Rodeo’s royal past meets present

<p>Patty Boyd, a princess on the Heppner rodeo court in 1940, greets Happy Canyon Princess Marissa Baumgartner as Princess Jory Spencer looks on Wednesday at Juniper House in Pendleton.</p>

Seven decades of rodeo history criss-crossed Wednesday morning when 1940 Heppner Rodeo princess Patty Boyd met the 2014 Round-Up and Happy Canyon courts at an honorary barbecue in Pendleton.

The event was hosted by the Main Street Cowboys at the Juniper House assisted living home where Boyd lives.

“I’m glad to be here,” said Boyd, 91, smiling and leaning on her daughter Sandra’s arm for extra support as she greeted the new generation of Western royalty.

Boyd was born in Pendleton and raised on a family ranch outside of Heppner. She graduated from Heppner High School in 1940 at the age of 17, and served as a Heppner Rodeo princess for one unforgettable summer.

Boyd remembers her time on the court as a blur of rodeos, dances, parades and special gatherings, many with the Pendleton Round-Up court who share a sister relationship with the Heppner court.

“She’s carried it for all her life,” said Sandra Boyd of her mother’s experience on the court.

Round-Up is an important facet of Boyd’s life. She attended the rodeo dozens of years in a row when she was younger. Recently, she has been content to watch the Westward Ho! Parade, one of her favorite aspects of the annual festivities.

The new court was glad to visit their 1940 counterpart.

Happy Canyon Princess Jory Spencer said the court rarely meets royalty from as far back as Boyd’s generation, even though they travel to roughly 28 events per summer month. “She’s definitely a special case,” said Spencer, 20.

Princess Marissa Baumgartner, 19, said meeting key figures in Round-Up has been busy but exciting.

“Each event we go to, it gives us a chance to connect with our community,” said Baumgartner.

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Contact Patrick Mulvihill at pmulvihill@eastoregonian.com/

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