The Pendleton Relay for Life was a resounding success, raising almost $40,000. Organizers report that at last count the total raised was $37,574.48, with more pledges still coming in. The top team was Top to Bottom, raising $3,728.97. Washington Elementary's team took second with $3,361.97 in pledges, and the third place team was Schools Plus Credit Union with $3,217.87.
The top youth team was Rhythmic Mode, the Pendleton High School dance tam, which raised $532.75. Among those donating their time were the Little McKay Creek Band, Bill Mayclin, Randy Thomas, Harper Jones and Michael Telfer who performed when the luminaries were lit, the Junior Jam dance groups, Jim and Ryan Preston, Mark and Marla Royal and County Commissioner Bill Hansell.
The dunk tank was a popular event, with Dale Freeman and Curt Thompson of Pendleton High School and retired County Commissioner Emile Holeman getting wet for a good cause.
The ambassadors this year were Pete Wells and the family of the late Lance Jones, including his wife, Mary Lee Jones.
Boy Scouts from Troops 700 and 770 presented the colors for both the opening and closing ceremonies. Armand Minthorn of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation gave the opening prayer. Also, Cara Wendal and an anonymous party donated their hair to Locks of Love.
A new part of the relay, the Mr. Relay Contest, featuring men in gowns raised $250. There were a total of 23 adult teams and 14 youth teams. Three hundred luminaries were put along the track and 62 survivors of cancer participated in the walk.
The Relay got another boost before the 450 walkers took to the track. Fundraisers were held by Big Steve and the Train Wreck and Whistler's Pub.