Nov 28, 2015
PNP comment: What a great article by Lee Benson on the Wright rodeo family. Well worth hitting the link and reading the entire article. Remember the National Finals Rodeo is coming up in a week or so. — Editor Liz Bowen
Published: Saturday, Nov. 28 2015 1:45 p.m. MST
MILFORD, Beaver County — Here are your directions to the first family of rodeo: head north through town, past the train depot, the old Hotel Milford, the Phillips 66 station/Subway shop, turn left at the hospital, then turn right when you see the bucking horses. And yes, those last two are occasionally related.
The arena for the bucking horses, the house next to it and the surrounding five acres belong to Bill and Evelyn Wright, whose sons, the Wright brothers, have made quite a name for themselves by not going airborne.
In saddle bronc riding — often called rodeo’s purest event, featuring horses with names like Lunatic Fringe and 5 Minutes to Midnight that naturally like to buck and cowboys who attempt to unnaturally stay in the saddle for eight full seconds — no family in history has dominated like the Wrights. They’ve claimed four world championships in the past seven years and two runners-up. Last December, when four Wright boys made it to the 15-man field at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas — rodeo’s Super Bowl — and wound up first, fifth, eighth and ninth in the world, the NFR arena announcer shouted, “Utah, you’re second to none!”
When they married back in 1975, Bill informed Evelyn he wanted a large family and further told her that since he’d grown up near a home for disadvantaged boys, he had half a mind to adopt some of them to give them a chance in life. Evelyn, thinking otherwise, said, “No you’re not, I’ll have ’em for ya.”
So they got started, and as Evelyn understates it, “kinda got on a roll.”
Over the next 23 years they had 13 children of their own, six girls and seven boys.
The girls all got into careers and homemaking and making something of themselves. The boys, well, they got into rodeo.
It was Bill’s fault. He’d rodeod when he was younger, in high school at Hurricane High and in college at Dixie in St. George. He went to a couple of saddle bronc clinics taught by the legendary Casey Tibbs, got his Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association card and thought he’d like to give the professional circuit a try. But he was married, they already had Selinda, and Evelyn came down with appendicitis that ate up half of their savings.
Instead of moving to Cody, Wyoming, where a rodeo runs all summer long and Bill could hone his craft, they had their first boy, who they named Cody, and stayed put in Hurricane as Bill took over his dad’s ranch.
“You know how in life you come to a fork in the road and the one you take makes all the difference?” says Evelyn. “That was our fork.”
The Wrights’ ranch on Smith Mesa overlooks Zion National Park. It’s been in the family since their Mormon pioneer ancestors homesteaded there in the 1850s. Bill’s father, Cal, was a horseman, as was his father and his father’s father. Cowboyin’ runs in the family. Besides herding the cattle and raising hay on his own land, Bill took jobs breaking other people’s horses, pouring concrete and anything else he could find to do. Because as the kids kept coming, so did the bills.
Every two years the family grew. After Selinda and Cody came Laurelee, Calvin, Michaela, Monica, Alex, twins Jake and Jesse, Spencer, Kathryn, Rebecca and Stuart.
With 13 kids, there was no more rhyme nor reason to practicing rodeo than there was to anything else. There was always a plethora of chores that came first. “I was the queen of work charts,” says Evelyn, “I told them, ‘There’s one of me and a whole lot of you.’”
It wasn’t until Cody got old enough to paw through Bill’s old gear in the barn that rodeoin’ re-entered the picture. One thing led to another, and soon the Wright boys, who had grown up hoping horses wouldn’t try to throw them, now hoped they would.
Lured by a smaller town and what they saw as better schools, the Wrights moved the hundred miles from Hurricane to Milford in 1993. Selinda was married by then, Cody was 16, and his brothers were all 12 and younger. The boys — lean, not too tall, and possessing good balance — seemed to inherit their father’s gift for staying in the saddle. Cody was a high school rodeo champion, and when the College of Southern Idaho offered him a scholarship to be on its rodeo team, he was off to Twin Falls to train under coach Shawn Davis, a three-time world saddle bronc champion.
