JOHN DAY - The Grant County Rodeo and Cowboy Heritage Museum is making progress. Papers have been filed and the group expects to formalize its non-profit corporate status soon.

A great deal of interest had been expressed by people near and far, businesses and groups, including the Grant County Chamber of Commerce and numerous others. Museum organizers are thankful for the support and cash donations they have received.

Organizers will present a booth at the Grant County Fair to inform the public of the museum's purpose and goals, and to encourage interest and support for the project. They plan to locate the museum building at Grant County Fairgrounds, and the Fair Board is supportive of the concept. The group is currently considering several options in John Day and Prairie City as an interim site for the museum.

Grant County has a strong history in ranching, cowboy culture and rodeo heritage. Past and present rodeo competitors from Grant County have been and are national contenders. The intent of the effort is to foster interest in the local custom, culture, educational tourism and economic development by honoring and promoting the past, present and future heritage of Grant County. Rodeo is unique in the fact that it is the only professional sport that grew out of real working skills.

Subjects of the Grant County Rodeo and Cowboy Heritage Museum exhibits will include: local, junior, college and professional rodeo competitors; fair courts and rodeo representatives; champion bucking stock, horses and bulls; working cowboys and cowgirls; local ranching culture; poetry, artwork and music; rawhide craftsmen, leather-tooling, and silversmiths.

In addition to visual displays, the museum also plans to facilitate workshops and activities for youths and adults - locals and visitors - to promote an appreciation for this unique culture and skills such as leather-tooling and braiding, silversmith demonstrations, and other activities associated with rodeo, horsemanship and working ranches as part of a "living heritage" approach.

For more information, call John Aasness 575-5545. The next meeting will be 4 p.m. Saturday, July 26, at the Outpost Pizza, Pub & Grill, 201 West Main St. Another meeting is planned for Saturday, Aug. 2, in Prairie City. Anyone interested in the museum or helping with the fair booth is encouraged to participate.

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