Name: Virginia Corinne Conner
Currently living in: Pendleton
High school: Pendleton High School, graduated in 2015
Tribal membership: Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. I am also a Nez Perce descendant.
High school sports and activities: I participated in the PHS varsity swim team for four years, I was a member of the CTUIR Youth Leadership Council (three years as secretary and one year as chair). I also was on the Native American board of representatives for PHS (two years as secretary and two years as vice-chair).
College: I plan on attending Blue Mountain Community College in the fall to obtain an Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer degree. Then I will transfer to a four-year university to major in business marketing.
Current occupation and goals: I am a cashier at Dave’s Chevron. I would love to use my business degree as a sales marketer for Nike.
Past Round-Up or Happy Canyon volunteer involvement: I have been involved in Happy Canyon since I was a toddler and a child in the Indian Village. As I’ve grown, I have shared the part of the Indian bride and became a horseback rider in the Indian scenes. I participate in the Indian intermission during Pendleton Round-Up as a dancer and as a contender in the American Indian Beauty Pageant.
Community or volunteer experiences: I have been involved with our tribal picnics in booths and often clean up. I have helped with community powwows. I try my best to stay involved while working and serving as a princess this year.
Parents: Kristen Conner, Pendleton and Happy Canyon participation since her early ages and a Goldie’s volunteer since 2010, and Kevin Blueback.
Family involvement in Round-Up or Happy Canyon: My whole family has participated in Happy Canyon since 1923. I have multiple aunts and cousins who are past Happy Canyon princesses and beauty pageant winners.
Favorite rodeo (other than Round-Up): Chief Joseph Days because it is very similar to Round-Up. It’s filled with great times and good memories and the beautiful Wallowa Lake.
Favorite Round-Up tradition: Teepee set-up; I love when the family gets together and uses their teamwork to get something done before it starts to get too hot. We have done it since I was little and it’s something that I look forward to every year.
History with horses: I started riding horses at the early age of 10. My involvement didn’t become more serious until I moved to Pendleton and got to know my aunty Bobbie more. She owns and maintains the beautiful horses that I have the awesome opportunity of using throughout this year. Roanie, the red roan that has carried me through many parades and many walk-throughs in the Pendleton Round-Up Arena, has been an active member of the Happy Canyon show as well as many of Bobbie’s horses. They’re very well trained to the loud noises and perfect for the parts of ride-ins and raids.
Why did you want to be on the court: It is something that has been in our family for years. I have watched so many of my cousins year after year and I knew that some day it would be my turn. I’m so very glad I applied because it’s a year that I will remember for the rest of my life.
Best part of the court experience: I enjoy every trip, whether it’s just a small one to a local parade or long trips like Cheyenne. I love it because I get to spend time with the Round-Up court and my chaperones, who have become so close to us. I look forward to spending more time with them and getting to grow.
Favorite memory of Round-Up: Getting to watch the courts run in. It’s a thing that every little girl, to teenage girl, to young adult loves to watch. I remember always running through the Teepee Village and to be in a good place to watch those girls run full speed around the track. It’s truly an amazing thing!