. He was the last rider in the event because he was awarded a re-ride when his first horse didn't buck too well and the judges gave him a chance to improve on his initial 64 score.

In the steer wrestling, the man who owns the Pendleton Round-Up arena record, K.C. Jones, also set the pace today. Jones recorded a 4.5-second time. He didn't threaten his own arena record of 3.8 seconds, but he eclipsed the rest of the field by more than 1 second. Jones' run also got the crowd excited, drawing a roar of approval.

In the team roping, only four teams recorded scores, but two of them tied for the top scores of the day. The team of Shain Sproul and Cory Petska tied with Lance Brooks and York Gill with runs of 7.1 seconds.

And at Pendleton they split the bull riding into two sections. With the first section done, only one cowboy was able to stay aboard for the fill 8 seconds out of 9 riders. Mike Moore scored 85 points on the bull Hemi from the Corey & Horst Rodeo Co.

That's all for now. It's about time to get back into the arena for the steer roping, barrel racing and the final section of bull riding.

Off to a bang

The Thursday performance got off to a bang, literally, today for Round-Up Princess Lindsee Williams.

Williams, of Helix, Ore., ended up on the ground against the grandstands during the grand entry to kick off today's performance of the Pendleton Round-Up.

Williams was thrown from her horse, but got to her feet and initial reports were that the Round-Up princess didn't suffer any serious injuries.

The Round-Up court kicks off each rodeo performance in Pendleton by riding into the arena at full gallop. It starts off the excitement, but sometimes the excitement is more than expected.


Reigning bareback world champion Will Lowe showed why he is also leading the world standings this season by scoring an 88 today on the horse Booger's Pet.

Lowe's score was the best of the day in the bareback riding.


Dark clouds are hanging over the Round-Up grounds. It looks like rain could be possible before the afternoon is over, as the clouds are stacking up against the Blue Mountains just east of Pendleton.

Are you tough enough for Round-Up?

The Thursday edition of the 2006 Pendleton Round-Up is less than 30 minutes from getting under way. I remembered to bring all my Western apparel but I'm still looking a bit out of place on the rodeo grounds today. I'm still not dressed quite right.
Today is "Tough Enough to Wear Pink" day at the Pendleton Round-Up. Today contestants and fans will be showing their support for the fight against breast cancer by wearing pink. There are pink shirts, bandanas -- even boots -- in evidence all around the grounds today.
It's not that I am not willing, even eager, to support that cause. I lost an aunt to breast cancer and have had several friends who have had to fight that devastating affliction. It's just that I don't have any Western apparrel that is pink. In fact I think the only clothing I have with pink anymore is a tie with pink in it. And that would definitely look out of place here.
Well, fortunately, my press pass the Round-Up media and security folks issued to me is pink. Maybe that will be enough to show my support and keep me from looking like a complete outsider.
Let's get ready to rodeo.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Ready to rodeo (blog-style)

Cowboy hat: Check
Wrangler jeans: Check
Justin boots: Check
Western shirts: Check
Leather belt with rodeo buckle: Of course!

Plus socks, clean underwear, shaving kit, a laptop computer, iPod loaded with enough country music to listen uninterrupted for 3.6 days (that's 1,438 songs in case you are curious).

That must mean I'm packed and ready for Round-Up. The Pendleton Round-Up that is. All that's left to do is throw the gear in the truck and hit the road. Although from the looks of the weather forecast I an my fellow Round-Up revelers will need our jackets and umbrellas (or hat covers) too. Chilly and rainy weather is predicted for Thursday through Saturday. Of course things clear up on Sunday, just in time to return home.

Well, I better get going. I've got miles to go before I reach the Umatilla County line and can bunk down for the night. But look for posts here and hopefully on tomorrow afternoon.

If you can't wait til thing for a Round-Up fix, check out the East Oregonian's coverage. They have enough stuff there to keep you busy until the buckin' bulls come home.

OK, I'm off. It's time to Let 'er Buck.

Do cowboys carry laptops?

OK, so sometimes maybe I overreact.

