Heppner gazette-times. (Heppner, Or.) 1925-current, August 07, 2013, Page 20, Image 20

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    Page 10 - Special Edition • Morrow County Fair and Rodeo • Heppner Gazette-Times, Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Stroebers honored at Centennial fair
Two long-time Heppner
residents, Don and Jan Stroeber,
were honored this year from
their continued commitments
to the Morrow County Fair
and Rodeo. Don was selected
2013 M orrow County Fa ir and
Rodeo Grand Marshal, while
his wife, Jan--“Mrs. 4-H” and
avid fair supporter—received
the honor of having the 2013
fair premium book dedicated
to her. It’s no accident that this
couple should be the people
honored this way in this year.
Soft-spoken Jan Stroeber
can always be counted on
to help out w ith the fair,
generally behind the scenes
and definitely without taking
any credit. The advice she
gives, “Ask not what the fair
can to for you, but ask what
you can do for your fair,”
paraphrasing John Kennedy’s
statement, just about sums up
her hard work and dedication
to 4-H and the fair.
Jan s ta r te d w o rk in g
with 4-H kids around 1974,
supervising a group o f kids
before h er ow n c h ild re n
b e c a m e 4 -H m e m b e rs .
Daughters Shelley (now Hill,
College Place), Cindy (King,
P ayette, ID) and C h risty
(C o rre a , H e p p n e r) so o n
became very involved in 4-H
cooking, sewing, pigs, and
English and Western horse
clubs, and participated in a lot
of cook-off contests.
Jan says her very first
experience with the rodeo
was in 1965 when she helped
Betty Fulleton make serapes
when Betty’s daughter. Ruby
Fulleton. was on the court. Jan
and her husband really got into
the swing o f things after their
daughters got involved in horse
shows, and she credits her
husband for his patience during
those years.
“He was very tolerant,”
chuckles Jan. “We had three
girls and five or six horses and
he put up with all o f it. And
of course, you don’t just have
your own family, but a lot of
their friends.”
In fact, “wrangler” might
have served as Don’s middle
name. Over the years, Jan
say s Don w ra n g le d ju s t
about everything— horses,
snowmobiles, four-wheelers
and most importantly, kids.
“I was a wrangler, not a
rider,” he jokes. He remembers
hauling his three daughters,
their horses and their assorted
friends to junior rodeos, high
school rodeos, horse shows
and 4-H events all over the
place over the years.
When he and Jan bought
th eir current place out on
Fairview Way in Heppner,
acro ss from the M orrow
County Fairgrounds, they did
it so he could build a corral
out back for their girls to ride.
Shelley was a princess on the
rodeo court, and Cindy and
Christy were pennant bearers.
“We lived so close to the
fairgrounds, the kids were
always running up to the house
for a cooking utensil or a
pair o f boots,” Jan laughs.
“I remember one time Scott
Doherty somehow got dunked,
so not only were his clothes
wet, but so were his boots,
so he ran up to the house to
borrow a pair of Don’s boots.”
“O f course, now I have
grandkids in the fair, so I go
down there to help out,” Don
adds. Christy’s children have
been very active in 4-H and
I f “ w r a n g l e r ” is
D o n ’s m iddle nam e, then
“tra ilb la z e r” m ight be his
first name. Literally. Stroeber
is responsible for mapping
so many snow m obile and
four-wheeler trails in Morrow
County, the term trailblazer is
right on the mark.
“Gene Orwick and I got
maps drawn up for the Four-
C orners Snowm obile Club
and the state adopted it,”
said Stroeber. Drawing up
the maps took them over a
year and a half to complete.
Stroeber also helped form
the original Morrow County
Search and Rescue team in the
area, shortly after Heppner’s
Doc McMurdo disappeared.
Don and others spent a week
looking for him, but, sadly he
was later discovered deceased.
S tro eb er was also on
the o riginal access travel
committee, representing four-
wheelers and snowmobilers,
mapping trails in the late ‘80s
when Roger Williams was the
Heppner Ranger.
“It has been a lot of fun,”
said Stroeber of his trailblazing
days. He used to do a lot of
snow m obiling and adm its
he gets a little bored now,
but still enjoys going up into
the mountains to check out
wild turkeys and other game,
hunting, four-wheeling, and
grooming state snowmobile
Don, Burke O ’Brien and
Roger Mortimore were the
first to map out the new OHV
Park trail, which has become
popular of late.
Stroeber, 74, originally
from Elgin, came to Heppner
in May of 1960. His dad was
the head electrician at Pine
Lumber Company and Kinzua
and helped wire the Morrow
C ounty F airgrounds. Don
would have followed along
in his dad’s footsteps, but, he
laughs, “I didn’t like getting
Instead when he first came
to the area, he farmed for a
while at Turner Ranch and
then went to work for Eldon
Padberg’s machine shop in
Lexington. He then became the
service technician for Morrow
C o u n ty G ra in G ro w e rs,
working there as a mechanic
for 30 years before he retired.
In his spare time now, he often
runs a baler for the Thompson
“I’ve seen quite a change
in agriculture, especially in
m ach in ery ,” said
Stroeber. “ I love
to w o rk on the
new stuff. I think
technology is great.
I'd rather work on
something modem.”
He says he first
becam e involved
with the M orrow
Count y Fair and
Rodeo helping out Don and Jan Stroeber
with the grounds.
had three sewing machines set
“The only reason they let up, and remembers that you
me do it is because I had access never went out and bought
to farm machinery,” he jokes.
buttons, because Theta would
Over the years he worked
have them.
on junior rodeos, then high
Jan does wool appliqués,
school rodeos and then ended
braids rugs out o f old wool
up as Morrow County Rodeo blankets that she has dyed and
vice chair and chairman. Don now, reluctantly, is learning
says he continues to work at how to knit. Besides sewing
the fairgrounds to pay back for projects, Jan generally enters
all the years that they had their around 10-15 items in the
“own private bam and arena at fair, including canning and
the fairgrounds.”
baking items. She also enjoys
He has also served on the gardening and decorating.
Heppner Planning Commission
J a n, wh o e x p r e s s e s
for the past several years.
a genuine love o f the fair,
Jan, 67, born in Prairie e nc our a ges more peopl e
City and raised in Spray has
involved, and is always seeking
“always ridden horses.” She more sponsors.
and Don married on Nov. 12,
“I have worked with a lot
1966 at his parents’ home. She of wonderful people over the
says that her mother and father years. It was a great family
still enjoy the fair and come time. I really loved helping
to watch the grandkids. Her the kids. I think 4-H and FFA
mom, at 85, is still an active offer so many learning tools.
fair exhibitor, entering a Civil It is something that they carry
War quilt, among other quilting with them.”
projects and paintings.
Not only is Jan active in the
An expert seamstress, who
fair, but she has also been a hair
is always completing a project stylist since 1964, originally
to enter in the fair, Jan says working in downtown Heppner
that she has probably been
for Jean Dobbs and Rene
sewing since she was eight
Ledbetter, and then opening
or nine years old. She started
her own shop. Country Shears,
helping out at the fair with Jane at her home in Heppner. Jan
says that working at her shop
“ There w ere so many
has been ideal, not only when
wonderful people involved at she raised her own kids, but
that time,” said Jan, mentioning then with her grandchildren,
Lenna Smith, now of Bend, and whom she also watched when
Merlyn Robinson, Heppner.
they were small.
Jan remembers the late Theta
“ Our gr e a t e s t j o y is
Lowe, who helped her out time with our children and
with 4-H sewing. She recalls
grandchildren,” Jan says.
Theta's basement, where Theta