2024 Grand Marshall

Larry & Sue Ellen Smith

The Salmon River runs through Larry and Sue Ellen Smith like blood through their veins. This year’s Grand Marshalls of the Riggins Rodeo have history with the event and the steep country surrounding it that goes back generations. Keeping that tradition strong has been top priority for Larry, Sue Ellen, and their entire family. Larry’s family has been in the Riggins area since 1862 when they settled on John Day Creek. After a short stint away, his parents moved back in 1956, and he spent the rest of his formative years in Riggins, with ranching, riding colts, and the Riggins Rodeo as important parts of his life. His dad, his brother, and he started riding colts in the Riggins Rodeo arena, and at the age of 13, Larry won his first check there. Sue Ellen began attending the Riggins Rodeo in the 60’s when her dad, Herb, began competing in the calf roping and wild cow milking. By 1968, her passion for the community and the rodeo had taken root, and she ran for Queen that year. She had lost her hat during the contest, and a kind young gentleman named Larry retrieved it for her. That spark did not turn into a flame, however, until they met later at the Queen’s Dance. Even then, however, the fire took a bit to light in that Larry excused himself from Sue Ellen midway through their first dance, leaving her alone on the dance floor. When he returned, Larry was apologetic about his departure, explaining he had had to go help his brother, who had gotten into a fight outside. From then on, Larry and Sue Ellen were a duo, marrying in 1973. Their early years of marriage were spent in Denver where Sue Ellen worked for the airlines and Larry rode colts, drove truck, and built saddles, a skill he had learned while in Riggins, working under Jerry Clay. That saddle making trade has served the Smiths well, with Larry crafting utilitarian works of art now for 53 years. After having spent time building saddles at Hamley’s, Severe Brothers, Wood’s Western World, and now managing the saddle shop at Hamley’s, Larry has spent a lot of time at the bench as one of the west’s finest saddle makers. Once their son Bob came onto the scene, Sue Ellen quit flying for a while, ultimately allowing the Smith family to move to White Bird where they worked for Rich Anderson for five years. After that, the family moved back to Riggins where they raised Bob, Stacy and Keri and built saddles until they moved to Pendleton in 1992.Every step of the way, however, the family was very involved in the Riggins Rodeo. The kids have all won or placed at Riggins. Larry and brother Claude won the team roping one year, and he and Sue Ellen’s brother placed, as well. Larry judged the rodeo for years; Sue Ellen still times it. Although they say they are not old enough to be Grand Marshalls of the Riggins Rodeo, they are honored with the title. Larry and Sue Ellen were inducted into the Idaho Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2017 for their years of commitment to rodeo and the cowboy way of life in Idaho. When Larry retired from judging, both the Pro West Rodeo Association and the Idaho Cowboys Association honored him with a buckle recognizing his service. Over the past 51 years, they have built a family of three children, ten grandchildren, and four great grandchildren. They have served on the board of the Riggins Rodeo, Larry as President, Sue Ellen as Queen chairperson. Their involvement even extends to helping with Rodeo Bible Camps in the area, including Cambridge and Council, moving on to Filer, Union, and Pendleton, as well. Although they’ve spent a lot of the years traveling the Northwest, the Salmon River country will always be home for them.

2023 Grand Marshall

Donnie Clay

I was born to Frank and Joan Clay. We lived in New Meadows, Pittsburg on the Snake River, and in Riggins till I was 5, depending where my Dad was stationed on the Circle C Ranch. We stayed in Riggins when my sister and I started to school. In the summer months, when I was 12, I would go with Dad and help with the haying for the ranch. As I got older I started breaking and shoeing horses and cowboying for the ranch. I married my wife Marty in 1976 and we had two children, Joni and Chad. We rodeoed many years together and enjoyed the rodeo family. We took our kids to Rodeos and 4-H events thru their childhood years. Thru all my younger years I rode bulls (briefly), saddlebronc (made it to National High School Rodeo Finals and the National Little Britches finals), and team roped till I lost my last horse. Now I ride 4-wheelers and enjoy life with my family. I have also been raising my own beef for the family and have finally grown a 1000 pound steer. After working for Circle C, I worked briefly for Salmon River Lumber Co., Stay-Rite Truces, and Glen Bowdem. I started running heavy equipment for Glen and then moved on to Hess Construction, Ken Walters and Lance Hess for numerous years. Now I’m foreman for Idaho County Road Department in Riggins and looking forward to retirement. I have been a member of Salmon River Cowboys Association for over 40 years and been Director, Vice-President, and Arena Director. My whole family is involved in helping put on the Riggins Rodeo. Joni as Secretary/Treasurer, Chad as President and chute puller, Mike as Director and latch tripper, Barb in ticket sales, Randy my brother-in-law as chute boss and Director, and Grandsons : one on return alley gate, one on stripping chute and one on chalk board. I am proud to say a Clay has been a part of the Riggins Rodeo every year since the Salmon River Cowboy Association was established in 1948. We are four generations deep in Riggins Rodeo. I am very proud and honored to be this year’s Grand Marshal.