I found out Tuesday there is a bit of a snafu related to equipment availability this week. We just don't have enough laptop computers to go around. So my grand plan to post blog updates and updates to the Capital Press website from the Pendleton Round-Up later this week was looking pretty iffy.

So, I had an idea. I'd been thinking about getting a laptop computer for a while, and I had read recently about how the price of laptops were way down due to competition between chip manufacturers AMD and Intel. So I was thinking maybe the time was right to take the plunge.

So this is the first post from my new toy. So, it looks like the Round-Up posts have been saved.

I'm sure that's a relief to you all.

Hello? Is anyone out there? Well, if so I'll be making the first 2006 Round-Up post sometime Thursday afternoon Pacific time. Unless, that is I win Wednesday's Powerball drawing. In that case, you're on your own.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Just Bee-cause

Attempting to beat the showers on the way, it’s easy to find those that are … well, as busy as a bee.

Need we say more.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Five years later: 9/11 at 10 p.m. at Salem

Near silence.

All that was left in Riverfront park in Salem was the humming of generators that powered bright lights on the remaining flags that had been solemn reminders of terrorist actions five years ago; the soft murmur of a few families who walked slowly along the rows of American flags; consolation offered in a few last embraces for mourning family members dressed in black who came for a tribute they found hard to leave.

There was not a single breath of breeze.
Not a single flag moved, not even a flutter.

People carefully lifted the edges of the flags, gazed at the thousands of names in the stripes of the flag, and those larger words about honor and remember and 9/11.

The workers began to remove the flags, the last few people who purchased their flags began to make their way home.

Back to catch the television stations play the day's speeches over and over. Replay images of burning towers in New York, a smoky Pentagon, a still image of a plane wreck in a field that never was allowed to reach its target destination. There were names, one by one, listed by authorities, and by people who lost their loved ones.

And there were images of Afghanistan, Iraq, of terrorists that continue to add each day more victims that will increase these flags on future memorial fields.

At times like this, perhaps all that can be left are the pictures, reminders that each flag represents a person, a life, a terrible tragedy.

We will remember them.

Climate change package coming soon

This week at Capital Press we are busy putting together the final touches on a climate change package, the second installment of a three-part series we’re doing together with our sister newspapers in the East Oregonian Publishing Company.

Using our resources from various newspapers in different locations in the West helps give an interesting perspective to this upcoming special section. We have stories that look at the impact on crops, animals and forests, but our newspapers on the coast also picked up what happens to ocean life as the climate changes even a few degrees.

Tackling a large issue like climate change can be daunting: almost every day there seems to be research papers or political discussions in different parts of the world on how to deal with what appears to be definitely happening in our world. How can our newspapers stay on top of everything happening? The truth is, we can’t, especially not with modest resources of a small publishing company as we continue to also serve our readers — whether they are a farm audience, for the Capital Press, or a seaside audience like that of the Daily Astorian, or a mixed rural-urban audience like the East Oregonian serves.

But we tried to touch on some of the things that are happening in the West and put it into perspective on how climate change has already or may affect things that grow. This ranges from animals to plants to forests to sea life.

Our print edition carries the section on Sept. 22. Stay tuned to in upcoming weeks as we post our whole special section online, or see how the Daily Astorian's packaged the latest installment here. You and also see our previous installments of the series here.

Again, feedback is welcomed.

Round-Up time again

This blog, or an earlier incarnation of it anyway, was born one year ago this month. It began as posts on the main Capital Press website.

If was our first attempt at providing "live" coverage of an event, the Pendleton Round-Up. And it didn't look or act very bloggish (click here to see last year's "blog" posts related to the Round-Up). There were 14 posts in all, with entries from before, during and after the event, in addition to the coverage that ran in the Sept. 23, 2005, edition of Capital Press. Ten of the posts were made from the Round-Up grounds or some more remote location in Eastern Oregon (namely using a dial-up connection from my parents' home/business on Buttercreek Highway outside the small town of Echo).

