Mock train robbery promotes Stampede Rodeo

June 25, 2012 12:00 am

By Trish Yerges


ELGIN —  The Stampeders’ Train Robbery excursion train rolled out of Elgin to Minam last Saturday at 10 a.m. on the Two Rivers trip only to be held up by a gang of bandits in a mock train robbery to promote the Elgin Stampede PRCA Rodeo July 12-15.

The Stampeders’ cast of train robbery characters included ring-leader Stella Rose played by Stampeder Therese Wiles, Constable Bill Ledbetter, the deputy Bailey Wilhelm, the parson Bud Scoubes and his daughters Lara Moore and Erin Scoubes as the singing saloon girls named Lilly and Daisy.

Just days prior to the train’s departure from Elgin, posters appeared all around town declaring the capture of Stella Rose after a two-year search for “the wicked bandit whose gang has terrorized Union county and surrounding areas.”  

She was under careful guard, being escorted by lawmen on the train to jail, but her loyal gang members had other plans.

The passengers played along as bandits demanded that they surrender all their costume jewelry and valueables over to them.  The
bandits went through the cars stripping the plastic wealth from the passengers. 

All part of the spoof and fun, this special event excursion train not only promoted the Elgin Stampede but is the first train of the regular season under its new operators, the Rocky Mountain Railway and Mining Museum, a non-profit corporation doing business as the Wallowa Union Scenic Railway. 

Formerly called the Eagle Cap Excursion Train, the Wallowa Union Scenic Railway will be operating excursion trains from Elgin every Saturday from June 30 to October 27 with the exception of July 14, said Dodson.

The 1905 red caboose which arrived to Elgin this past week will be a regular feature on the trains departing from Elgin  this season. 

“Part of the back end of the caboose is open,” said Dodson, “so there will be room for 12 people in the caboose.  They pay a little bit more to have that special attention and be on the caboose.  They can get seats on the caboose as a group of (12) people or as individuals.”

The annual Stampeders’ Train Robbery excursion is popular among tourists.  Marketing and media coordinator for the WUSR, Janet Dodson, said that Alegre Travel of La Grande booked seats on this train for passengers from Tri-Cities, Portland, Idaho, California, Walla Walla and a motorcoach full of passengers from Canada.  

While passengers were being amused by the robbery, the Elgin Stampeders got to show off their horsemanship and invite everyone to the 66th annual Elgin Stampede Rodeo. 

The rodeo fun begins at Family Night July 12 and is followed by a weekend of rodeo performances, bull
riding, the Stampede
Challenge, parades, dances and concessions at Chute 9.  

The Stampeders invite all to be present for the introduction of the grand marshal Linda Moore and for the queen’s coronation. 

To purchase tickets to the rodeo call court princesses Jessica Bottger at 541-786-0900 or Felicity Hicks at 541-805-1110.