PRAIRIE CITY - When cattle ranchers Steve and Carolyn Mullin moved to the John Day Valley in 1966, they experienced their first visit to the Grant County Fair, where the pavilion was full of produce, flowers and handmade items. However, there wasn't much to see out in the sale barn, except a few sheep.
The next year Carolyn brought a heifer.
"I had never shown a heifer, so in my usual planning-ahead way, I jumped in with both feet," she said.
The Mullins haven't looked back, and this week their long participation in the event has garnered them recognition as the 2008 Grant County Fair & Rodeo grand marshals. They will ride in Saturday's parade, which begins at 10 a.m., and be on hand for many other fair events.
The Mullins, who own Blue Mountain Angus, are avid supporters of the fair.
Carolyn has participated as a Grant County Fair Board member for the past five years, and when called upon, she and Steve bring cattle to the fairgrounds for judging events - "to help the kids practice judging."
Their children, Allan and Dan, both participated as youth in 4-H, showing breeding cattle.
Allan now runs commercial cows and yearlings and sells hay at Eagle Rock Ranch east of John Day, and Dan owns Badly Scattered Land and Cattle, also running commercial cows and selling hay in Mt. Vernon and on Indian Creek.
The tradition carried on for another generation with the Mullins' grandchildren involved in showing cattle at the fair.
This year, Steve and Carolyn will show Silver Shadow Explorer - a massive bull at 2,240 pounds and 2 years of age. Sired by B/R New Frontier 095, their bull came from Greg Lechner of Silver Shadow Angus in Madras.
Carolyn says of her husband Steve, "He has a fantastic eye for cattle. He's always picked out the show cattle."
Successes Carolyn has seen at the fairgrounds include the year-round use of the fairgrounds, the addition of the Heritage Barn, the inclusion of Future Farmers of America - a program she admires for their parliamentary influence and public speaking skills - in the fair. She also has enjoyed watching the livestock portion grow over the years.
"We are honored to be chosen as grand marshals," the Mullins said. "We are proud to join such and esteemed group of past grand marshals."
Saturday's parade route begins at Grant Union High School and ends nears McDonald's restaurant.