Cowboys cousins rein in on Crohn's disease awareness


Most experts believe that Crohn’s is an abnormal bowel disease that inflames the lining of the digestive system and can lead to flare-ups. The Crohn’s Online website,, also reports that inflammation is at the root of symptoms for more than 500,000 American men and women who have this diagnosis.

Researchers currently believe a combination of genetics, environmental factors and an abnormal immune response contributed to this condition, although the exact cause remains unknown.

Two of its many symptoms are abdominal pain and cramping. The site notes that others, which can be mild to severe depending on the person, include frequent diarrhea, fever, fatigue, anemia, reduced appetite and weight loss.

Two music-playing cowpokes with ties to Washington state and Walla Walla aren’t putting up with this disease while lying down. Taking reins in hand, 23-year-old cousins Jack Chambers and Pasco native Nicholas “Nick” Roach, cofounders of Cowboys vs. Crohn’s, will ride on horseback to raise awareness.

Their ambitious 1,300-mile journey is expected to begin July 1 at Gardiner, Mont., and end Oct. 15 at Bellingham, Wash.

“Jack and I wanted to ride horses across the Pacific Northwest and play music along the way in hospitals, schools and bars. It also occurred to us that we could help out a cause along the way. We chose Crohn’s disease, specifically the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, because Jack as well as seven of our other relatives and many of our friends combat it daily,” Nick said.

He plays guitar, banjo and mandolin and Jack sings and plays guitar. They’re currently setting up gigs to play on their route, Nick said.

Some of their horse and music skills were honed while working at Hell’s A-Roarin’ Outfitters, a ranch at Jardine, Mont.

“We played for 10 to 100 guests every night, mostly country songs,” Nick said. “They threw songs at us and we had a repertoire and sang what they asked us.” Five of the cousins and two other buddies have also worked at the ranch, Nick said.

They describe themselves as a comedy-performance group. Hilarity arises because while they may know the chorus and first verse of some of the requested songs, after that they just “free-wheel it,” Nick said.

They scripted a video they filmed to explain who they are and what their ride is about.

They plan to use, a crowd-sourced fundraising outlet that can be spread through social media. Donations may be made through Paypal. Initial proceeds will fund their trip. Whatever is raised after expenses will go the Crohn’s foundation. They are raising funds until the ride starts to offset the approximately $23,000 in travel expenses, Nick said.

Contributions may be made at . Search for Cowboys vs. Crohn’s.

And it probably didn’t take much to rope in Walla Walla cousins Reilly and Madeleine Roach, who both have Crohn’s disease and who may ride with the fellows, possibly from Pasco to Walla Walla on a doubleback route, Nick said. They plan to be here Aug. 30-Sept. 1.

Horses play a significant role as from childhood Nick and brother Wim wanted to be cowboys. An early influence was a young Austrialian horse rider who comes into adulthood in the striking film, “The Man From Snow River,” Nick said. On his blog at, he wrote that “becoming a horseman and mountain packer taught us a lot about life and how to approach it.

“Cowboys vs. Crohn’s is another opportunity for us to continue living the adventures we have imagined since our childhood. Jack’s attitude towards life and adventure says a lot about what a kid can do, even when there are tremendous obstacles in the way.”

Once they make it west to Portland, the pair will travel the I-5 corridor, circumventing Seattle, Nick said. Their route will take them close enough to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America Northwest Chapter in Bellevue, Wash., to do some events with them.

They’ve been planning this expedition for a year, looking at the possibilities and challenges of the ride, Nick said. There will be a sag vehicle and a support team in charge of meeting with news outlets, obtaining supplies and general logistics.

Nick said they’ve budgeted for “very doable” mileage en route, taking into account weather conditions. They will be on leaves of absence from their jobs, Nick from Spokane software firm Next IT and Jack from Logos Bible Software in Bellingham.

“A project like this is hard to get off the ground with just two guys,” Nick said. “This trip is about building a stronger bond with humanity (and to) spread the word on Cowboys vs. Crohn’s.”

Learn more at, on Facebook at, or by tweeting @cowboysvscrohns.

The Columbia Basin Music Educators Association will send eight soloists and six ensembles to state competition with Walla Walla High School filling five soloist and four ensemble slots, said Norb Rossi, Wa-Hi director of choirs.

Wa-Hi went through the 2013 CBMEA Regional Solo-Ensemble competition March 9 at Pasco High School with flying colors.

Next up is the Washington State Solo-Ensemble Competition April 26-27 at Central Washington University, Ellensburg. They will compete with selected performers from the state’s 22 music regions. “It includes hundreds of the finest high school musicians in the state,” Norb said.

Wa-Hi sent more than 50 entries to regionals. “All of the students worked very hard and did an excellent job,” Norb said.

Regional results include:

Solo soprano voice: Daisy Schoen, state nominee; Elena Janis, second alternate.

Solo mezzo soprano voice: Courtney Griggs, state nominee; Mary Beth Jones, first alternate; Hirut Senter, second alternate

Solo alto voice: Piper Titus, state nominee; Jaime Quaresma, first alternate.

Solo tenor voice: Cougar Henderson, first alternate.

Solo baritone voice: John Gossett, state nominee.

Solo bass voice: Caleb Leitch, state nominee; Nathan Loomer, first alternate.

