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Wahl to Wall: First CJD queen returning to Joseph

Wahl is editor of The Chieftain.

Published on July 24, 2018 4:05PM


Chief Joseph Days are once again upon us. Tucked inside this edition of the Chieftain, you will find a complete schedule and information about the rodeo.

We have received word that 1948 Chief Joseph Days Queen Mildred Hayes Benson –– the first to be given that honor –– will be on hand for this year’s celebration. She will be riding in the grand parade Saturday morning.

Mildred is 87 and has been married to Lloyd Benson for 67 of those years. The couple has three sons, 10 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.

Mildred is the last of the Hayes family after the deaths of Kirk and Mary Hayes of Joseph, according to Lloyd.

“The Hayes family were early settlers and pioneers of Joseph, I believe before it was named Joseph,” Lloyd said.

A family reunion is planned over the weekend with the Benson’s three sons, Steven from Denver, David from Coos Bay, Ore., and Rick from Spokane and various other family and friends.

If you make the journey to Joseph any time this week, you will notice the impact the rodeo has on the community. By some estimates, as many as 50,000 people materialize over the five days the celebration is in progress.

Most merchants say it’s a bigger boost than Christmas shopping. Restaurants expand with extra tables outside. Everyone else lays in an ample supply of whatever they believe will sell. And it usually does.

This will be the first “rodeo” year for Market Place Fresh Foods in downtown Joseph.

Whichever of the four rodeo performances you attend (or as many as you attend) please come by the Rotary Club of Wallowa County hamburger booth and get a bite to eat. As always, the funds go to benefit our community.

There are roughly 30 Rotarians, spouses and others attending to matters this year under the leadership of John McColgan. I guarantee you, you will go away rubbing your tummy in delight.

The long-term forecast –– if you believe in such a thing –– is for hot and sunny weather right on through the run of the rodeo. Of course, we all know that changes hour by hour, but at least it’s heading in the right direction.

Be sure to stay hydrated while you’re at both of the parades and any other events where you may overheat. We don’t want anyone having heat stroke.

Unfinished business: This week the crews that are doing the stained glass restoration at St Pius X Catholic Church will be finishing their work. The project has been a major undertaking for the members of the church.

They may be few, but they are mighty.

The difference the work of the glass artists make is difficult to describe, even photos don’t really do it justice.

So many things are going on in Wallowa this summer. It’s as if the town has taken on new life.

I’m sure some sort of dedication and unveiling will be in the works at the church. We’ll update you as we hear more about that.



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