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Observer 11/24/14

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RETURNING HOME TO ELGIN

Jack Pruett ().
Jack Pruett ().

By Raenelle Kwock

Observer Staff Writer

Home is a place where one feels secure and comfortable. The Elgin Stampede grand marshal feels these sentiments in two states – Idaho and Oregon.

An Idahoan or an Oregonian … "depends on where I'm at, at the time," Jack Pruett chuckled in a phone interview from Glenns Ferry, Idaho.

Pruett and wife, Chella, have lived in Glenns Ferry since about 1982. The Pruetts were raised in Glenns Ferry, but Jack moved to La Grande, where foster parents raised him. Pruett was a member of the Elgin Stampede Club. The Pruetts managed the feedlot in Elgin.

Jack also took part in building the stagecoach, which he said was the mascot of the Stampede.

Jack has been away from Elgin for a long time, so he found it odd that he was chosen for this year's honor.

"Oh, I was quite surprised and also, I thought, well, there's a lot of people that are more deserving than I. … That was kind of odd … picking me," he said. "I don't know if I deserve it; it's hard to turn it down when it's offered to you, too."

Jack has loved animals from a young age and "I can understand animals a little better than I can understand people," he said, laughing.

Horses in Elgin prompted the Pruetts to move.

"When we moved there, horses were our love and our kids' love," Chella said.

The Pruetts have three children and four grandchildren. Their daughter was a previous Stampede queen.

Jack was drafted into the Army in 1957 and stayed two years.

"I didn't stay any longer than I had to," he said.

Jack joined the National Guard after his stint in the Army. After being in the guard, Jack wanted to move back to Idaho to buy a cattle ranch. He did not buy a ranch; instead, he became interested in the construction business alongside his son.

Son, Vance, lived in La Grande and Boise before moving to Glenns Ferry.

"It's (construction) very well-needed here," Chella said of the town similar in size to Elgin.

J&V Construction has been responsible for building and remodeling homes, a winery, concrete work and a mini-mart in Glenns Ferry.

"We just did just about whatever the town demanded of us," Chella said.

Jack left J&V in 1997 and works part-time at Worldwide Equine, a horse dentistry business. He works in the construction division.

Elgin has "good people," he said about coming back this weekend.

An example of this is a child who once went missing on a trail ride, he said.

The ride was cut short, as everyone went out looking until dark, he recalled. They found the child and continued the trail.

He thought it was neat to cancel everything to find that child.

The rodeo itself was hard work, Jack said. Keeping the grounds presentable and building a stagecoach were important. Five people were responsible for the stagecoach, but a lot more people contributed, he said.

So when the Pruetts drive three hours to Elgin Friday, Jack will again be an Oregonian.

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