Ranchers enjoy array of activities


Celebrate Independence Day on July 6

by: JOHN BOWLER - The Prineville Navy JROTC precision drill team prepares for the start of the Independence Day parade at Crooked River Ranch on Saturday, July 6.There are few holidays that Crooked River Ranchers enjoy more than the Fourth of July, even though its celebration is scheduled to maximize community participation rather than to memorialize Independence Day on the exact date.

Accordingly, this year’s annual Independence Day festivities took place Saturday, July 6. Why that date was thought to be best for maximizing attendance has not been articulated nor challenged in any known forum.

As usual, the Independence Day celebration was kicked off by the annual parade, under the guidance of impresario, Julia Randall. She has been organizing Ranch parades since 1999, with a couple of sabbatical years off along the way. She announced her retirement from the role several years ago, but couldn’t resist the siren call of Ranch parades for long and jumped back in again. It’s hard to imagine anybody else in that role; Randall handles it with such precision, aplomb and enthusiasm.

This year, there were over 30 entries, mainly from Ranch organizations, but also from other groups in Central Oregon. Multiple prize ribbons were awarded in various categories by a herd of volunteer judges. Those are too numerous to list here, except for the overall sweepstakes winner, which was the Silver Edge Drill Team on horseback, which also promoted breast cancer awareness. The President’s Choice was Big Dog Saloon.

The main point of the parade is to show support for the nation by various organizations, which, in turn, all expend considerable time, effort and talents to make up floats, including one representing the Crooked River Ranch Club and Maintenance Association Board of Directors.

Later in the day, the Ranch Fire Department put on a demonstration in the ball park of how they go about extricating victims from a wrecked car. Attendees reported it was a fascinating exercise and made a deep impression on those observing about the need for driving safely. Unfortunately, attendance was negatively impacted by lack of advance publicity as pointed out in this column last week.

A favorite Ranch Independence Day event of long standing, the Ranch Lions Buffalo Feed has been running for roughly 30 years and is widely known both on the Ranch and in the rest of Central Oregon, from which it draws.

Nevertheless, the consensus is that the attendance was down slightly over last year, despite sparkling weather.

The same was true of the barn dance held in the evening, which attracted fewer children this year, even though they were not charged admission this year as they have been in the past. The barn dance, initiated three years ago, is a newer entry in the Independence Day array of events.

Those involved in the planning and execution of various Independence Day events couldn't pinpoint any specific reasons why attendance was up or down over previous years.

For example, the crafters seemed to have more success this year with participation and sales up, despite the formal Ranch crafts organization not existing any longer. As one respondent observed, “That’s business!”

Many interviewed praised the performance of the Prineville Junior Naval ROTC precision drill team as an adjunct to the parade, along with the Sunshine Cloggers. The latter also tried their hand at teaching their skills to a group of interested dancers from the younger set.

There was a raffle and a silent auction involving the quilt, which the chapel quilters had made, among other handmade goodies. All told, there was an amazing array of functions on tap to entertain attendees honoring America on its birthday. Nobody could justifiably accuse the Ranch of apathy in that effort.