Cowboys and Cowgirls converge in Conrad for 70th Whoop-Up


GRAND MARSHALS  — Jake and Martha Egeler have been selected to be the Grand Marshals of the Big Parade on Saturday as part of the Conrad Lions Club 70th Whoop-Up Trail Days Celebration. I-O Photo by Buck Traxler



By Buck Traxler, I-O Editor

If just for this weekend, lets have some of the sun’s rays beam down for the weekend in Conrad.

As if the whole world didn’t already know, the Conrad Lions Club will be hosting their 70th annual Whoop-Up Trail Days Celebration on June 5-6.

Leading into a weekend of incredible rodeo and fun filled activities to occupy the entire family, the Ringling Five band, sponsored by the Pondera Arts Council (PAC) is making their second gig here at the Orpheum Theatre/Wiegand Auditorium.

They open the doors to Whoop-Up with two shows of cowboy music, jokes and stories on June 3.

They will hit the stage at 6-8 p.m.

Friday morning the golfers occupy the scene for the fourth annual Whoop-Up four person scramble at the Pondera Golf Club.

The entry fee is $40 and includes  a breakfast, lunch and lots and lots of prizes. Players will get off the tee box at 10 a.m. Contact Terri Jo Fitzgerald at 278-3402 to register or for more information.

The PGC is also the place to be for the rodeo Calcutta, 7 p.m. on the 4th and then on June 5 for the KSEN/Colgate Country Showdown starting at 7 p.m.

Who knows, you just might be watching a future Garth Brooks. You’ll want to check this out.

Saturday morning, 7 a.m., be sure and start your day at the Lions Club free ham and pancake breakfast in the Meadowlark School multi-purpose room at 17 3rd Ave. SW.

The short cakes will start coming off the griddle, expertly prepared by Lion President Dan Wilcox and Ray Stoetzel. Grab the kids and, “Come on down!”

The breakfast is one of the major social gatherings of the year and something you do not want to miss. Please note, outside groups take note; there is NO soliciting here.

The breakfast leads right into the Pondera Medical Center’s 5K Run and 1-Mile Walk.

The race begins and ends in front the Pondera County Courthouse at 20 4th Ave. SW. You can still register the morning of the race or pre-register by sending in entry form found on page 14 of the May 27 issue of The I-O, or by going to the PMC at 805 S. Sunset. Ask for Charlene Bouma or call her at 271-3211.

The Children’s Parade, hosted by the Conrad Area Chamber of Commerce gets into gear at 9:30 a.m. from in front of the Meadowlark School. Parade assembly is at 9 a.m. Make sure you are on time.

There are divisions for Best Costume, Best Pet, Best Entry on Wheels (not bikes) and Best Bikes.

Award ribbons are sponsored by 1st Liberty Federal Credit Union and everyone gets a special award just for participating in the parade, doesn’t get much better than that.

Kids will march down Main St. to Seventh Ave and disband at the Conrad Lions Swimming Pool Park where treats will be provided.

For more information contact Letha Ashworth at the CofC office, 271-7791.

Then hold on to your hats, the main parade, led by Jake and Martha Egeler as the Grand Marshals’ will be coming down the street at 10:30 a.m.

Jake  is originally from Clyde Park and came to Conrad in 1959. He was the Deputy Director of the ASC for 35 years and a farmer before that.

Martha, originally from Illinois, worked at the old JC Penney store and was a cocktail waitress at the Conrad Hotel.

The couple has two sons, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Both volunteered their time at the local Food Pantry from 1983 up to last year. Martha admits to being close to 90, (July 3) and is looking forward to leading the Whoop-Up parade.

The biggest little parade in northcentral Montana will feature a multitude of floats, horses, clowns, hopefully a band or two, lots of farm equipment, machinery, antique and classic cars and anyone else who wants to strut their stuff.

Judging for the entries begins at 9:30 a.m. sharp. Floats and groups will assemble on the east county road along the baseball fields, bands and such should go to the first parking lot on the north side of the fields. Cars should assemble on the west side of Iowa St. and machinery on the west side at the corner of 8th Ave.

The parade will go down Seventh Ave. to Main St. and go to Second Ave. S. and move up to Sunset Blvd. and disband just past the PMC.

The parade route has been established to accommodate the residents of the Horizon Lodge and PMC-Extended Care Unit.

For more information, contact Ashworth at the CofC.
In conjunction with Whoop-Up is the fourth annual Rhubarb Festival which takes place on Main. St.

There will be vendors lining Main. St. who will be selling woodworking items, hand woven baskets, handmade horse hair gifts, all sorts of jewelry and much, much more. Take a look around, you can get a neat jump on your Christmas shopping in June. Is this great or what?