“Old Shawn fine-tuned him,” says Bill, “and then he passed it on.”
“One thing about the (Wright) family, the kids’ work ethic is impeccable,” said Davis, who recently retired as rodeo coach at CSI. “Whatever you ask them to do they do it double.”
So far, rodeo has paid for every Wright brother’s education. Calvin followed Cody to CSI, as did Alex and Jesse. Jake went to Western Texas College and Spencer to both Oklahoma Panhandle State University and CSI.
This past season, the second generation took over when Cody’s son Rusty attended CSI on a rodeo scholarship. “I can’t say enough good about those kids,” said Steve Birnie, the coach who succeeded Davis. “We’re lucky to have them come through CSI. There’s lots more coming, so hopefully we can get some more.”
Stuart, Bill and Evelyn’s youngest boy (and Rusty’s uncle despite being a year younger), is a senior this year at Milford High School and could be next in line, although his parents say he’s likely to put college, and rodeo, on hold for a two-year LDS mission. Then there’s Rusty’s younger brothers Ryder, Stetson and Statler, who are already making bronc-riding names for themselves.
You could wear out a ballpoint pen detailing everything a Wright cowboy has won in rodeo — if it were possible at all. (At Bill and Evelyn’s place, the “braggin’ wall” is in a narrow hallway in the basement and there are no trophies or lists of accomplishments — just a dozen or so pictures of the boys on bucking horses). Suffice to say that every Wright has his name on a first-place trophy in numerous high school and college rodeos — Jake, Jesse and Rusty were national high school champions, and Jake and Spencer won national college championships — and that between them they have competed in thousands of rodeos.
In the PRCA big leagues, they have been a surname to be reckoned with ever since Cody turned pro in 1998. He first qualified for the National Finals Rodeo in 2003 and almost won it all that year, finishing second with $179,000 in winnings. That started a string of 12 straight trips to the NFR. He won the world championship in 2008 and again in 2010. The $2.3 million he’s collected in his career ranks as the 17th most money a rodeo cowboy has made in history.
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Nov 27, 2015
SHERIFF WARD IS FEEDING YOUR INFORMATION
TO THE FBI (HAMMONDS)
After a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with family and friends our hearts are full of gratitude and joy. We hope yesterday found you with family, friends, fun and food. We love this time of year.
We wish we had better news for you on such a fun time of the year.
However, Sheriff David Ward (the Hammonds sheriff) has unfortunately fallen to the influences of federal agents and has taken an adverse position against the Hammonds.
When you have an officer of the law that does not understand the constitution and allows fear to drive him, the people are negatively affected.
We would also like to warn anyone that has contacted the Sheriff; he has been feeding your information to the FBI.
We have reached out to him several times over the last week to try to understand his motives, but he refuses to take our calls or answer our messages.
His assistant has informed us that he is no longer accepting messages from the Hammond supporters.
For those who have received a letter from the Sheriff and would like to be able to understand it better please go to the link below prepared by a leader in Arizona. It is a clear explanation of the Sheriff’s lack of understanding.
Please be sure to understand that this battle is about a small powerful group of people using force to make all people live the way the want them to.
This is the age-old battle of Force vs. Agency. If what is happening to the Hammonds is allowed, it will set a standard of what these powerful people will do to all of us.
We must restore the Hammonds rights and make sure these types of thing do not happen in the future. Our children depend upon on us to act.
Please contact the Oregon State Representatives and ask them to meet with the Hammonds at their ranch & home and find out what kind of people the Hammonds are and what this is really about.
State Representative Cliff Bentz (R)
900 Court St NE H-475
Salem, OR 97310
Phone: (503) 986-1460
State Senator Ted Ferrioli (R)
900 Court St NE S-323
Salem, OR 97310
Phone: (503) 986-1730
May all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving week,
The Bundy Family
P.S. The Hammonds will not be in Burns for the Thanksgiving week. Let us give them this time to be together in peace.
Letter in Response to Sheriff Ward’s Letter:
Nov 27, 2015
Nov. 17, 2015
Liz Writes Life
Published in Siskiyou Daily News, Yreka, CA.
