Beautiful, sunny skies greeted visitors and participants at this year’s ‘62 Days Celebration in Canyon City, marking the discovery of gold in Canyon Creek in 1862.

Families gathered in the downtown city park between events or checked out the visiting vendors.

The parade moved down the highway at 11 a.m. with dirt bike stunts, a smoking 1927 Model T, queens and princesses on horseback and the Whiskey Gulch Gang can-can girls. Gary Gregg, the 2019 parade grand marshal, and his wife, Loleita, rode in Del Raymond’s Wild West stagecoach.

“We invite everyone to participate in the parade next year,” parade organizer Melissa Galbreath said. “We would love to see more horses, mules, family floats, organizations and businesses.”

At 2 p.m., with 200 witnesses present, a cowboy stumbled out of Sels Brewery and was accused of stealing a horse. He ran back inside to find his pistol and returned to a hail of gunfire. Standing on the gallows charged with shooting an unarmed man, the horse thief replied, “He had two arms.”

When they weren’t climbing on the playground equipment or panning for gold, children competed in a watermelon eating contest or dug for treasure in a wood shavings pit on Washington Street.

Peggy Murphy reported 80 visitors at the Grant County Historical Museum, and most of them likely toured Mayor Steve Fischer’s historic home — a former schoolhouse.

The bed race took off with eight adult entries and four kids entries at 3 p.m. Jeshua, Kaleb and Ethan Sheedy collected a $25 prize for first-place in the children’s contest. For the adults, Jessica Knowles and Kennedy and Etoile Benge placed first for $35.

The hardest task was climbing into oversized pajamas at midpoint, but the biggest challenge was keeping the tires on the wheelchair rims. Some repair work will be needed before next year’s race.

“We are thankful for all that joined us this year and appreciate their time and effort,” Galbreath said. “We awarded first, second and third places, but everyone was a winner in our book.”

Parade results

Mounted individual

First: Grant County Fair Queen Courtney Nichols

Second: Jenny Taynton and rider Tyson

Mounted group

First: Julie Bowling and Amber Britt

Second: Baker County Fair and Panhandle Rodeo, Queen Kelsei Kiser with Lady-in-waiting Jaeden Forrey (Nyssa Nite Rodeo), Princesses Laramie and Lavina Kiser

Walking group

First: Boy Scouts, led by Greg Floyd

Second: Kim’s Taekwondo, instructor Laurel Coombs

Antique car

First: Ron Phillips driving Loyce Phillips

Group entry

First: Sleep in Heavenly Peace, led by Susie and Mark Brown

Second: Grant Union Class of ‘99

Third: Grant County Snowballers and trail riders

Business entry

First: Station 62 in “Minion” 1972 Volkswagen Beetle, with Emma and Tori

Second, tie: Saul’s Mobile Pressure Washing with little prospectors Mayley, Emmie and Dalley; and AAA Thunderbolt Fire Service of Mt. Vernon

Third: John Day Polaris

Derby car

First: Steve and Georgia Patterson

Best representation of 1862

First: Whiskey Gulch Gang

Honorable mention: Canyon City Fire Department, John Day Volunteer Fire Department, U.S. Forest Service and Smokey Bear, Grant County Search and Rescue, Canyon Mountain Racers and Coach Shane Koppel’s Grant County Little League minors baseball tea

Richard Hanners is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. He can be contacted at or 541-575-0710.


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