JOHN DAY - The events of the day were over, and the crowd hadn't moved. They all sat, silently, not even daring to breathe. The loudspeaker announced the name of the 1959 Intercollegiate Saddle Bronc Riding Champion and the crowd began to roar. The young man stepped up and accepted his prize. It was a saddle.
That man was Gary Gregg, and the saddle he won can be seen in the Grant County Ranch and Rodeo Museum.
The museum is three display rooms and a gift shop. A fourth display room will be added after the damage from the leaks in the roof has been repaired.
The first room is dedicated to ranching, and includes saddles, branding irons, pictures of cattle drives, and all sorts of other items that were used for ranching.
The second room is devoted to the Grant County Fair and rodeo queens of the past and present.
The third and final room, the rodeo room, contains belt buckles and saddles. On display is Cody Jessee's Intercollegiate All-Around Cowboy saddle, and Gregg's saddle. There is also a case of belt buckles.
All the items on display were donated or are on loan. Janyce (Lemons) Bond, a former Rodeo Jr. Queen, does all of the cataloging of what is brought in, along with Karla Salisbury Colson.
"We started this museum in honor of past, present and future cowboys in Grant County," said John Aasness, one of the museum's board members.
The purpose of the museum is to document pictures, video and items of value to the history of the rodeo cowboys and cowgirls of Grant County, from the working cowboys through the rodeo cowboys.
The museum's grand opening is at 11 a.m, July 23. There will be no admission, but buying a $5 meal will help support the museum.
The menu will include Strawberry Mountain Natural Beef hamburgers served by the Grant Union High School FFA. Live music from Jim Aasen and Sam Mattise, and music from local artists.
The museum is on Main Street, across from the Ford dealer at Dayton Street.