Duane Glendenning was honored to serve as Grand Marshal of the Etna Veterans’ Day Parade on Nov. 7, 2015. He is one of our last survivors of World War II and was willing to share a bit of his time in the service.
Duane joined the U.S. Navy in the spring of 1943 after graduating from Fort Jones High School the previous year. Boot camp was in Farraget, Idaho and from there Duane reported to Bremerton, Washington Naval Station where he was assigned to the newly-commissioned USS Guadalcanal carrier. The warship then sailed south to San Diego for qualifications and departed in Nov. 15, 1943 via the Panama Canal for Norfolk, Virginia. It arrived on Dec. 3rd. The USS Guadalcanal became the flagship of Task Group 22.3 and along with four other destroyers set out on Jan. 5, 1944 to search for enemy submarines in the North Atlantic Ocean.
The Task Force did its job finding and sinking four German submarines and then was able to capture the German sub U-505 taking the sailors prisoners and salvaging records and coding machines. This information helped the allies gain significant intelligence and used it against Hitler hastening the end of World War II.
Duane said the entire crew of the USS Guadalcanal carrier received a Presidential Unit Citation and the captured submarine is now located in the Smithsonian Museum in Illinois. The citation is framed and still hangs in Duane’s living room.
While serving onboard ship, Duane’s job was to operate the whale boat. After the capture of U-505, he was instructed to hook-up the tow lines to the German sub and the carrier towed it to Bermuda leaving it there during the rest of the war. Duane was sent back to Virginia and then to Fleet City in San Francisco, California, where he was assigned to a tug boat and was in charge of it until the end of the war with Japan. In May of 1946, Duane received an honorable discharge and he returned home to Scott Valley.
Thank you, Duane, for your service during a very dark time, when liberty and freedoms were being threatened by major world powers.
Also, I would like to send appreciation for those who make sure the parade happens each year. First is to Karen Wresch and the American Legion Perry Harris Post #260 for once again planning the parade, along with the great Etna Lions Club members, who organize the parade participants on Saturday morning; and to the City of Etna for hosting the parade. This is an important tradition of respect for these who have served during war and times of peace.
But, I am not finished. I love Scott Valley history and Duane Glendenning’s ancestry is a fine example.
It was Duane’s Scottish great-grandfather William Glendenning and his brother, Thomas, who decided that Scott Valley was the right place in 1852. They settled the family ranch outside of present-day Greenview.
William is shown in the Siskiyou Registrar of Voters in 1866 as being born 1832 and in the U.S. Federal 1860 Census as being born in Scotland, but living near Callahan at that time in 1860. That census shows William’s wife is Mary. Their son, John Alexander Glendenning was born in 1865 and as an adult was elected Siskiyou County Supervisor for our Scott Valley area. Unfortunately, he died while in office in 1915 from pneumonia. I can’t imagine the drive over the mountain to the county seat, in Yreka, for meetings in those days. He likely did have a vehicle and didn’t have to ride a horse or use a horse and buggy.
John’s son was Kelsie Baldwin Glendenning, born on the Glendenning Ranch in 1892. He served in World War I on a U.S. submarine. Yes, submarines became important tools in fighting against the Germans way back then. According to “Daily Kos” on the internet the first successful practical submarines were called “Holland boats” and were built in the United States a few years before the start of World War I. It was Germany that first utilized subs to destroy British ships.
Kelsie married Violet Linden and they were the third generation to work the family ranch near Greenview.
Duane was born to Kelsie and Violet in March 1924 in the old Siskiyou County Hospital in Yreka. After returning from World War II, Duane worked the on the ranch and also in the local logging industry. He married Evelyn Leake in 1948, who was also a graduate of Fort Jones High School. They had two children Terry and Sherry Glendenning and recently enjoyed the addition of a great-grandchild. Sherry’s son, Steve Jessee and his wife Margo, are proud parents of their son, Walker, born just two weeks ago, and joins his big sister Emilyn.
Yes, the Glendenning family has a rich cultural heritage in Scott Valley and the U.S. Navy.
Liz Bowen is a native of Scott Valley and lives near Callahan. Call her at 530-467-3515.
