PENDLETON - Pendleton Round-Up Princess Tiah Pahl is spending this summer in a far different arena than last summer, when she worked on an engine crew and a hand crew fighting wildland fires for the U.S. Forest Service.
Her brothers led the way as firefighters when they were younger. She, however, is the first in her family to be a member of the rodeo's royal ambassadors.
She has participated in Round-Up events for nearly 10 years. From the time she was able to get up and be at the Round-Up grounds by 5 a.m. with her father, she began spending most of her free time helping in the Indian Village and wherever anyone else needed help. She delivered fresh produce; helped organize the dancers as they entered the arena; organized locations for the teepees and handed out tokens.
She ushered for Happy Canyon for two years and even spent some time holding back the crowd at the east gate where princesses were waiting for their run-in.
She remembers thinking that she could never be a princess because "they were so good," she said.
When it came time to apply for a position on the court, she said, "I saw the court as being a way I could give back to my community and a way to be the ultimate Round-Up volunteer. There is so much to say about how great of a tradition the Round-Up is and how much history there is in our town. Being on the court is a way for me to share that with many more people than I ever could have."
Pahl was surprised to learn that some of her classmates at Oregon State University hadn't heard of the Round-Up and could hardly believe that schools closed for the rodeo.
"Now they want to come," she said. "I love to see our numbers (attendance) go up and see it (the Round-Up) grow. The more people I can tell, the better."
As a princess, she said, she is getting to see behind the scenes of the rodeo, a whole new world to her because she has never participated in rodeo events.
Pahl also enjoys traveling with fellow-court members to events in the Round-Up motor home.
"It's our home away from home," she said. "All of our stuff is there to change and hit the ground running ... the cupboards are stocked with goodies and the fridge always has drinks and lots of Happy Canyon bottled water."
Because this year's court members have all known one another since grade school, she said, they all remember fun stories from when they were young, and enjoy spending time together.
"Round-Up court is not a competition for points," she said. "Everyone just does their best with their own talents. We're all different, so we complement one another. There's no winner or loser because we're a team."
She said she is at her best when she is busy and traveling, so she must have been superb the summer of 2001 because she traveled with a group from Pendleton High School to Haramachi City, Japan for three weeks and one week after returning home left for a three-week trip to Egypt as one of the children's coordinators for a family camp with Good Samaritan Ministries.
In addition to trying on a samurai costume, attending cultural events and touring in Japan, she climbed down inside an Egyptian pyramid, rode a camel and climbed Mt. Sinai. On the way home she was invited for a tour of the airplane's cockpit because she is interested in flying and would eventually like to have a license to pilot small planes.
She has always loved animals, she said. She expresses her concern for animal welfare and lauds the PRCA's proactive approach to animals' well-being.
She participated in horse and livestock 4-H for five years. She said she loved learning about horses and riding. She transferred her sheep projects to FFA when she was in high school.
One of the princess' favorite things to do is to spend time with her nieces and nephew whom she doesn't see enough of because they live in Missouri. Trinity, a 4-year-old niece, likes to "ride" when she visits Pendleton, so the two went out riding every evening during the week of Trinity's visit.
"Her favorite horse is Whiskey who follows me around everywhere," Pahl said. "So she (Trinity) thought she could 'steer,' and told everyone she could ride all by herself."
"When I was old enough to learn about jobs, and that some day I was going to have to grow up and get one I started to cry. I couldn't bear to leave my animals .... Someone then told me I could be an animal doctor. I was all of a sudden excited, I knew I was going to be a veterinarian. The more I learn in school, and the more hands-on experience I get, the more I know that I was born to be a vet."
An internship at the Columbia Basin Agricultural Research Center while she was in high school reinforced her love of science and mathematics. While cleaning roots of decomposed organic matter and soil and sorting them she discovered that she really didn't like plants.
The perfect scores she began receiving on her animal science exams confirmed her decision to become a veterinarian. She enjoyed the seminars she was able to take spring term that provided "real knowledge" that she will be able to use.
She has done volunteer work at the Pendleton Veterinary Clinic and interned at Riverside Veterinary Clinic where she has helped with minor procedures, prepared animals for surgery, sent out bills, made appointments and observed procedures.
During lambing season, when the college hires extra help, she began working in the sheep research barns recording weights and medical care, cleaning pens, feeding and holding animals during research procedures, she said.
"I learned not to run on green grass," she said. "In Corvallis the grass is always wet and it's slippery when it rains."
She "doctors" her own animals when she can, but still relies on licensed veterinarians for the big things.
"People ask me complicated questions about their animals," she said. "I tell them to take them to a vet. I'm not a vet yet, just pre-vet."
Tiah Marie Pahl
Hair: Dark blonde
High School: Graduated Pendleton High School
College: Honors college junior at Oregon State University, Corvallis
Parents: Ron and D-Ann Pahl, Ron is a circuit court judge for Morrow and Umatilla counties and D-Ann works as a media assistant at the Pendleton High School library
Siblings: Sister Danika married to Jason Buchanan; they have three children, 9-year-old Tristan, 4-year-old Trinity and 1-year-old Madisyn. Danika works as a makeup artist. Brother Chris Pahl works as a wildland fire fighter for the U.S. Forest Service and Oliver Pahl is a remote control operator for Union Pacific Railroad.
Paternal grandparents: Beverly Pahl and the late Glen Pahl
Maternal grandparents:Jim and Doloris Barnett
Horse: Jack, a sorrel quarter horse, owned by Betty Jones, and Whiskey, a sorrel quarter horse owned by Rick Barnett.
Her own horse: Knickers is a bay thoroughbred trail horse.
Pets: Schnauzers Carlie and Abe and cats Beau and Hank
Awards: Talons community service award through her sorority, OSU honor roll and dean's list
Activities: Active member of sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma, Pre-Vet Club , Heartland Humane Society pre-vet volunteer, National Society of Collegiate Scholars
Offices: College chairwoman of the education committee for Kappa Kappa Gamma and KKG scholarship committee member
Jobs: This summer she is an unpaid intern for Riverside Veterinary Clinic. Last summer she was a paid firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service and during the school year worked at the OSU Sheep Research Barns. She has driven wheat truck during harvest and worked as a lab technician for the Columbia Basin Agriculture Research Station.
Favorite colors: Blue, pink
Favorite food: Fruit, especially fresh pineapple
Favorite sport: Rodeo and baseball
Favorite song: "Fishing in the Dark"
Favorite movie: "The Princess Bride"
Favorite beverage: Pepsi
Favorite thing to do: Ride her horse bareback
Favorite PRCA cowboy: "I don't have a favorite. I just cheer for them all," she said.
What would you like to say in print that no one has asked you? "I'd like to thank the Round-Up Board for this wonderful opportunity, and for such a memorable year. I'd also like to thank my parents and my aunt and uncle, June and Steve Mohrland, and the rest of my family for all their help and support. I couldn't have done it without all of them."