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Border Days 2018: Memories of Border Days recalled by readers

The Border Days Rodeo Arena flag is a memory many people have of days-past that still flies at each rodeo.

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The Border Days Rodeo Arena flag is a memory many people have of days-past that still flies at each rodeo.

GRANGEVILLE — Grangeville Border Days is more than a century old, a staple community event that has fed and entertained generations of residents and their visitors. Much has changed since that first event in September 1912 when cowboys raced down Main Street, discharging six-shooters and feats of skill included a miners’ competition of drilling granite, but others have remained staples such as the downtown parade, and the western rodeo. “What’s your best memory of Border Days? The Free Press asked this question on social media, and we received a great response of those recalling events, incidents and personal moments. Here’s a section of those recollections.


During the Kiddie Parade in 1984, The Jailbirds won the grand prize. An enthusiastic Chance Irvin is shown pulling his bearded brother, Christian, and cousins Brian and Cory Stowers during the parade.

Steve Cox: “Large American flag at the rodeo, and the street sports.”

Aneta Keller:“The Indians in the parade.”

Debi Moody: “When I got to ride on a float (for the A&F store I think, about 1955 or 1956) and I got to meet Cliff Carl! He had a kids TV show and was a yodeler . I can still see him grab my boot and give it a tug, ha, hah.”

Kathy Pfeffer-Camyn: “Wheeler’s Hot Dog stand in the ’50s. It was right in front of my dad’s store (Peff’s Western Outfitters). The smells were the best.”

Penny Bennett Casey: “The ping pong drop from the airplane.”

Debbie Graves Howell: “Marching band that really marched in the parade and dodging all the horse piles!”

Peggy Williamson: “Greased pig chase! Street sports, seeing who came to town.”

Gail Stowers:“I remember 1969 or ’70. The greased pig ran into the Pioneer bar did all the little kids.”

Peggy Williamson: “I know, great times. Seems like Dale McCall caught the pig one year .”


These little ones meet and visit at the popular Grangeville Volunteer Fire Department fish pond set up at Heritage Square.

Sonya Asker Felix: “Getting together with local family...Anne and Louie Reidhaar and Phil and Norma Bruegeman.”

Suzanne Williams: “Riding in the parade for the first time when I was 9 on my horse, Lady, with Mugs Bentley riding beside me. Also falling asleep with the carnival music playing “Good Night Irene” drifting across our town.”

Linda Burton Wilcox:“The parade and feeling the vibration of the drums inside me. Also, the horses and Indians riding in the parade. Such wonderful memories!”

Jan Waite: “Riding the ponies when there was a carnival as part of celebration and Wheeler’s hot dogs.”

Helen Brown: “I personally loved all the horses in parade...and rodeo.”

Connie Grainger: “The street bands, being able to hang out, listen to music with friends and family.”

Betty Essary: “Long dog stand, huge flag at rodeo. All of it.”

Sandy Downing: “Playing my piccolo in the BD Band for several years in early ’50s. Trying to remember who was queen in ’55.”

Joanie Dean Parker: “Sandy, I believe it was Pat Rooke, then Diane Olmsted, ’56, then I was in ’57!”

Julie Wassmuth Tverdy: “The parade with a live marching band. I wish the band would still be a part of it!”

Nancy Altman Ford:“The original Wheeler Long Dog Stand — The combo of purple cabbage, white onions, and crackle grilled skin on long dog was magical. The Wheeler hospitality still is hard to beat! I loved it when there were many decorated floats representing local businesses and organizations! I can still hear the fluttering fringe as the floats glided down the street.”

Maureen Gortsema Randall: “So many good memories. Long dog stand, parade with actual floats, rodeo, the royalty caravan through all the towns. I liked it when there were a lot of gals vying girls for queen. And how come there aren’t carnivals anymore?”

Nancy Smith: “Rodeo and long dogs.”

Deborah Eimers: “Cowboy Breakfast. Parade. Rodeo. Fireworks.”

Larry and Britta Whitcomb: “I love seeing all the people you haven’t seen in years, seems like at one time or another , former Grangevilleites return during Border Days.”

MaryAnn Foltz: “My brother, Doug, owned the Pioneer Bar and was responsible for that pig running amuck! The owners of several stores were more than upset when a greased pig with hundreds of kids trying to catch it ran through their stores. You can only imagine! What a great place!”


The Border Days Super Egg Toss draws more than 1,000 people to the streets of Grangeville — and some years triple that — to toss an egg and win the coveted trophy and $20 prize. This takes place each morning shortly after the 9 a.m. foot races.

Jerry Cash: “I was riding in the CC-BAR-O Riding Club along with my Grandpa, Walter Cash, and my Uncle Gary Cash. As we approached the intersection where the Coffee Cup & Post Office were located, someone threw a firecracker into the street under the horse Gary was riding, causing his horse to go nuts. Gary rode him ‘til the horse reared over backwards landing on and crushing a baby carriage. Fortunately, no baby was in the carriage. Outside of scrapes and bruises, Gary was unscathed.”