Women’s vocal ensemble – small: Nutella Trio – Hirut Senter, Liya Senter, Mary Beth Jones, state nominee; Madison Garrett/Sarah Gibbs Duet, second alternate.

Women’s vocal ensemble – large: Belles Voix, Delaney Bloomquist, Chantel Brannan, Julia Cosma, Katelyn Elmenhurst, Annissa Escobar, Shelby Gordon, Gina Lincoln, Kally McClure, Ariel Pope, Katelyn Rickords, Angel Saldana, Tansy Schroeder, Lexi Swenson, Bethany Voss, Kayla Witt, state nominee;

Men’s vocal ensemble – small: Basstie Boys, Nathan Loomer/Caleb Leitch, state nominee.

Mixed vocal ensemble – large: TWD, Mary Beth Jones, Christina Swanson, Hirut Senter, Courtney Griggs, Piper Titus, Cougar Henderson, Connor Christensen, Nathan Loomer, Isaiah Stodola, John Gossett, state nominee.

Norb cited the invaluable contributions of area vocal instructors, accompanists, chaperones and parents who support local students in their efforts. “Finding accompanists for over 60 entries is not an easy thing. We appreciate the time and talents of all of those great people. We also get great support from the administration and staff at Wa-Hi. We would not be as successful without it.”

Seniors from Lincoln High School and Walla Walla Community College’s Alternative Education Program received Exchange Club of Walla Walla Youth of the Month awards for March, said Mark Higgins, Youth of the Month program coordinator.

For their academic accomplishments the club honored Doreen Aguayo and Nathanial “Nathan” Paine from Lincoln and Clare Reese and Maxwell Failing from the WWCC AEP at a club luncheon.

They are now eligible to compete for the local club’s Youth of the Year Award that includes a $1,000 college scholarship. They wrote essays on the 2012-2013 Youth of the Year theme, “Youth Volunteerism: Working Magic in Our Communities.”

Doreen began attending Lincoln as a sophomore and has contributed immensely to the school and student body. She has been in four stage productions. While competing in speech and debate she performed in a duo-acting scene and placed in speech competition. She is a two-year member of the volleyball team and is a co-captain. A member of ASB she devoted many hours to the Light Parade, Fill the Bus campaign, Fall Festival and prom. She’s kept a 3.5 GPA. Following in the footsteps of her older brother, she will be the next Aguayo to graduate from Lincoln. She plans to attend Eastern Washington University and stay involved in acting. Her parents are Mario and Cari Aguayo.

Nathan came to Lincoln as a freshman while taking an additional class or two at Walla Walla High School and currently is in the WWCC Running Start Program. He was previously home schooled by his parents before moving to Walla Walla. He has earned almost all As at his three schools. He also passed state testing standards at the highest level possible. Nathan is part of the Lincoln drama department, has the lead role in its spring production and has been in a WWCC production. His sister won an Exchange Club YOM award last year and also graduated from Lincoln. Nathan is the son of Scott and Sara Paine.

Clare has accepted admission to Whitworth University this fall where she will pursue a degree in elementary education. Demonstrating excellent academic promise based on SAT and cumulative GPA, she was invited to Whitworth’s honors colloquium for incoming freshmen and received an annually renewable $17,500 merit scholarship. She loves being with and working with children and has taken several early childhood education courses during her senior year at WWCC. She aims to make a positive, lasting impact on young lives and instill an enthusiastic love of learning by creating a rapport with children and being a good role model. Active in 4-H, she was honored for animal showmanship at the Walla Walla Fair and for her 4-H Secretary’s Record Book. She is involved in her church and enjoys time with family. She enjoys horse riding, cooking, skiing and hiking and playing piano. She is the daughter of Daniel and Cynthia Reese.

Maxwell plans to continue at WWCC for one more year before transferring to a four-year university to obtain a bachelor’s degree. He is one course away from completing his associate of arts degree and will complete the college physics series next year to wrap up his associate of science degree in engineering. He is a faculty-nominated member of the 2012 Student Leadership Conference. He has made WWCC’s president’s and vice president’s list every quarter due to outstanding academic achievement. He enjoys biking, hiking, rock-climbing, playing video games and cooking. His parents are Keenan and Therese Failing.

Bob Bloch, treasurer of the Walla Walla Gun Club, sent along a schedule outlining upcoming events. I got a bang out of one in particular:

The WWGC board voted that the gun club will be closed on Mother’s Day, May 12. “As most may recall, this is also the Balloon Stampede weekend, and the ballooners have often made a muck of things when we are shooting and they are inexplicably landing in our firing zone. Might as well avoid the problem and stay home with our mothers.”

Sound reasoning there, for sure.

Other events on their agenda are the Camas Prairie shoot March 22-24. This is a big regional draw for those who like to shoot clays and socialize for a weekend. Many of the participants bring family members with them who head into the community to shop, dine, taste wine, soak up the ambience in area parks and sidewalk cafes. They infuse a lot of welcome tourist dollars while here.

An Old-Fashioned 1-Day Trapshoot is slated for April 7 with 100 singles, 100 handicap and 50 pair doubles, on all ATA registered targets. Participants can shoot all or one event or any combination. For more information, contact Bob at or 509-529-7288 .

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at or afternoons at 526-8313.


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