PENDLETON - The Happy Canyon Board of Directors has chosen the fire chief of the Tribal Fire Department on the Umatilla Indian Reservation as its newest member.

Rob Burnside is the first American Indian to be named to the board. He will be director of properties for the Happy Canyon Night Show.

Burnside was born in Hermiston and moved with his family to Pendleton at a young age. He attended West Hills Elementary School, St. Joseph's Academy and Pendleton High School. He was a member of the Happy Canyon cast as a child and has worked as a Happy Canyon volunteer for several years.

"I can't tell you how excited I am to have Rob as a director," said Happy Canyon Director Douglas Corey. "He will help us in so many ways. Rob is the first Native American to be on the Happy Canyon board, but he was taken because of the person he is. He's very smart and he will help bring the show to the next level in his position dealing with props and costumes. I'm thrilled to have him on the board."

Burnside said he had observed Happy Canyon "since I was a kid. I'm excited to be a part of it. Now, knowing even more just how much work goes into it, I'm glad that I'm able to help."

The new director hasn't given much thought to any changes he can bring to the show.

"It's all so new right now," he said. "I want to sit down and find out what the job entails before I start planning changes."

Burnside and his wife, Ann, live in Pendleton with their twin sons, Darren and Kyle, who attend Sunridge Middle School. Their daughter, former Happy Canyon Princess Tara Burnside, is in her second year at Oregon State University.

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