Kelsy Garton, a Happy Canyon volunteer for more than 20 years, already knows something about the time, dedication and hundreds of volunteers it takes to stage Oregons Official Outdoor Wild West Pageant.
But as one of two newbies on the Happy Canyon board of directors, Garton, owner of Kelsy Garton Tree Service, is discovering he has a lot to learn. The Indian and royalty director, Garton has spent his summer shepherding the two Happy Canyon princesses, Makayla McKay and Chelsey Minthorn, to parades and events around the Northwest.
Garton and his wife, Kristan, act as chaperones and help the princesses care for their regalia, much of which has been handed down for generations. The Gartons two daughters, Aspen, 10, and Sauren, 7, also get in on the fun; theyve been handing out the princesses trading cards along parade routes.
Its fun watching how the princesses start the year and then finish up as a person, he said. They just grow throughout the year. Theyre really talented girls and its pretty fun to hang out with them and take them everywhere.
Tanner Hawkins, the other new director this year, a dryland wheat farmer. As bar and concessions director, Hawkins is in charge of everything beverage-related. He stocks the red Happy Canyon van with Pendleton Whisky before each parade and sets up Goldies Bar at the Canyon for each function. Hawkins also ensures that Happy Canyon complies with the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. This is no easy feat, considering the OLCCs many regulations and all the volunteers who must be trained to serve alcohol.
Hawkins has volunteered at Happy Canyon since he was a youngster. Like many, he started out in the trunk act and moved through several roles.
Its a great board to be on, he said. Theres always something new to learn and its a lot of fun.
Chris Cockburn is the new president of the Happy Canyon Board of Directors. As such, he oversees the general operation of the organization and offers ideas to help it run smoothly. The president is also the spokesperson for Happy Canyon and represents the hundreds of volunteers who make the event a success.
This will be Cockburns ninth year on the board. He previously served as vice president, concessions director and Indian and royalty director. Cockburn is a partner in the accounting firm Fife & Cockburn.
Bob Rosselle, as livestock director, ensures the Happy Canyon Night Show has the required stock and wagons. He also assists the show director with personnel for acts involving animals. Rosselle works on the PBR committee with livestock safety.
Rosselle is serving his eighth year on the board. For his first two years he served as Indian and royalty director. Before that, he was a 20-year cast member in multiple acts, such as the mounted quadrille. Rosselle is a Umatilla County farmer.
Kevin Porter is the policing director. He handles security and parking details of Happy Canyon, including the concert and the U.S. Bank/Pendleton PBR Classic Professional Bull Riding. The policing director often works with the Round-Up security director.
This is Porters seventh year on the board. His first year was as grounds director and his second year was as concessions director. He previously volunteered for 17 years. Porter works in a family-owned farming operation north of Pendleton.
Michael Corey is the director of bands and publicity. As such, he co-chairs the annual concert and U.S. Bank/Pendleton PBR Classic committees. He also is responsible for lining up entertainment and advertising for the Happy Canyon Dance Hall and Goldies Bar at the Canyon after the night show. In conjunction with the Round-Up sponsors director, he also coordinates sponsors for events.
Corey, a 28-year volunteer with Happy Canyon, now is serving his sixth year on the board and is a third-generation director. As a cast member, Corey participated in several acts, such as the trunk act, swim kids and fireman. Corey works as an agent for Wheatland Insurance in Pendleton.
Jason Hill, as show director, is responsible for directing the production of the Happy Canyon Night Show. This involves reviewing the script, coordinating all cast members to ensure all parts are filled, and managing lights, sound and music for the production.
This marks Hills sixth year on the board, but his involvement in Happy Canyon goes back to the age of 5, when he participated in the pageants trunk act. For many years he performed in the Lewis and Clark scene and as the doctor. Hill is a fifth-generation Pendleton-area farmer and a third-generation Happy Canyon director.
Randy Perkins is the games director. He oversees the gaming hall during the week of Happy Canyon. He also schedules and works with 80 volunteers during the week to provide a fun and entertaining environment.
This is Perkins fifth year as a director. In his previous 11 years of volunteer experience, he helped set up and tear down the concert stage. Perkins is a dryland wheat farmer in Athena.
Jerrod JJ Spriet is the Happy Canyon secretary/treasurer and is in charge of financial reporting. He also coordinates the activities of the Pendleton Round-Up/Happy Canyon office staff with the Round-Up secretary/treasurer. Spriet also orders merchandise for sale in the Round-Up and Happy Canyon gift shop.
This is Spriets fourth year on the board. His previous Happy Canyon volunteer experience includes publicity, tickets, ushering and programs, as well as stage setup and tear-down. He works as a financial advisor at Trustime Retirement Plan Specialists, Inc. in Pendleton.
Harper Jones is the properties director and is responsible for securing and maintaining costumes and other items used in the night pageant. Hes also responsible for firearms and pyrotechnics used during the show.
Jones is serving his third year on the board. He is a Pendleton dentist.
Ryan DeGrofft, as grounds director, oversees the repair and maintenance of the Happy Canyon Arena and outbuildings. He meets weekly with a group of volunteers from March through September.
This is DeGroffts third year on the board. He has been a Happy Canyon volunteer for more than 20 years. Hes played several parts, including a swim kid, a miner, part of the Lewis and Clark expedition and the town drunk.
He is the purchasing and contracts manager at Wildhorse Resort and Casino.
Corey Neistadt is the tickets, programs and ushers director. Among other things, he oversees onsite ticket sales and admissions staff. He manages the production, advertising, sales and distribution of the Happy Canyon program. Neistadt also recruits, hires, trains and supervises ushers and coordinates crowd control.
This is Neistadts second year on the board. He previously served as the bar and concessions director. He is a partner in the Pendleton accounting firm Green Newhouse LLC.