Bucking into the hall
Six individuals will be inducted into the St. Paul Rodeo Hall of Fame on Wednesday, June 29.
Georgene Bernards and Paul Charron (both St. Paul Rodeo members); Julio Moreno (timed event contestant); Tim O'Connor (contract personnel) and Wally and Launa Pohlschneider (St. Paul Rodeo director/officer) will find themselves enshrined in St. Paul Rodeo history.
Bernards, of St. Paul, began her rodeo association membership in the mid-1990s alongside her husband Del Martin, first in the ticket office and then as chair of the Wild West Art Show from 2001-06. As art show chair, she was able to secure nationally-known western artists to exhibit in the show.
For 20 years, she used her artistic abilities to design annual rodeo memorabilia: the poster, jewelry, Pendleton blankets, custom boots, ornament and the silver rodeo ticket necklace. When she and her husband joined the rodeo association, they did so with the goal of giving back to an event they respected.
Paul Charron, a St. Paul Rodeo Association member, began his membership with his wife, Kathleen, in 1996. He has been on the gates and parking committees and has competed four years in the rodeo barbecue contests with his ribs and tri-tip recipes, while Kathleen is a past winner of the potato salad competition.
Charron is a stalwart believer in the St. Paul Rodeo. "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."
The Charron sons, Steve and Eddie, are also St. Paul Rodeo Association members.
In the timed event contestant category, Julio Moreno is this year's inductee. The Oklahoma man began his history with rodeo in 1978 with Cotton Rosser and the Flying U Rodeo Co., where he served in many roles, including as pickup man. He won the team roping 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, Tim O'Connor has literally stepped in front of the bull at the St. Paul Rodeo.
The Springville, California, man is a bullfighter, protecting bull riders after their rides. He follows in the footsteps of his uncle, Craig O'Connor, 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."
Wally and Launa Pohlschneider have dedicated a half-century to the St. Paul Rodeo. Joining the association in 1972, Wally served in a variety of roles throughout his tenure: as chair of the grounds crew and the annual steak feed, as ticket office director, and a two-time stint as president of the rodeo association (the only member to have that distinction).
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 with the addition of a computer, which allowed permanent ticket orders to be easily compiled and printed, instead of five ladies spending six days typing triplicate invoices.
Their love for and dedication to the St. Paul Rodeo has brought the next generation to service. Son Kenny is part of the grounds crew, and their daughters and grandsons spend summer visits on the rodeo grounds, helping with various tasks.
The Hall of Fame Barbecue honoring the Class of 2022 will be held June 29 at the St. Paul Rodeo arena. It begins at 5 pm. A meal will be served, with live and silent auctions. Auction proceeds benefit the St. Paul Rodeo Foundation.
Tickets for the barbecue are $35 and are not available at the door; they must be purchased in advance. They can be purchased online at StPaulRodeo.com.
This year's rodeo is June 30 to July 4, with performances each evening at 7:30 pm and a 1:30 p.m. matinee on July 4.
For information, visit the website or call the rodeo office at 800-237-5920.
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