The world has eyes on Conrad’s 71st annual Whoop-Up Days

05_harold-170Harold Olson

Grand Marshall of the Conrad Lions Club Whoop-Up Trail Days Celebration




By Buck Traxler, I-O Editor

Right around the corner are the big days of June 4-5 when Conrad celebrates the Conrad Lions Club 71st annual Whoop-Up Trail Days Celebration.

Getting an early start on a weekend of activity will be the  Singing Sons of Beaches. Sponsored by the Pondera Arts Council (PAC), the trio of entertainers will perform at the Orpheum Theatre/Wiegand Auditorium on June 2. They will have two shows, one at 6 p.m. and the other at 8 p.m. In between the shows, the Conrad Whoop-Up Queen will be announced.

Leading into the weekend will be the fifth annual Whoop-Up golf tournament at the Pondera Golf Club.

Players in the four-person scramble will tee it up at 10:30 a.m. on Friday. There are lots of prizes, food and music by Harry and Lloyd to follow the tournament. There is still time to get a team together, call the PGC at 278-3402 for more information.

Also on Friday there will be a rodeo Calcutta starting at 7 p.m. at the Branding Iron. Come on out and purchase your favorite Cowboy.

One of, if not, the biggest social event(s) of the year takes place on Saturday morning when the Conrad Lions Club puts on their FREE ham and pancake breakfast at Meadowlark School in the multi-purpose room, 17 3rd Ave. SW.
Ham and pancakes start coming off the griddle at 7 a.m.

The still famous secret pancake batter is put together by Byron Grubb and Lyle Orcutt. Gary Walter and Ray Stoetzel will be flipping the shortcakes and Lions Club President Dan Wilcox fries up the ham.

Outside groups take note; there is NO soliciting of any kind allowed here.

The breakfast leads up to the  annual Pondera Medical Center’s 5K Run and 1-Mile Walk.

The race begins and ends in front of the Pondera County Courthouse at 20 4th Ave. SW. You can still register the morning of the race, up to 8 a.m. The starter fires his gun and gets the racers moving at 8:30 a.m.

For more information, contact Charlene Bouma at the PMC Wellness Center, 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 Meadowlark School.

Parade assembly is at 9 a.m. Make sure you are on time. There are divisions for Best Costume, 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.

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

For more information, contact Molly Bock at the CofC office, 271-7791.

The kiddies’ parade sets the stage for the General Parade which will be coming down the street at 10:30 a.m.

The CofC and Lions Club are pleased to announce that Harold Olson is the Grand Marshall and leader of the “Big Parade.”

His past and present accomplishments make him an easy candidate for Who’s Who.

Olson, a retired pharmacist, did undergraduate studies at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn. He received his BS Degree in Pharmacy from the UofM-Missoula School of Pharmacy.

Olson was the owner of Drakes Drug Store and then purchased the Pondera Drug Co., and integrated that with Drakes into Olson’s Drug Store which he sold in 1989.

He is the past chairman, over 20 years, of the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) of Pondera County, is president of the Pondera History Association, VP of PAC, and a past president of the Jaycees, Kiwanis, Toastmasters, the CofC, is on the Pondera Valley Lutheran Church Council, been the chairman of the Montana Republican Central Committee, Pondera Chapter of the American Red Cross, Conrad Council on Aging, the Triangle Car Club, the Montana Antique and Classic Auto Club.

As president of the History Association, Olson was the guiding force in the development of the Conrad Transportation and Historical Museum, located at Virginia and 4th Ave.

He was also the project director for the renovation of the Orpheum Theatre/Wiegand Auditorium.

Olson is listed in Who’s Who in America, has been the recipient of CofC Unsung Hero award as well as the Silver Spur award from the Montana Farm Forum and has received the Bowl of Hygeia, the Montana Board of Pharmacy Community Service award.

He is married to Betty Olson.

Olson will preside over the biggest little parade in northcentral Montana which starts assembly at 9:30 a.m. for judging.

Folks with floats, horses, clowns, bands, novelties, farm equipment and machinery, classic cars are all welcome to participate in the parade.

Floats and groups, Division A, should form up on the east county road along the baseball fields.

