Leaving Elgin with pleasant memories of Stampede

July 28, 2011 07:22 pm

After the long weekend at St. Paul, it was great to have a week to recover. Brinda, our chaperone, had talked to us beforehand about the possibility of going to Elgin two nights: the Mark Nichols Memorial Bull Riding Night and the Sunday Performance.

Once Friday came along, we packed our bags, which were significantly smaller since we left the horses at home, and sat tight while the van wound through the canyon to Elgin. As we walked through the vendor booths, we came across Craig Nichols, Liza Jane Nichols and Adele Nash. Mark Nichols was Craig’s son, a talented bull rider who passed away in a tragic car accident. Their family represented Mark, and Craig paid tribute by singing the National Anthem. It was great to see them on this special night.

Once the bull riding started, we sat and watched for a while. Eventually, we left the stands to plaster the children with stickers and promote Chief Joseph Days. We returned to the stands to watch the final round before heading back to Enterprise. The rodeo clown shot T-shirts to the stands as the bull riders drew for their bulls. I had my eye on a shirt, but they never came within range. Bummer.

On Sunday, we returned to Elgin for the parade, Queen’s Luncheon and Grand Entry. While we waited for the parade to start, we recorded radio spots for Union County. After recording, we mounted our horses and mingled with the CJD directors who followed us in the parade. The parade route wove through the streets of Elgin. There was a great contrast between this parade and the huge St. Paul parade. The Queen’s Luncheon followed thereafter.

The run-ins during the rodeo went really well! After settling ourselves in the stands, the clown started shooting the T-shirt cannon again. I was determined to claim one. Princess Brooke Greenshields and I stood on the fence and waved our arms, screaming at the clown to send one our way. He shot one towards the fence; the little kids and I strained to grab it through the bars, but it was just far enough that we couldn’t reach. I hopped the fence and claimed the extra large, Pendleton T-shirt. Wahoo!

My first experience at the Elgin Stampede was very positive — it is a great little rodeo. Seeing people I knew in the stands was also a plus. I guess it gives a taste to what Chief Joseph Days will be like with so many familiar faces in the stands. So excited!

Silje Christoffersen is the Chief Joseph Days queen. She is submitting occasional columns about her experiences to The Observer.