But it was something of the beginning of an experiment. When I first started talking about creating a blog for our website or making multiple live updates a day from an event, there were a few people that looked at me a bit funny. You could read the "why?" in their eyes.

Even now, I'm not sure I have a good answer. In no small part, the potentially unsatisfying answer was simply "Because we can."

The world of technology has come a long way since 1985, the year I covered my first Pendleton Round-Up. But if you drive east on Interstate 84 toward Pendleton, the landscape looks much as it did 21 years ago. In fact there are probably at least a few pieces of farm equipment that work those rolling wheat fields now that were working those same fields more than two decades ago.

You have to look close to see the difference. Some of the equipment used to farm that land today is filled with all sort of technological gadgets not found in wide use, if used at all, back them. Cell phones are standard issue for everyone from the farm operator to the lowest-paid farm hand. Global positioning satellite equipments directs the airplanes that apply fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides to the crops. Farmers not only have e-mail, they can check it from their cell phones or other palm-sized electronic devices they can carry with them.

And even on the Round-Up grounds, there were phone lines for laptop computers and even wireless access in 2005. That's what made posts from the grounds possible, sometimes mere minutes after an event had ended.

While the people who make of the core rodeo fan base -- farmers, ranchers and rural residents -- are the same folks who make up the Capital Press subscriber base, our newspaper has not made a habit of covering the sport as a sport. Our staff members have been known to attend a rodeo or two, and put a picture or even a short story in the paper. But we have not covered the sport per se, complete with results event-by-event. For our sister paper, the East Oregonian, which is based in Pendleton, Round-Up is part sports event, part community festival, part tourist attraction and and part freak show, all wrapped in rawhide and topped off with a fancy felt hat. They cover the event like a proverbial Pendleton blanket.

This week I will be heading back to Pendleton, along with Mark Rozin, the Capital Press photo coordinator. And the plan at the moment is to do more blog posts from the event, on Thursday and Friday. So look for live updates here and on, and see Mark's photos in the Sept. 22 edition of Capital Press.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Living (temporarily) with a crown: what does a dairy princess do?

When I first saw the Oregon Dairy Princess Anna Monroe do a speech earlier this year at a Dairy Herd Improvement Association meeting in McMinnville, I wondered at that point how many times she had already done her same speech over and over again about how healthy and nutritious milk is for people.

It was obvious she had the speech and all its statistics memorized by that point, as well as calculated how much time she had to do her presentation.

Last weekend, during the Oregon State Fair, we met again. She had time for an interview, and next week’s paper will profile the interview and some of her audio quotes will appear on

There were a few things that stood out when I meet her this time around.

First, how much her self-confidence has grown. This is one of the best things about any of these people that serve in ambassador positions, whether it’s a rodeo queen, a dairy princess, or some other position that represents an organization, an event, a community or a state. After doing so many presentations to different groups of people and often to schools, these young ambassadors mature and learn a lot of skills they can apply to other jobs later in life.

Another thing that stood out was how she was more comfortable and able to adapt to her audiences. She explained that one day she may talk to dairy farmers who have been involved in the business for years, and the next she may talk to 6-year-olds who ask questions about whether chocolate milk comes from brown cows or why isn’t there a dairy queen instead of princess.

In one case, a young boy was quite determined to become better than princess. Crying, he kept insisting he wanted to be a dairy queen some day.

And then there are questions from kids that a lot of us probably would not have imagined.

Like when do cows give milk. When they calf, she’d reply.

That would then open the doors to questions like, when do they calf, how do they calf, and how did the calf get inside the cow in the first place.

At times like that, Monroe hesitates, thinks again about what would be age-appropriate information to share, and can launch into rather detailed explanations especially if it’s a teenage audience.

For younger kids, it’s sometimes easier to say their teachers or parents should handle those questions.

Another lasting impression from Monroe last weekend was how close she is to her mom, who escorted her around the fairgrounds last weekend while Monroe did her duties complete with crown and sash.

It was evident that the mother was very proud of her daughter, but best of all they genuinely enjoy hanging out together, as Anna Monroe explained.

