WHITE BIRD Let ‘er Rip with the annual White Bird Days and Rodeo set for Friday and Saturday, June 19 and 20.
Representing the event as this year’s grand marshals are sisters Polly Hollandsworth and Peg Marek. Rodeos are set for Friday night, 6:30 p.m., and Saturday, 5 p.m., all at the arena on U.S. Highway 95 at Twin Bridges, six miles south of town.
When people ask Polly Hollandsworth the secret to being married so long, she is quick to answer.
“We’ve been working together most all our lives; it’s what we’re used to and it works,” she smiled.
Polly and her husband, Lew, worked on cattle ranches on the Snake and Salmon rivers most of their lives. They then settled about halfway between the towns of Cottonwood and Keuterville. Recently, they were back on a ranch on Joseph Plains, and are now on Hammer Creek in White Bird.
“We enjoy working the ranch and building fence,” she smiled.
Hollandsworth said she is happy to be sharing the White Bird Days and Rodeo grand marshal honor with her sister, Peg Marek.
“We have been riding together a lot of years,” Hollandsworth smiled. “And we’re still riding together.”
She was born in Cottonwood and as an infant was brought onto the family’s Snake River ranch by horseback. She later graduated from Cottonwood High School in a class of four.
She and Lew met on the Snake River and were married June 5, 1965.
During their ranch life they not only built “miles and miles of fence,” she said, but also raised a daughter, Becci. Becci is married to Brian Gehring and lives just outside of Cottonwood. She and Brian have three children: Brandi, Bailie and Ben.
The Hollandsworths sold their cattle a few years ago and said they haven’t looked back since.
She spends a lot of her time braiding a variety of pieces including halters, belts, reins and headstalls.
Peggy Johnson Marek is a familiar face in the White Bird area and beyond.
“I grew up on our folks’ Snake River and Joseph Plains cow ranch, along with my brothers, Pete and Tom, and sister, Polly,” she said. “We learned at an early age to love and appreciate everyday ranch life.”
She married Jack Marek in 1972 and they raised four sons, Tom, John, Jim and Bill, in the Winchester and Slate Creek areas. Jack died in 2000 and John was killed in a rodeo accident in 2003.
Marek is active in the Catholic church, the Cattleman’s and Quarter Horse associations.
“The people of this area are probably one of the reasons it’s a great place to live,” she said.
When asked if she is “retired,” Marek says she still continues to do the things she enjoys and has done all her life and has never wanted to do anything different.
“Oh there’s been some bad times,” she said, “But it’s been a good life.”
Marek is grandma to JayCee, Kaci, Cora, Cody, Dalton, Pardner (Jack), Konnyr, Bo and Cole, “along with many others who call me Gramma,” she said.
“I feel really honored to be asked to be co-grand marshal although I was hesitant knowing there were a lot of other people more deserving,” she said. “We’ll try to do a great job and I know we’ll have fun!”