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Nov 27, 2015
Nov. 10, 2015
Liz Writes Life
Published in Siskiyou Daily News, Yreka, CA
The Yreka Tea Party Patriots canceled their regular meeting tonight to allow them to watch the fourth Republican Presidential Debate on television. A group of Republicans are meeting at Pizza Factory to watch the debate and welcome others to attend. I am not sure what time it is for the debate, so check your television listings or call Louise Gliatto at 530-842-5443.
Steve Baird, from Placer County, recently announced his bid to run for California Senate office against our current Senator Ted Gaines. Steve is making a trip through the Northern California counties and will be in Yreka this Thursday, Nov. 12th. A no-host meeting has been set up at the Black Bear Diner in Yreka at 2 p.m. and the public is invited to stop by and meet him.
Steve is a sixth generation Californian with family roots going back to the 1860s in Nevada County. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, an MBA in Financial Management and is currently working for the Sacramento Co. Dept. of Technology. He and his wife, Dianna, have two grown children.
In early 2014, Steve and Dianna became involved with the State of Jefferson movement recognizing that the lack of representation of elected state officials has drastically affected the smaller-populated counties. He used his abilities to research the potential financial success of a new 51st state and found it is indeed viable. Steve has become a speaker at Jefferson Town Hall meetings and county supervisors’ meetings explaining the finances of the future state.
As a side note, Steve is not closely related to Siskiyou County’s Jefferson spokesperson Mark Baird. Both are proud of their Scottish heritage, but have no close family ties. Mark is pleased that Steve is running for state senate and endorses Steve whole-heartedly.
A special display honoring veterans will be held at the Siskiyou County Museum from Nov. 10th through Nov. 25th in Yreka, but remember that Nov. 11th is Veterans Day, and a holiday, so the museum will be closed that day. This is the museum’s collection of military items and covers many wars.
Then on Sat. Nov. 14th, from 12:30 to 2 p.m., a free program will be held in the Siskiyou County Museum’s Conference Room. This will include an interview on DVD with Etna’s Buddy Buchner as he related his World War II experiences in surviving the Bataan Death March and prisoner-of-war in Japan. After a long life, Buddy passed away several years ago and is remembered as a very kind man. For more information call 842-3836.
Attention buck hunters
Although running a little late, you can still enter your “trophy” horns in the Mt. Bolivar Grange Horn Contest to vie for the best set. The annual Buck Hunters’ Dinner and Dance will be held this Saturday, Nov. 14th at the Grange in Callahan. Sign-up your horns at the Etna Hardware, Fort Jones Lumber and Scott Valley Feed or bring them that night. The entry fee is $10 and the winner takes the pot.
There is also a “stew” cooking contest with an entry of just $5. Everyone gets to eat the stew, but a select few judges will make the final decision on the winner and the best stew wins the pot of cash. So pull out those recipes and decide which one to use.
Dinner of stew and barbecue hamburgers starts at 6 p.m. with an $8 charge. Horn contest will be held at 7:30 p.m. with long-time judge and Callahan native Punky Hayden doing the measuring. The dance starts at 8:30 p.m. with the “Siskiyou County Homewreckers” providing live music until 11:30 p.m. Admission to the dance is $8 or get a reduced rate of $15 if you do dinner and dance.
On Sunday, Nov. 22, the Klamath River Community will hold its annual Old Time Turkey Shoot at the Community Hall at 19716 Hwy 96 Klamath River. Sign-ups open at 9 a.m. Be sure to take all of your guns, so you can enter in all the categories. This includes black powder, pistol, benchrest, freestyle, standing 50 and 100 yard, offhand, running deer and rim fire. There are special classes for youth 16 and under. Prizes are turkeys, hams, bacons, cheese and salami.
There will be lots to eat for all those who attend. Breakfast starts at 8:30 a.m. and lunch is from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. I am not sure on the prices. If you would rather not display your shooting skills, there are games of chance with dice and splatter boards. This is a safe and fun event for the entire family. For more info, call JoAnne Benson at 465-2029.
Liz Bowen is a native of Siskiyou County and lives near Callahan. Call her at 530-467-3515.
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