She said she had been in university a couple of years but being the dairy princess allowed her to spend this summer traveling around and getting to know her mother better. At the same time, her mother had a chance to see her daughter mature and grow as she performed her duties.

Often as reporters we cover events where we hear speeches done by these ambassadors. We do stories in the beginning when they first start these honorary positions, such as what is their background, what are their ambitions and goals and why did they think they won. We quote some of their speeches, and present the messages they have given their audiences.

However, we don’t always follow up later with how does the reign go, what have these people learned, and what are some of their experiences.

Last weekend's meeting with Monroe and her mother showed a temporary glimpse of her life beyond the crown, as well as when she's wearing it.

Stay tuned to the Capital Press website for the story next week.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Sharing stories about staff in house ads

A new house ad campaign by Capital Press is a bit different than in the past.

Rather than try to entice people to subscribe, advertise or to buy something to support our Newspaper in Education program, the campaign focuses on how our newspaper has ties to agricultural communities.

In some cases, our staff shares how they grew up on or worked on farms in the past. Some of our staff still farm today, even while working different jobs at Capital Press.

Other staff volunteer to help out in their communities or give back to organizations they respect.

Other parts of the ad campaign show that Capital Press often gives back to communities in different ways, such as sponsoring events ranging from 4-H shows to charity banquets.

The pictures combines quotes, a bit of background, and pictures of the staff. The pictures include talking to farmers, being in Legislative buildings, riding a horse, visiting a farmers’ market, picking vegetables from their gardens and doing other such things.

Not everyone will be in an ad, but the campaign does give the newspaper a chance to show our customers who are the people that put this newspaper together. It includes editorial reporters, but also people in circulation, advertising and administration, and also highlights the contributions of our staff in other states we cover.

Perhaps the most rewarding part of this whole campaign is that it is not only our customers who might feel they get to know our staff better.

Even within our newspaper’s office we are getting a glimpse of another side of some of the people we may have worked alongside for years.

Who knew they had a farming background or what jobs people had before Capital Press, or why they wanted to work for this newspaper? It’s always humbling to learn about what people do as volunteers in the community when they aren’t at work. And what really comes through is everyone’s passion for agriculture, their respect for farmers, their pride of working for Capital Press, and their sincerity and desire to do their best for customers.

It will take a few months for all the ads to rotate through the various editions of the newspaper. We first concentrated on having the zoned editions focus on our staff who work in that state. For example, Washington has seen ads on Cookson Beecher, Idaho on Pat McCoy, and California on Ali Bay.

We may put all the house ads in one place on our website in case our readers want to see the ads all in one place. Hopefully, we’ll also receive feedback on what people think of this ad campaign.

The ads also give the contact information for these staff so people know who they can call in their area with story or photo ideas, or who to call for ads in their region.

Some examples of what our staff said in the ads:

“I was attracted to the opportunity because my dad and grandparents always had a CP laying around to read on Sunday morning. When I was little I would look at the pictures. As I grew up I started to read it. It seemed like a great way for me to use my degree in marketing while still being able to be in the ag industry that I grew up in and loved.”
Lindsey Harder, ad rep for eastern Washington, Northern Idaho and Montana

“We’re not writing news, we’re writing history.”
Cookson Beecher, reporter, Washington state

“I see a lot of people really committed and dedicated to provide their membership with the things they need — they’re trying to help their industry and help them understand the issues, and it’s impressive to watch because of their sincerity and commitment.”
Pat McCoy, reporter, Idaho

“I enjoy traveling off the beaten path, meeting unique people in the industry who have fascinating stories.”
Ali Bay, reporter, California

“Working on farms has given me more of an appreciation for farming and ranching.
As a teenager, working on farms in western Idaho gave me an appreciation for the hard work that is required on farms.”
Dave Wilkins, reporter, Idaho

“We like to talk to the customers to get their feedback so that we can provide them with a relevant, informative and useful product and better customer service.”
Terrie Reisner, circulation manager.

