February 13, 2002 11:00 pm

A long-time leader in cattle ranching, 4-H, the Elgin Stampede and many other Union County activities died early this morning of natural causes.

Dick Hibberd, 92, of Imbler was the grandson of pioneers and a pioneer himself in establishing one of the first registered polled hereford cattle herds in the Rocky Mountain region.

Hibberd was an Imbler High School graduate, grandson of pioneers on the first wagon train to arrive in the Summerville area in 1862. He inherited his grandparents grazing land during the Great Depression, and quickly established the family philosophy of increasing the herd when times were tough and selling when the market was better.

Hibberd married Laurose Hibberd, an Elgin girl, and the couple became founding members of the Elgin Stampede.

He was also involved in the formation of the Imbler Pitchfork Gang 4-H Club and helped for many years with the Eastern Oregon Livestock Show.

A special memory for many 4-H youth for years were the overnight horseback trips Hibberd led through the foothills along the eastern side of the Grande Ronde Valley.

Through the 1950s and 1960s, Hibberd was active in state and national cattle organizations and won numerous prizes at state national cattle shows. He also organized private cattle sales at the family ranch, drawing buyers from as far away as Japan.

Hibberd was honored as Union County Cattleman of the Year in 1954, served as grand marshal of the Elgin Stampede parade, and in 2000 was selected grand marshal of the Eastern Oregon Livestock Show parade, among many other honors given him during his life.

The Hibberds have two daughters, Carrie Bingaman and Mary West. A funeral has yet to be set. Daniels Chapel of the Valley is handling arrangements.

From Observer staff reports