2022 Grand Marshall

Marty Clay

I was born and raised in the Salmon River Canyon. My parents were Bob and Jessie Spickelmire. I was raised with two brothers; I being the youngest. When I was about 8 years old our great uncle gave us a Shetland pony, Fancy. (I was hooked on horses from then on, they were in my blood.) I rode Fancy in PeeWee, Little Britches, and Jr. Rodeos in our area. She was the first horse I rode in the Riggins Rodeo. It was every little girls dream to be riding with the big girls in your home town rodeo. What a crowd pleaser as it still is today. When I was about 12 my Dads boss, Warren Brown, gave me my first big horse from his ranch. He said if I was going to rodeo I needed a horse not a pony. She took me to the State High School Rodeo Finals. I became Riggins Rodeo Princess in 1973 and 1974, and Rodeo Queen in 1975. I have had numerous horses since then, all very special to me and they kept me rodeoing and staying connected to my rodeo family. I joined the SRCA when I was in high school and have been involved with it pretty much every year since then. I don't know if I have ever missed a rodeo. I married my husband, Donnie, in 1976 and rodeoed with him for many years. We had two children, Joni and Chad. They learned to ride at an early age. I became a 4-H leader when they were old enough to be in Horse 4-H. I also coached High School Volleyball for 9 years and JV Basketball a year. My son and I also cowboyed for Jack and Arlene Hubbard taking the cows to and from the mountains. And I can't forget working and training my SAR's dog, Niki, for 10+ years, this all in my spare time of my regular job. I became Secretary for the Rodeo in the early 80's. I took a couple of years off when my daughter was in High School Rodeo so we could help with the Dist. 3 High School Rodeos as Barrel Racing Directors. Then I took back the Rodeo Secretary job for Riggins again. I continued as Secretary/Treasurer till my daughter, Joni, took it over about 9-10 years ago. I still help with pay-outs and whatever else I am able to do. I am proud to say my whole family is still very much involved in the Rodeo. From my Husband being Vice-President and Arena Director, to my Daughter Secretary/Treasurer, to my Son-in-law being Director and Chute Gate tripper, to my Son President and Chute Gate puller, to my Daughter-in-law working in the ticket and t-shirt booth, to my Brother Director and Chute Boss, and all three Grandsons, one on the return alley gate, one on the stripping chute, and one on the chalk board giving us the scores, and numerous cousins helping where needed. There has been a Clay involved with the Riggins Rodeo every year since the Salmon River Cowboys Assoc. started back in 1948. When I was told they had voted me to be the Grand Marshall I was kinda surprised. I'm not old enough yet, (the Grand Marshalls are always older people and in my mind I'm not old yet, my body might tell me differently; just ask my Aunts or Uncles they still think I'm a kid…) Thank you all for the wonderful years of being able to work alongside some of the greatest people I know. It has been a privilege to put on one of the best Rodeos around with you. I am very Proud and Honored to be this year's Riggins Rodeo Grand Marshall.

2021 Grand Marshall

Steve Pratt


2019 Grand Marshall

Ward Hall


2018 Grand Marshall

Gary Miller 


2017 Honorary Grand Marshall

Dave Wilson 


2016 Grand Marshalls

Buck and Jeannie Fitch


2015 Grand Marshall

Patty Barham-Solberg














2014 Grand Marshalls

Jack and Arlene Hubbard