Monday, September 04, 2006

In memory of George Petroccione

I was goofing round online, not doing anything in particular, and ended up on the website of the Albany Democrat-Herald newspaper in Albany, Ore. I've known several people who've worked there over the years, people I've worked with at other newspapers and such, and decided to see if an old friend of mine from college was still working there.

I ran his name through the search on the website, figuring it would lead me to some recent article he may have written. And I got a blank. So I went to Google and ran his name through there. And the first item that came up floored me. It was an obituary from the National Press Photographers Association for the name I was looking for, George Petroccione.

I've been back in Oregon for more than a year and while I've wondered what George has been up to several times, I've never tried to get in touch with him. I've always been too busy or some other excuse. And now I find out I'm too late, by more than two months.

I met George in college. He worked for me as a photographer on the staff of The Daily Barometer, the campus student newspaper. He eventually succeeded me as photo editor and surpassed me, becoming editor of the paper before he left Oregon State. I made it to managing editor, but the year I graduated another person we were both close to in college, Debra Rogers, became editor. George succeeded her the following year.

George and I spent a lot of time together my last couple of years at school. One year we drove from Corvallis to Los Angeles to cover the Pac-10 basketball tournament together. On the way south we stopped in Sacramento where his mother lived. She welcomed me in like a long lost member of the family.

His wife Sharon was always welcoming too and kind when I knocked on their door or called at some odd hour. Sharon had an easy smile, quite a contrast to George's almost stoic nature.

George took me out to dinner at a very nice restaurant, The Gables, in Corvallis once. I think it was for my birthday. Somewhere in my collection of photos and mementos I still have a Polaroid picture pasted into a stiff paper cover to commemorate the occasion. I think I'll have to dig that out.

It was funny. On one hand I was George's boss, but in another way, George and his wife Sharon took me under their wing to look out for me and make sure I was OK. They were sort of like, a favorite uncle and aunt in that way. You see George, though an undergraduate at Oregon State, had lived some life before pursuing his degree. He was what we called an "older than average student." Being notoriously bad at guessing people's ages, I never had a good feel for how much older George was, and really it never mattered. He was a good photographer, a good journalist and a friend. That was all I needed to know. As it turns out, I think he would have been somewhere about the age I am now.

One of my great professional regrets involved George and occurred a few years after graduating from college. I had been hired as the editor of a weekly paper in Northeast Oregon. I don't remember how the conversation started, but I had contacted George about the opening. Maybe I was just wondering if he knew anyone that might be interested. But I ended up hiring George, convincing him to move from his longtime home in Albany. Not long after, the newspaper and I parted company. And I felt like I had abandoned and let down a friend. Years later I told George of that great regret, but in his typical fashion he mostly waved it off and let me off the hook.

George was a pretty laid-back guy. Nothing seemed to rattle him or throw him off stride. He could look gruff at times, but if you were lucky enough to see that hint of a smile curl up the corners of his lips, you knew he was a guy with a kind heart. But he was a mysterious man as well. As much time as we spent together talking about photography and philosophy and how to make our little corner of the journalistic world a better place, I didn't truly know the man beneath the mustache so pale it was hard to tell if it was blond or white.

The sad irony is I've thought about George several times since returning to Oregon. We were in touch off and on over the years when I was in California. But I had not been in touch since returning home. Just the other day while stopped at a traffic light, I could have sworn the man in the car next to me was George. He had less hair than I remembered George having, but then again so do I. If it wasn't George, it could easily have been a relative. And he was driving a green pickup-type vehicle. I can't remember the model, but seeing the man behind the wheel and the color of the pickup reminded me so much of this old green import truck George drove when we were in school together. I think it was a Datsun with a camper shell on it. I made a mental note to look up George's phone number when I got home. It seemed a good excuse to call and catch up on some old times.

I guess I got distracted at home and never looked to see if I could find out where he might be, until today. Now I know that wasn't George in the truck next to me. He had already moved on down another road.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Ag Day mixes history with future

So how was Ag Day at the Oregon State Fair?


