As of Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Saturday was a glorious day. The weather was kind, and kinder still were the people with whom I had the opportunity to visit.
They are shakers or movers or both in the Lower Valley community. One, Oscar Hernandez of Sunnyside is simply a doer. He’s the kind of man who would have a tough time with complete retirement.
Oscar is a long-time friend. He’s 83 and still going like the Energizer Bunny. After he retired, sort of, he bought a big, tough John Deere tractor to keep on “doing something.” Lots of folks around here see him clearing snow in winter and weeds and brush in summer.
When I learned last year that Oscar was still going strong at 82, I wasn’t surprised. I cheered. I’ve known him only as a working man.
I’ve met other fellows of age who, like Oscar, are still working. I cheer them, too. They may not know what God put them here to do, but they understand they were put here to do something.
In Grandview there is a group of doers, with which I spent some time the past three weeks. They are the members of the Yakima Valley Fair and Rodeo Foundation. Except for two girls who graduated from high school this year, the group is made up people aged 60-something to about 80.
I got to know this group at a July meeting in Sunnyside. I believe it was Jake Van Pelt who invited me. They were there to discuss the group’s biggest fundraiser, the Fall Dinner in November.
The Foundation was formed 11 years ago to help raise the money needed to operate the fair and keep it going into the future. The way things have gone in recent years, that future sometimes looks bleak. This year was especially tough, with that 100-degree heat wave that insisted on hanging around.
Although the group was formed to provide financial support, the members did not call it a day as the fair opening came around. They volunteered at the fairgrounds before and during the fair. They had to be careful with the heat, but they were there doing something.
One of Saturday’s events was the new Taco Wars that took place at The Grapevine Best Western. The two young men who put it together, Junior De La Mora and Carlos Rivas of Sunnyside, are independent entertainment business men.
This particular project was not for profit-taking. They were raising funds for the non-profit United Arts Coalition, to which they are connected.
“We do some things just for the community to enjoy,” De La Mora said.
De La Mora and Rivas have not reported how well the first Taco Wars did, but they did a great job of presenting the event. It took place on the vast green between the hotel and a vineyard west of it. It was colorful and offered good food. It was an event that should grow.
After visiting Taco Wars, I went over to Speck’s Arena to catch a little of the fun and excitement of (cow) team penning
It was one of eight events staged by the Yakima Valley Team Penning Club during the year. Half take place at Speck’s and half are competed at a Harrah arena.
This is a sport any horseman or horsewoman could love. I could see Saturday it is fun while, at the same time, highly competitive. It’s entertaining see what man and horse can do together. Some of the cuts are unbelievable as they pen cattle. Think of the best NFL wide receiver. Now put a horse in that uniform.
Getting to the Team Penning was part of the fun. I learned about the streets of what is now south Sunnyside. I told Connie Hauver, a member from Selah, I could find it after she said south Sunnyside near the Aho homes.
I went all over south Sunnyside because of a sign near the end of South Street. It indicated a dead end. So, I went right on 13th or 14th Street, took a left, then a right and another left and so on, looking for an arena, horses or horse vans. I went nearly to South First before I decided I’d gone to far.
A man who lives on a road well south of South Hill Road pointed out a bunch of trees and said the arena was in there, but he didn’t know which streets I should take. I kept my eye on those trees as I started driving again.
I ended up back at that dead-end sign and private property and no trespassing signs. I was looking past the signs when a horse van came out of the drive. Just beyond I found he nicest, friendliest people having fun chasing cows on horseback.