Susan Lathrom Smith: “Playing in the Cowboy Band.”

Jackie Edwards: “Seeing my grandmother , Blanche Howard, riding her horse, Banjo, in the parade.”

Pamela Rae Richardson: “All of it was so exciting and there was so much to do and see, and the people who came and just sat on the street visiting while music was playing, and people were just having fun. Miss the good ol’ days.”

Mary Boyd: “And as I recall, you could see the parade six times. ...three days coming and going! The dances were fun!”

Sue Miner Cummings: “Walking with other Camp Fire girls.”

Bruce Egbert: “Stan Glover and I were working for Fred and Jim Jessup the summer of 1962, putting up silage. We happened to engage in some carnival rides and hot dogs that Maureen had previously mentioned. Got food poisoning.... couldn’t stand the smell of silage or hot dogs for the next 20 years…. Do you remember after one of the parades that George Denim received a speeding ticket from Chief Whitcomb for racing his horse down the street in a reckless manner ...years later when I was going back to New York to live, I ran into George Denim somewhere in Wyoming and reminded him of the incident.”

Dory Lohrey-Birch: “What I remember most are the cowboy breakfast, the egg toss, dances at the armory and, of course, the rodeo.”

Cindy Ruark Rawhide: “Many. Frank Hill’s ping pong drop, grease pig and greased pole contests. Those cute little loaves of Wonder Bread. My best memory is when the Shriners came to town and brought their burros. The Masons would ride them in the parade, my Dad an experienced bareback rider would always ask for the nastiest burro. Fun to watch it buck and his feet dragging the ground. What about the parade being two routes? Up Main and down Main. Dodging horse poop.”

Robbi Trottier: “Street dances. It was fun for the entire family.”

Kenn Junes: “Little Wonder Breads and 76 antenna balls.”

Scott Bayot Harvey: “Cindy, I almost forgot about the plane dropping the ping pong balls. One time there was a strong wind and instead of hitting downtown they went north of the library and us kids chased them down.”

Garth Eimers: “I rode in this parade with CC-O group.”

Lonnie Hazelbaker: “I also remember going after the flag after fireworks at the rodeo! Actually was able to get one in the vacant lot next to Lindsley’s house, one year!”

Shirley Hill: “The carnival —way back when we got a good carnival. Roller coaster , Ferris wheel, octopus, cup and saucer , games galore! Nothing like it now.”

Claudia Roberts:“A week or two before the Fourth of July celebration started, the cowboy band would get into several cars and they would caravan to the local towns. They’d go to Cottonwood in Esper’s and Craigmont and Harpster and Stites and Kooskia. My dad was in that band and I remember him going on this trip on a Saturday that was a big kickoff. And, of course, during the celebration, you had to dress like a cowboy or cowgirl. There would be a water trough in front of the show house, and businessmen were put in the water trough if they hadn’t grown a beard or were not dressed in cowboy gear! Just one of the many memories of how it used to be.”

Larry and Britta Whitcomb: “Wow, forgot about the dunk tank. You had to have a shave permit from the Jaycees if you were clean shaven. My Dad was Chief of Police in the sixties, and failed to purchase his shave permit. Jaycees picked him up and dunked him, which was all fine and good, but he had his pistol, wallet, and leather on, ticket book, notebook. He would have appreciated if he would have been given the opportunity to remove sensitive items first.”


Jean Cash: “Remember seeing it from across the street. Was before I met Gary. Gary was a good rider , had to ride to school all year in the country.”

Jerry Cash: “Yup, and most of the time he rode Angel, a white mare his Uncle Manford Cash caught as a wild colt on the Nespelam Indian Reservation. I remember riding to school with him a number of times. I especially remember one trip during winter . The snow was so deep one could not see the fences. The snow was so crusted and frozen we rode from the ranch straight to the school, right over the fences.”

Carrie Coen: “The Nez Perce Tribe would bring their Appaloosa horses and have riders in full regalia. They would use painted handprints on their flanks as decoration. Very impressive!”

W . Richard Shissler: “I remember the rodeo in 1948. Fantastic!”

Eldene Wasem:“We were a large family, so money was rationed. We all received a roll of nickels and we could spend it as we wished. We learned to stretch it as far as we could. Carnival rides, cotton candy and always the creamery’s five-cent ice cream cone. I loved seeing the Indians in all their fancy dress. It made a beautiful parade.”

Shirley Stark: “Border Days is special to me because my Grandpa, Len Earp, my Uncle Archie Earp, my Dad, Cliff Wren, were all grand marshals and I was queen. It’s a family thing!”

Daniel Martin: “A bunch of us kids running out into the rodeo arena to do a skit with the rodeo clowns.”

Shirley Heartburg: “The year my husband, Jack Heartburg, was Jaycee president -1964. The float depicted a ‘poker game.’ They actually played cards during the parade!”

Ron Frieze: “Drinking Tequila with Jerry Profit.”

Joseph Jacob Hazelbaker: “My greatest memories of the Fourth of July are from July 4th, 1986. It was 85 degrees and sunny and then we got three feet of snow.”


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