For those who are interested in agriculture, there was a lot to enjoy.

Some of the special invents included the Century Farm awards, the Oregon Auctioneers Association annual competition, an Ag Day reception for an invitation-only crowd, a professional bull riders event, and more than 20 agricultural business vendors that came with special displays for the day.

One of the highlights was a large Case IH combine and a Caterpillar tractor just outside the main gates inviting people into the state fair and being their last image when they departed.

While unfortunately those curious to see the inside of these great machines were faced with yellow tape to keep them off the steps, kids as well as adults enjoyed the chance to see up close what usually toils hard in the fields.

Holding an Ag Day was a brilliant idea: while during a state fair there is the usual showing of animals and poultry, 4-H and FFA displays and competitions, and awards for everything from huge pumpkins to exquisite quilting patterns, these other events helped to show other sides of American agriculture.

The Century Farm program, held in the Jackman-Long building, involved a ceremony to honor families who have been at least 100 years in Oregon. In the few minutes that sometimes large families gathered on the stage, visitors heard a short version of why these families settled here, how they did it, how they grew and change and adapted to survive until now. What came through was how much they did adapt, how proud these family members are to be on the same homestead, and how important it is to them to know their heritage. This includes the triumphs but also the challenges along the way.

One of the families also mentioned how much they learned and enjoyed researching to know more about their family history when they were preparing their application for the program.

It’s too bad the awards program allowed only a few minutes to be told about each family. Such a rich family history deserves so much more honor and time to share.

However, one of the bright spots was seeing the kids who accompanied parents and grandparents upon the stage. There remains hope that the family farms will continue.

Later in the afternoon was a reception held by the Oregon State Fair Foundation. This was the third and final reception in a series that were held during the state fair, and allowed Dave Koellermeier, the new manager of the Oregon State Fair under the state Parks and Recreation Department, to announce some of the changes that were done for this year. More importantly, he shared his vision for the future, including the themes for the state fair for the next three years.

Kollermeirer’s enthusiasm was infectious to the crowds. He invited them to share with him what changes they thought were needed for the future. He then spent considerable time going table to table, introducing himself to everyone and asking for their feedback.

Combined with the feedback he was receiving from the survey booths he introduced around the fairgrounds this year, each day he could examine the results.

Kollermeirer got a good idea of what people like and don’t like about the fair. Add that he had held several meetings around the state long before the state ran this year, and he presented a good formula to change the trend of declining attendance at the fair. By last night, he was predicting that overall attendance should be up about 10 percent from the year before.
He plans more follow-up meetings in the future.

A farmer himself, Kollermeirer really emphasized bringing agriculture back to being a significant part of the state fair, while still appealing to a more general audience with a variety of entertainment, exhibits and events to attract more people to come, stay longer and spend more money.

One of the events that helped attract people was a chance to watch professional bull riders challenge tough bulls while rock music boomed in the Pavilion. Glancing around at who attended the event, it included a lot of people who had participated in other events earlier in the day either as exhibitors, competitors or spectators. Obviously they felt it was worth it to stay a few extra hours.

One of the people who enjoyed the rodeo event the most was Marcus Morgan, a farmer and auctioneer from the Dalles who won the Oregon auctioneer competition, the first time in his three years of competing that he has won the top award.
For Morgan, it was an extra treat to watch the bucking bulls. Why?

He admitted that in the past he had been a bullrider himself. The highest he ever got in an event was second place, the winner’s buckle eluding him. As he began to near 30 years old, he decided to try earning a buckle a different way: as an auctioneer.

He had a shiny silver buckle and a huge trophy at the end of the day to show his success, while still wearing a silver rodeo buckle from Las Vegas that one of his uncles had given him.

As people left at the end of the day, they saw the last reflections of whirling rides in the windows of the combine, heard a mix of music and chatter, and carried off their large prizes or slipped away with empty pockets.

No matter what they did for the day, they had received at least a glimpse of agriculture and a taste of the roots of the state fair, as well as a hint of where it will go in the future.

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