JOSEPH — After a year marked by the cancellation of Chief Joseph Days in 2020 due to COVID-19, Chief Joseph Days officially awarded a triple crown of equal honors to its Honor Court for the 75th Anniversary Chief Joseph Days.
The coronation took place Saturday, April 17, in the CJD Thunder Room.
Casidee Harrod, Brianna Micka and Destiny Wecks will share the role of queen and all other associated duties equally. The three made up the 2020 court, but were never officially crowned. Instead, they agreed to serve as a co-equal honor court, staying on as a court for the 2021 Chief Joseph Days.
They are looking forward to reigning over the rodeo and other festivities July 27 to Aug. 1 in Joseph.
“It’s been really nice,” Harrod said. “It’s been a lot more relaxed, and a lot less stress. It’s fun.”
“We’re really happy to do this,” Micka said. “It’s worked out really well, and we’ve formed some really deep friendships.”
“In normal years,” Wecks said, “we’d have just finished the riding competition. We’d be stressing about, ‘Did I ride hard enough? Did I speak well enough?’ But today, we just got together and we were laughing and listening to music. It’s been fun. We have some great memories.”
While COVID-19 has reduced the number of rodeos across Oregon and the nation for 2021, the court will still represent Chief Joseph Days in a number of events, including upcoming rodeos in Asotin, Washington, April 23-25, and Riggins, Idaho, May 1-2.
“We’re going to try to go to as many rodeos as possible,” Wecks said.
At the coronation ceremony, 2019 CJD Queen Rylee Wilcox joked that she had been the longest reigning queen in CJD history. Because the 2020 CJD Rodeo was canceled, and there was no 2020 coronation, Wilcox’s official title as CJD queen technically remained intact until she bestowed three equal crowns to Harrod, Micka and Wecks on Saturday night.
“This is only the second honor court in the history of Chief Joseph Days,” CJD Board President Terry Jones said. “All three wanted to come back. They didn’t want to have the competition, and they all made sacrifices to be here, especially the seniors, Brianna and Casidee. But next year we’ll go back to a more normal process for the court.”
Lost Prairie-area silversmith Larry Bacon was named the grand marshal of the Chief Joseph Days celebration. Bacon grew up on the family homestead at the far north end of Wallowa County, attending a one-room schoolhouse for elementary grades. He crafted his first pair of spurs at age 13. Although he also crafts bits, buckles and jewelry, he’s best known for making the spurs awarded to the all-around CJD champion for the past 30 years.
Jones recognized retiring board members, including Jeff West, Diane Witherrite, 25-year member Doris Noland and 30-year member Shelley Marshall, and welcomed new board members Teah Jones, Jessie Cunningham and Sara Freels-Tippett.
“Back in this winter, the board decided we had two choices,” Terry Jones told the coronation gathering. “We could either cancel this rodeo for another year, or we could go ahead and take our chances and have Chief Joseph Days in 2021. And that’s what we decided. We’re full-steam ahead.”