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Readers share memories of Border Days

Back in the day...

1938 Border Days Queen Delores Morrow (Padget), Joseph Plains

Credit: Free Press archive
1938 Border Days Queen Delores Morrow (Padget), Joseph Plains

Grangeville Border Days is more than a century old, a staple community event that has fed and entertained generations of residents and their visitors.

“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. We shared many of these in our current Border Days section (available at the Free Press office), but not all we received could fit.

Here are more:

Ann L. Palmer

All of the cowboys calling our house to sign up for the rodeo. Dad was the secretary.

Don Patty Coffman

Claudia Roberts, I remember our family being part of the Border Days Caravan, too! Loved that our dads wore western gear with the ‘bank gang!” One year, Dad grew a goatee and your dad, I believe, had a mustache (and beard?)! Just loved all the beautiful horses. Best part: standing as the Cowboy Band played the Star-Spangled Banner and the Flag passed by!

We loved the street sports and ran hard to win! Those silver dollars were our spending money during Border Days!

Bruce Egbert

There was a gentleman who had moved his family to Mt. Idaho and had been transferred to Grangeville with the natural gas company, whom he worked for. He was unaware of the required cowboy paraphernalia/beard in order to avoid being dunked. When he was confronted by those rounding up the violators, he went into defensive action, thinking he was about to be robbed. He finally capitulated but not before he had inflicted a few bruises on the pursuers of justice. I believe his name was Guy Long.

Eileen Uhlenkott

In 1962 I was named Border Days Queen to reign in 1963! How wonderful that was as Border Days had always been a special rodeo in our family. My Mom was queen in 1941, and my Dad entered roping events and won All Around in 1949. From the winnings he built an arena at our ranch which provided a place for practicing roping and riding for friends and family. My brothers entered roping events...*Border Days was a family affair. We would stay in a cabin or motel unit at the Idaho Motel and spend all three days having fun.

Don Patty Coffman

The Rogers side of the family were so happy when you were chosen Queen, Eileen, following your mom and our mom (Joyce). It was special when you and Mom rode on the BD past queens float for the 100th celebration of Border Days!

Raymona Dawn

Smell of the long dog stand...And watching the fireworks from my deck because the noise was too much for me as a kid. My brothers would wind me up into blanket mummy with my candy from the parade to munch Dad jumping and cussing every time the cannon went off, it is louder on top of the hill.

Gail Stowers

Worked with Mom and Dad then. I remember Dad had a rubber hot dog and played tricks on his special friends.

Eva Grinolds

I liked the trick rider at the rodeo. Donna Parsley is her name now and lives in Kendrick. When I got married she was a neighbor of mine on cedar ridge out of Kendrick.

Rosalie Jessup

I was raised only a block from the rodeo grounds. In the middle of the night, just before Border Days started, I could hear the sounds of Jim McGowans’s rodeo stock being unloaded into the stock pens. Gates slammed. Trucks rumbled. Horses whinnied. Brahma bulls snorted.

Early each morning, I could hear the sound of a large bell being rung off the back of a truck, along with someone on a bull horn inviting all to the Cowboy Breakfast as the truck was driven slowly up and down the streets of Grangeville.

Princesses, queens and cowboys rode their horses past our house on the way to the arena. The clip-clop of hooves and the squeak of saddle leather were music to my ears.

In the evenings, the music of a live band at the armory would drift into my upstairs bedroom window. Sometimes there was whooping and hollering – either a fight had broken out or an especially enjoyable dance song had just ended. I could faintly hear the noises of the carnival rides near Main Street. On the night of the 4th, we watched the firework display and “ooohed” and “aaahed” at the bursts of sound and color.

As each rodeo started – and I was there for most of them over the span of 60 years – the cowboy band played the national anthem while the crowd sang. Seconds after the anthem ended, a cannon blast boomed from the west. It always scared the horses and the newcomers and delighted children of all ages.


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