PENDLETON - The Round-Up and Happy Canyon Hall of Fame formally inducted a tribal chief, a longtime doctor and Happy Canyon volunteer, and a flamboyant bronc rider during a banquet Sunday evening at the Red Lion.
Considered a representative of the Cayuse, Chief Jesse Jones Jr. has appeared in public most of his life, Bonnie Sager told the banquet crowd. He was only 17 when asked to go with a contingent of 15 to demonstrate native dances and explain his culture at a Portland celebration of the Oregon Centennial in 1959.
He has participated in activities for youth and has served on the board of trustees for the Tutuilla Presbyterian Church for many years. When the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation lost many of its hereditary chiefs, Jones was supported by the tribal elders and became the Cayuse chief. For 21 years he has accompanied a delegation to the Portland Grand Floral Parade during Rose Festival week.
He has participated in Happy Canyon for many years and is probably best remembered for riding the spotted horse and appearing as the Indian in silhouette. He has also participated in the Round-Up wild horse races, Indian races and arena war dancing. He presides at the Indian dances on Saturday of Round-Up.
Jones, at times moved almost to tears, thanked everyone for the great honor. He remembered fellow inductee Dr. Richard Koch as a friend.
"You might walk up to him a stranger, but you would leave a friend," Jones said. "I will always remember him. He had a good eye for the past and for the future."
Koch first came to Pendleton in 1948 with friends from Oregon State University, Mary Koch, his widow, explained. "He loved Pendleton and loved the Round-Up and knew he wanted to come back."
He served on the Wildhorse Gaming Commission and on the board of the Hall of Fame. As a member of the Pilot Rock City Council, he was the police commissioner and spearheaded a drive to eliminate parking meters in the town.
He worked in the First Aid Room for Round-Up and provided medical coverage at Happy Canyon. He developed a special friendship with the Indians as the Happy Canyon Indian director for eight years and two years as Happy Canyon president.
His greatest pleasure was taking the Indian ladies to dinner or helping them with unexpected expenses, his wife said.
"He was one who made a difference and in response would thank God for the productive life he was given," she said. "He had a special way of getting people to be all they could be. It was instinctive."
Among his honors were Pilot Rock Citizen of the Year and Main Street Cowboys Tenderfoot of the Year.
Sager described him as the "most loved country doctor in Oregon."
The third inductee was the late bronc rider Casey Tibbs.
"Casey Tibbs changed rodeo and the national opinion of rodeo forever," said Jack Sweek, former Hall of Fame inductee and longtime friend of the cowboy. "He was always a crowd favorite ... He rode with his legs stuck out leaning back on his tailbone."
Previously, cowboys hung onto the bronc "for dear life" and rode leaning forward, Sweek said. "He had a thing for purple, drove a purple Cadillac and wore purple shirts with a tie."
Following his retirement, Tibbs acted in TV commercials, Sweek added, but "he was no John Wayne."
While he was suffering from cancer, friends raised $50,000 to put a statue of Tibbs riding the famous horse Necktie in front of the Cowboy Hall of Fame, Sweek said.
Randy Severe played a tribute to Tibbs on his guitar and sang about the South Dakota cowboy, the youngest, at 18, to ever win the bronc title at Cheyenne Frontier Days.
Tibbs won nine championships between 1949 and 1959. He was the World Champion All Around Cowboy in 1951 and 1955. He was saddle bronc champion six times and bareback bronc riding champion once.
"Casey won the hearts of everyone who watched him here," Sweek said.
He won three Round-Up Championships, two in bareback bronc riding in 1950 and 1951 and one saddle bronc title in 1959.