The Happy Canyon stockholders elected Jerrod Spriet - better known by his radio name, "J.J. Ford" - as the pageant's newest director.

Spriet will take over the grounds director position from retiring director Jim Naughton Jr.

Spriet is the operations manager for Capps Broadcasting Group and also hosts the morning radio show on KUMA-AM.

Though he commonly goes by his radio name, Spriet said his Happy Canyon badge will boast his given name.

Spriet has made a name for himself with Round-Up and Happy Canyon, too.

He's assisted the two organizations' publicity directors as a paid and volunteer media specialist for the past five years. Though he's not sure how things will play out now that he's a Happy Canyon's grounds director, Spriet said he'd like to continue his work with publicity.

Spriet has filled many volunteer roles with Happy Canyon, including working with tickets, ushers, programs and concert stage set-up and tear-down.

Spriet grew up in Baker City. He credited his grandfather for his love of Happy Canyon and Round-Up.

"When I was a kid, my granddad used to take us and bring us to the Round-Up," he said. "And, if we had time, Happy Canyon."

Spriet said it was his grandfather's guidance that led him to work with both organizations.

"I'm not sure how his love for it started but it certainly passed along to myself, my brother and my sister," Spriet said. "When we moved here I just wanted to get involved."

Spriet said his grandfather still comes to Round-Up every year, enjoying events such as the Westward Ho! Parade - though most days Spriet said his grandfather can't stay late enough for Happy Canyon before he has to head back to Baker City.

The new director has lived in Pendleton for nearly 14 years and has been a proud volunteer with both Happy Canyon and Round-Up. And he said it's not too difficult to balance the two.

"If someone's willing to help, you can find a way to be a part of both," he said.

Spriet said the next year will give him a better idea of how his volunteerism will fit in with his new director's role.

As far as goals, Spriet said he only hopes to pull his weight.

"Just to contribute - I just want to do a good job this first year and hopefully continue the Happy Canyon success to the best of my ability," he said.

Publicity Director Chris Cockburn said the board is looking forward to Spriet's contribution.

"We are very excited to have someone like J.J. come on to our board," Cockburn said. "He has volunteered for Happy Canyon and Round-Up for a number of years and has been actively involved in the community since he's lived here."

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