2018 Elgin Stampede Grand Marshal
Article by Trish Yerges
Travis came to Elgin in early 1978 when he received a job promotion and transfer from Boise Cascade’s Valsetz plant to the lumber mill in Elgin.
“I had an opportunity to advance to Elgin as the manager of the plant there in Feb 1978, and I brought my family (Carol and three children) over after school was out that summer,” he said.
Travis bought a residential property just outside of Elgin on Clark Creek Road, where his family lived and where they kept two quarter horses that he brought over from Valsetz. Upon moving here, Travis said he almost immediately was introduced to the Stampeders.
“Elgin is a small town, but the Stampede is a big deal, and I would say that a large number of people who worked for me at Boise were involved in the Stampede,” Travis said. “Stampeders Les Rogers was my finish department foreman and Milt Heighes was the region engineer at Boise, so basically the people who worked for Boise Cascade were the ones who got me to participate in the Stampeders.”
One of the first things that Jim and Carol Travis volunteered for was to act as court chaperones for a couple of years. Carol Travis and their daughter Tanya became interested in the drill team, while Jim Travis was in charge of the club events for a couple of years.
“The Stampede has changed a lot since those days, and at that time, they used to have club events,” he said. “There were clubs from Benton City, Wash., and around the area that would come and run relay races.”
Some of the club events that he supervised were the club rollback, bareback rescue, club pole bending, open pony express, open relay and the chariot races. “When you talk about club events and family events, those were the kinds of things we used to do,” Travis said.
In 1979, he was selected to the Stampeders’ board of directors, a position he held until 1981 when the nominating committee selected him to be the next president.
“I was the president in 1981, 1982, and 1983, and at one time I was only one of two people who served as president for three years—myself and Odies Payne,” Travis said. “I don’t know if that’s still true.”
In 1981 when Travis served his first year as president, Jim Cant served as vice-president, Alma Murchison was secretary and Jan Fruits was the treasurer. Travis always made himself available whenever the Stampeders needed something from Boise Cascade, and in return, the Stampeders acknowledged Boise Cascade as a sponsor on their programs.
“All the years I’ve been associated with Boise Cascade, they have been pretty generous and supportive (of the Stampeders),” Travis said.
One achievement that Travis is particularly proud of is working with secretary Phyllis Bechtel to gain a nonprofit status for the Stampeders organization. But his contributions didn’t end there. After serving three years as president, he continued to be on the board of directors for a number of years.
“From that point on I just stayed involved with the rodeo, whatever needed to be done,” Travis said. “I helped at the crab feed, ushering and serving, whatever was needed.”
During the rodeo, Travis worked with a lot of the people who are Stampede Legends and long-time members of the Elgin Stampeders organization.
“I remember Odies and Nelda Payne, Chris Christenson, Joe and Phyllis Bechtel, Cheryl Coe as secretary, Billy Hindman—people active in the 1970s and 80s are people I would be acquainted with,” Travis said.
Travis always made room in his personal calendar for Stampeders’ events, especially in July for the rodeo and its festivities. He also cut out time to attend Chief Joseph Days on behalf of the Elgin Stampede.
The Stampers are honored to recognize Jim as the 2018 Stampede Grand Marshal!