After spending 30 years, working behind the scenes for the Crooked River Roundup, Pat McCabe is honored as the 2014 Grand Marshal

by: PHOTO COURTESY OF RM IMAGES - Pat McCabe is the 2014 Crooked River Roundup Grand Marshal.

When Pat McCabe decided to step down from the Crooked River Roundup Board, he had a feeling he might someday be chosen as the grand marshal.

“I told them I didn’t want to do it when I retired after 30-some years,” he remarked with a smile. “Then, they called last fall and said it was unanimous.”

McCabe served on the board long enough to hold the president and vice-president post, and recall a time when putting on the Roundup was less formal and corporate.

“When we first got on, when we were doing stuff, it was kind of a handshake deal,” he said. The Roundup and Pari-Mutuel Horse Races also took place during the same week in those days, so after all of the work that week, McCabe and the rest of the board would relax and take a well-deserved, lengthy break before planning the next Roundup.

“You’d put that on and then you kind of said, ‘Gee, what are we going to do now for the next six months,” he recalls. “Then, along January or February, you said, ‘My golly boy, we have go look for announcers, bull fighters, specialty acts, and stock contractors.’ Now, all of that’s done by contract and your specialty acts and your clowns are booked two years out.”

McCabe grew up a ranch kid, living on Grimes Flat. He was born and raised in Crook County and has the distinction, along with his sister, of being the first twins born in Pioneer Memorial Hospital.

Growing up, he kept busy on the family ranch, which didn’t leave much time for sport.

“I didn’t rodeo, because I was too busy moving cows and haying,” he said. Nevertheless, it was only a matter of time before his ranch life would lead him to a role in helping plan the Roundup.

“Ranching and rodeo kind of fit together,” he remarked.

McCabe has been married to his wife Georgia for more than 40 years, and has two children, Megan and Willie, who fathered his two grandchildren.

Though he was a somewhat reluctant selection, McCabe called his recognition as grand marshal a pretty nice honor after all of his years of service

“It was kind of cool,” he commented, before adding that he prefers to work behind the scenes and not get so much attention.

“Like I told the boys, ‘A cowboy doesn’t need to be recognized, just remembered.”

Nevertheless, he has enjoyed the experience so far, which has included a trip to the Spray rodeo and an appearance in their parade. As his schedule shifts into high gear later this month, he expects the fun to continue.

“There is a kick-off party, then there’s the afterhours stuff,” he said, listing individual activities from memory. Later in the week, he will ride in the Roundup parade, and make appearances during each day of the rodeo.

McCabe knows he’ll be busy. Upon meeting 2014 Roundup Queen Megen Hopper this past fall, he gave the newcomer some advice on surviving the packed schedule.

“I said, ‘Get a lot of sleep now, because when you go to rodeo and horse racing, we won’t get much.”

After the Roundup, McCabe will return to his job at Wilco, and keep busy on the ranch.

“I still enjoy branding calves and then team roping once in a while, when I have the time - just to practice.”

And even as a board retiree, he will stay involved with the Roundup when it comes time to host the big events.

“I’ll go help them out when I can,” he said.

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