Division B, any bands, drill teams, clowns and marching groups should be in line at the Legion Park. Division C, cars should assemble at Michigan and 7th Ave. and Division H, horses and driving rigs should assemble at Iowa and 8th Ave., the Legion Ball Field parking lot.

The parade will come down Seventh Ave. S. and go north on Main St. to Second Ave. S. and proceed past the Pondera Medical Center to disband.

This route has been set up so residents of the Horizon Lodge and PMC-Extended Care Unit can view the parade.

For more information, contact Bock at the CofC  271-7791.

In conjunction with Whoop-Up, the Conrad Rhubarb Festival is coming into its fifth year and is sponsored by PAC.

The Festival attracts folks from all over the country to like rhubarb goodies.

There is an – all rhubarb – pie contest, largest leaf contest, a dessert contest, a delights contest and miscellaneous rhubarb contest, which is any kind of food made with rhubarb.

Bring your items and rhubarb leaves to the Rhubarb Headquarters in the extra room at the Lobby, 405 S. Main St. The Festival runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For more information contact organizer Kit Finlayson who tells the I-O, “This exciting event has been very successful and continues to grow each year.”

Finlayson can be reached at 271-3331 or 576-7144.

For young cowboys and cowgirls, the stick horse rodeo, for the second year, is at the rodeo grounds and begins at 11:30 a.m. Contact Robert Rohrer at 278-5756 for more information. Young Buckaroos can still sign up for the sheep ridin’, mutton busting event at Gustafson Law officers at 400 S. Main St., Suite 101 or call 278-7521.

There is no entry fee for the riders but youngsters must weight 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 fee to be awarded after the Sunday rides.

You need to have the required entry blank with attached release signed by both parents.

The rodeo grounds open at 11:30 a.m. and the real action starts at 1 p.m. with livestock coming from Jacobs Livestock.

His bucking bulls and high flying horses are rested 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. “That just upgrades the caliber of the Cowboy,” says Dan Majerus, rodeo chairman.

The rodeo clown will be the Z-Man himself, Zane Drishinski.

If you are 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 miles (3) miles north and just across the railroad tracks is the entrance to the rodeo grounds.

If you prefer, for the second year, the Conrad Lions Club will be running a shuttle from the city to the rodeo. You can catch the shuttle at the old BNFS depot building on the corner of 4th Ave. and Front St, or at Bliss Cycle Sales on Main St.

Here’s a real deal. Sponsors have a $2 off coupon from the regular adult admission price.

Locally you can pick them up at the Conrad Building Center, Gary and Leo’s IGA, Kronebusch Electric, Northern Montana Insurance Service, Northwest Farm Credit Services, Stockman Bank, the Super 8, Wells Fargo Bank and Zomer Trucking. With a regular ticket being $10, the discount coupon is a super deal.

And what is a rodeo without a Whoop-Up queen? This year four dynamic ladies, Courtney Anderson, Lexianna Arellano, Kelli Fagan, and Amanda Lee are vying for the honor.

New this year is Turn the Hill Pink Day on Sunday.

For everyone that comes to the rodeo wearing pink on Sunday, the Lions Club will donate $1 to the Conrad Cancer Foundation. Also the 50/50 drawing on Sunday will all go to the Cancer Foundation.

A new event at the rodeo will be the Cowboy Bronc Riding and Cross-country Race.

The Bronc riding will be contested with the horse having a regular stock saddle. Riders will also be judged on how “Western” they make it.

The cross-country race will resemble the old ‘suicide’ run. Racers will start in the arena and climb the hill west of the arena, behind the beer shack, race up the hill and then rip back down. “We are encouraging the contestants to ride for a sponsoring ranch,” said Majerus, adding, “They will ride for the brand by representing that ranch, it should be spectacular watching.”

On Sunday, if needed, the rodeo slack will begin at 8 a.m. and the Lions cook shack will be open for breakfast, serving up ham and eggs and hotcakes along with a cup of hot mud to get your day going with some nourishment.   It doesn’t get much better than this folks.

Come on out and see the new additions to the rodeo venue, have some family fun and a good time and be a part of America’s heritage; the rodeo.

Wilcox summed it up, “We hope everyone will come out and have fun at the rodeo. Think of it as more than just a good-family oriented-event, think of it as giving back to Conrad, because every dollar the Lions Club makes goes directly back into community projects and donations.”