I'm a lifelong rodeo fan. Being born in Walla Walla I've always been intrigued by rodeo stock, the mystique of the cowboy and the pageantry of the event. Not being of cowboy stock I never participated. The Walla Walla Fair and Frontier Days Rodeo has always been my hometown rodeo.
I moved to Port Orchard a year ago and so my hometown rodeo became the Kitsap County Rodeo. This past year two things happened that changed my perspective of the hometown rodeo for good.
First, this past year I lost a good friend and co-worker, Barry Morgan, to cancer. I met Barry while working at Walla Walla Vintners, and then he asked me to work on the security crew for the Walla Walla Fair and Rodeo. Barry was on the board of directors and was in charge of security. That was six years ago and I've worked for Barry at many events over the years.
The Fair Board had a nice memorial for him at the fairgrounds. When the fair came around this year many people on the security staff thought the board of directors would have a memorial for him at the start of the rodeo. Nothing!
Barry was a hard worker who never shied away from any task. He deserved better.
The second thing that happened was at the Kitsap rodeo this summer. My girlfriend and I found out that my cousin was suppose to be riding in the Kitsap rodeo on the day he was riding. We went up to Bremerton to watch him. When we got there we found him and discovered the horse he drew was injured and he decided not to ride that evening. We chose to stay and watch the action anyway.
The rodeo was great.
But I was taken aback by what happened next. The rodeo was put on by the board of directors and a group they called "the Wranglers."
As I went out the gate there were the board of directors and the Wranglers wishing us a good evening, thanks for coming, and thank you for being a part of their rodeo this year.
This was the first time in my life that anyone from the board or the workers had come together to wish me anything. It was truly a life changing experience.
I didn't work on the security crew for Walla Walla this year, and probably won't again. That's my tribute to Barry and his memory.
Rush T. Higginbotham