But this is more than vendors, it is contests for the best Rhubarb pies and the biggest rhubarb leaf.

Last year, pies, all containing rhubarb included cheese cakes, orange, strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, caramel, and custard.

Get some rhubarb and let the imagination go wild!

You need to have your “big leaf” and pie in the Rhubarb headquarters between 9 a.m. and noon for judging. Your pie needs to be at least 50 percent rhubarb and you need to have the recipe attached to the pie. The Rhubarb Festival folks have baked 103 pies that will be for sale. The proceeds will go to upgrade movie projection equipment to digital and 3-D.

For more rhubarb information contact Kit Finlayson at 271-3331.

There are a few changes and news things going on with the Lions and the rodeo.

For one, the Stick Horse rodeo for younger cowboys and cowgirls has been moved from town to the rodeo grounds and will take place about 12:30 p.m. Contact Robert Rohrer at 278-5756 for more information.

Young Buckaroos can still sign up for the sheep ridin’, mutton bustin’ event at Gustafson Law Offices at 400 S. Main St., Suite 101 or call 278-7521.

There is no entry fee for the riders but youngsters must weigh under 50 pounds.

Each day of the rodeo will also feature steer riders between the ages of 8-13 and they will jackpot their $10 entry to be awarded after the Sunday performance. You need to have the required entry blank with attached release signed by both parents.

This year there will be other vendors at the rodeo grounds as well.

Lisa Schmidt and Steve Hutton will have grass-fed beef and kabobs for you to munch on. John Wetham will have California Hot Sticks, shaved ice and a variety of other foods to try out. Pat O’Brien of High Plains Concessions will be dishing up Bourbon chicken skewers for your delight.

Diane Morris will be selling all kinds of jewelry and there will be an individual selling “fry bread” in town on Saturday and Sunday at the rodeo grounds.

And while not selling food, there will be a vendor who is going to set up a bunji jumping apparatus, have spray-on tattoos and a human gyro set up.

The rodeo gates open at 11:30 a.m. and the real action begins at 1 p.m. with livestock coming, of course, from Jacobs Livestock. His bucking horses and bulls are rested up and ready to go up against some of the best Cowboys in the area.

The Whoop-Up Rodeo is associated with the Northern Rodeo Association (NRA) and once more is being designated as a “Bonus Bucks Rodeo” meaning the NRA will add $1,000 in prize money.

In addition the rodeo will be co-sponsored with the United Indian Rodeo Association which will help to draw in Native American Cowboys for some top notch action.

There are a number of businesses in town that have $2 off tickets for free. You can pick them up at Conrad Building Center, Mountain View Co-op, Zomer Trucking, Stockman Bank, Wells Fargo Bank, Farm Credit Services and Gary and Leo’s IGA as well as the Town Pump.

New to town or just visiting. The rodeo grounds are located one mile east of Conrad on the Sollid Road. Turn left and go three (3) miles north and just across the railroad tracks is the entrance to the rodeo grounds.

Say you don’t want to drive out there. This year the Lions Club will have two shuttle buses running back and forth from Conrad to the rodeo grounds. They will be picking up riders in two locations, Bliss Cycle sales on Main St. and the old BN Depot building at the corner of Front St. and 4th Ave.

You can park your vehicle either place and ride out and back, or drop the kids off and let them take the shuttle to the rodeo grounds. This is a new, not tried before, service provided by the Lions Club and there is hopes that it will get a lot of use.

And what is a rodeo without a Whoop-Up Queen?

This year there are three exceptional ladies vying for the honor.

One is Katie Dulmage who after graduation plans to move to Great Falls and go to the Salon Professionals Academy. She also wants to attend the College of Technology in the Falls for Interior Design and eventually design magazine spreads for Better Homes and Gardens.

Jacklyn VanDyke plans on going to school at MSU-Bozeman to get a degree in the Science of Nursing, specializing in pediatrics.

Jayleen Harris will also be attending MSU-Bozeman after graduation. Her projected major is Animal Science with either an equine option or livestock management.

Saturday at 7 p.m., after a day of “rodeoing,” head out to the PGC for the KSEN/Colgate Country Showdown.

Put your hands together and pound your feet on the floor for some really good entertainment. Check this out, you just might catch the next big-time Garth Brooks or Dolly Parton.

On Sunday the rodeo, if needed, starts at 8 a.m. and the Lions Club cook shack is open for breakfast. Ham and eggs and hot cakes is the way to start the day, along with a hot cup of java. Say, it doesn’t get any better than this.

All proceeds from the Lions Club Rodeo stay right here in Conrad for local projects.

Come on out and check out the new additions to the rodeo venue have some family fun in the sun and just a plain good time with a part of America’s heritage; the rodeo!