ELGIN — Elgin has lost a popular and successful community leader.
Ty Hallgarth, a man whose steady and tireless leadership helped spur the Elgin Stampede to new heights, died unexpectedly of natural causes on Monday, Jan. 31, at St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, Boise.
“He was a wonderful person. He enjoyed finding ways to help people,” said Bud Scoubes who, like Hallgarth, is a member of the Elgin Stampeders, the volunteer organization that puts on Elgin’s rodeo each year.
Hallgarth, 53, had been president of the Elgin Stampeders since 2017 and a member of the Stampeders board since 2013. He was president of the Stampeders when the Elgin rodeo was named the best small rodeo on the Columbia River Circuit in 2017.
Lara Moore, the secretary for the Elgin Stampeders, said Hallgarth gave his heart and soul to the Stampede because he knew how much it meant to the community.
“He saw how really great it was for the community, how many visitors it drew in and the economic stimulus it provided,” Moore said. “He was very, very proud of it.”
Moore credits Hallgarth with having an incomparable work ethic, one always on display in the weeks before the rodeo, held annually in July.
“He worked harder than anyone. He would be there from five in the morning and he would still be there at midnight,” she said.
Hallgarth’s work ethic coupled with his mechanical skills helped make him indispensable to the rodeo.
“He was extremely talented,” Moore said. “He could weld things together, build things and operate equipment. He could kind of do it all.”
Wayne Herron, also a member of the Elgin Stampeders, said Hallgarth was the go-to person when advice on repair work was needed.
“Whenever anything needed to be fixed we all looked to him for his ideas,” Herron said.
Moore said Hallgarth always approached things, regardless of the difficulty level, with a “we can do this attitude.”
Hallgarth, who was employed by Union County’s public works department, was frequently busy but he was always willing to talk with anyone who had a question or concern.
“No matter what he had going, he was sincerely there for people,” Moore said. “He would stop and listen even if he had 100 things going on.”
Hallgarth was someone who was always easy to converse with, according to fellow Stampeder Kyle Evans.
“He had a real personable way of talking to people,” Evans said. “He was a real joy to be around. He was upbeat.”
Evans said Hallgarth was known by many for his ability to fix things. He said people were often phoning Hallgarth for advice on making home repairs and he was always generous with his time when providing assistance.
“He was always willing to do whatever it took to help people,” Evans said.
Herron said it was unusual for someone to serve as long as Hallgarth did as president of the Elgin Stampede. He said this is a credit to the excellent work he did and reflects how people encouraged him to stay on so the rodeo could keep moving forward.
“He was a fine person who will be greatly missed for sure,” Herron said.
A statement on the Elgin Stampeders website paints a picture of the void Hallgarth, who grew up in Elgin, leaves.
“We lost our organization’s president, but more importantly, we lost a Stampede family member and an incredible friend. A big smile. A contagious laugh. A work ethic and talent that put all of us to shame. A love for rodeo and for our community. Our world is different without him, and his absence will be felt for years to come,” the statement read.
Funeral service information will be announced later. Loveland Funeral Chapel of La Grande is in charge of the arrangements.