Bucking into the hall
A half-dozen people have joined a select group inducted into the St. Paul Rodeo Hall of Fame.
Georgene Bernards and Paul Charron (rodeo association members); Julio Moreno (timed event contestant); Tim O'Connor (contract personnel) and Wally and Launa Pohlschneider (rodeo director and officer) were honored during a ceremony on Wednesday.
Bernards became a rodeo association member in the mid-1990s alongside husband Del Martin, first in the ticket office and then as chairwoman of the Wild West Art Show from 2001 to 2006. As leader of the art show she recruited nationally-known western artists to exhibit in the show.
For 20 years, Bernards used her artistic abilities to bring about memorabilia for the rodeo, including the event's poster as well as jewelry, Pendleton blankets, custom boots, ornaments and the silver rodeo ticket necklace.
Charron joined the rodeo association with wife Kathleen in 1996.
He has been on the gates and parking committees and competed for four years in the annual barbecue contests with his ribs and tri-tip recipes. Kathleen is a past winner of the potato salad competition as well.
"I fell in love with the family event that St. Paul Rodeo is," he said. "It pumps life into our small town and keeps our western traditions alive."
Moreno is this year's inductee in the timed events category. The Oklahoma native began his history in rodeo in 1978 with Cotton Rosser and the Flying U Rodeo Co., where he served as a pickup man and in other roles.
He won the team roping crown twice in St. Paul (1981, 1988) and transitioned to stock contractor, providing bucking bulls for the rodeo since 2009 as part of the Big Stone Rodeo Co. "St. Paul has been a very good fit for me both as a contestant and a stock contractor," he said.
For 11 years, O'Connor has literally stepped in front of bulls and looked them in the eye.
The Springville, California, native is a called a "bullfighter," his job protecting bull riders from the massive beasts after the competitor's rides are complete.
He follows in the footsteps of his uncle Craig, who also served as a bullfighter at St. Paul.
O'Connor has been selected to work the California Circuit Finals Rodeo six times, as well as other big rodeos across the west.
"From the first year at St. Paul Rodeo, it felt just like coming home," he said. "From the arbor vitae to the wooden grandstands and the fabulous hospitality from the community, I love everything about it."
Launa worked alongside her husband in all of his positions, but one of her biggest contributions was bringing the ticket office into the modern era.
She added a computer, which allowed permanent ticket orders to be easily compiled and printed, instead of five ladies spending six days typing triplicate invoices.
The couple's love for and dedication to the rodeo has brought the next generation to service. Son Kenny is part of the grounds crew and daughters and grandsons spend summer visits at the rodeo grounds, helping with various tasks.
The Pohlschneiders have dedicated a half-century to the rodeo. Joining the association in 1972, Wally served in roles during his tenure that include as chairman of the grounds crew and the annual steak feed, as well as ticket office director and a two-time stint as president of the rodeo association.
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