Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame Board Members:
Mike Allen was a founding member of ERHOF (1997-Present). He was born and raised in Ellensburg, graduating from Ellensburg High School and Central Washington State College. His dad, Stewart Allen, was a long-time Ellensburg Rodeo Posse member. Mike is a Professor of History at the University of Washington, Tacoma and lives in Ellensburg and Tacoma He has written six books, including Rodeo Cowboys in the North American Imagination (University of Nevada Press, 1998), and A Patriot’s History of the United States, (Penguin Group 2004, co-authored with Larry Schweikart); it was a #1 New York Times bestseller. Every Labor Day weekend he can be found in the northwest grandstands with his three grown children: Jim, Davy, and Caroline.
Jim Gibbons joined the ERHOF Board in 2014. He was born and raised in Ellensburg, graduating from Ellensburg High School and Washington State University. Jim has been in the Insurance business all his life and has offices in Ellensburg, Cle Elum and Yakima. Jim and his wife Janet have made their home in Yakima since 1986. Jim has been active with the State Insurance Agents/Brokers Association for years, is a long time Board Member of Comprehensive Health in Central Washington, and has been an active Rotarian for over 26 years. The Ellensburg Rodeo has always been a part of his life as has the city of Ellensburg and the Kittitas Valley.
Mary Gordon joined the Board in 2014. Raised in Ellensburg, Mary attended Ellensburg High School and Washington State University where she earned degrees in Physical Education and English. Mary returned to Ellensburg in 2002 with her husband Steve and three children and has been active in the schools and community with various volunteer activities. Mary has a great love for the Ellensburg Rodeo originating from the many years her father, Dr. Ken MacRae, spent as Arena Director. She enjoys helping the Board with the different aspects of social media and looks forward to the day when a permanent ERHOF museum welcomes guests.
Donna Hougnon joined the Board in 2016. Donna was born and raised in Ellensburg and was a 1981 EHS graduate. She graduated from Central Washington University with a degree in Business Administration. Growing up she enjoyed attending the Ellensburg Rodeo with her family and participated in Horse 4-H. Prior to joining the board she helped with annual ERHOF fundraiser. Donna is excited to work with the board members to bring a permanent ERHOF museum for everyone to enjoy. She and her husband Kim have two grown sons, Cody and Colton.
Bob Kelley was a founding member of ERHOF (1997-present). Bob grew up in Ellensburg and graduated from Ellensburg High School and Central Washington State College with a degree in business administration. He played varsity baseball at Central and later competed as a PRCA calf roper. He is Owner/Broker of Bob Kelley Realty, which he started in 1980. Bob has two sons, Casey and Brian.
Kent Lester joined the ERHOF Board in 2017. He was born and raised in Seattle, graduating from the University of Washington with degrees in History and Economics. With family ties in Okanogan, he developed an appreciation for rodeo growing up, attending both the Omak Stampede and the Ellensburg Rodeo. It was on trips to Okanogan that he and his wife, Lisa, were drawn to Kittitas Valley, first purchasing property in the Teanaway in 2000 and eventually deciding to make Ellensburg their permanent home. Kent works as a lender at Cashmere Valley Bank and is involved in the Leadership Kittitas County program sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. He is an avid supporter of the arts and an outdoorsman, enjoying time spent walking and hunting with Jay, Buck and Daisy, his three Brittanys.
Ken MacRae, D.V.M., joined the ERHOF board in 2004. He was ranch raised in Idaho and has been a long-time rodeo competitor. He graduated from WSU in 1961 with a degree in Veterinary Medicine, moved to Ellensburg in June, 1961. He joined Dr. Leonard Newman in practice at The Ellensburg Animal Hospital and took over that practice when Dr. Newman retired in 1974. He joined the Ellensburg Rodeo Board of Directors in 1969, and became Arena Director and Official Veterinarian in 1971, serving in those capacities until retirement from the Rodeo Board in 2000. In 2012, he was honored by being inducted into the Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame.
Edna Madsen joined the Board in 2017. Edna grew up in Montana on cattle ranches owned or run by her father. She competed in high school rodeos, and along with her father and older brother, competed in local Montana rodeos. After graduating from Chinook High School in Montana, she attended Kinman Business School in Spokane and Northern Montana College where she met her husband, Glenn. They moved to Ellensburg in 1970 where Glenn was a professor at Central Washington University while also serving on the Ellensburg Rodeo Board for a number of years. They both enjoy volunteering in the community. Edna is excited about serving with the Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame Board as she feels preserving and displaying the history of the rodeo gives it year round appeal to visitors to the Kittitas County.
Mia Merendino joined the ERHOF board in 2014. She grew up in Seattle, Washington, when there was a lot less traffic. She graduated from the University of Washington with a BA in Art History, returning twenty years later to pursue a degree in Museum Studies. She has been a photo editor, art director, stylist, production coordinator and producer in the stock photography and video industries. Recently, as the Director of the Clymer Museum, she hasbooked exhibitions, worked on fund-raising and art sales, helped develop community relations and marketing strategies. She has had a strong interest in Rodeo since attending them as a youth with her family. The first rodeo she remembers was the Crooked River Round Up in Prineville, Oregon. It made a lasting impression. Mia competed in the National Senior Professional Rodeo Association with ERHOF board member, Bob Kelley, as her roping partner. She also competed in Canada, capturing the Ribbon Running Championship with partner Jeff Bowers in 2005. She lives with her husband, Craig (Pickles) Stillwell, an architect and retired Wild Cow Milker (a 2003 Ellensburg Champion) and five unruly dogs. Of special interest to Mia is helping the ERHOF Board establish a home for its collection.
Zora Peterson joined the Board in 2016. Zora grew up in Kent, WA and frequented the Kittitas Valley as a young adult. Zora moved to Ellensburg in 1992 with her two children to help open Kittitas Valley Bank, now Cashmere Valley Bank. She met and married lifelong resident Ken Peterson, who served on the Ellensburg Rodeo Board for 21 years. Zora has volunteered on many Boards since moving to Ellensburg including United Way, The Clymer Museum and The Foundation at Kittitas Valley Hospital. Zora is excited to work with the Board members to develop financial reporting that will help them achieve future goals.
Teri Phillip has been on the ERHOF board since 2001. She was born and raised in Ellensburg and was a 1975 EHS graduate. She has attended the Ellensburg Rodeo since she was a child, and rode in the Wranglerettes. She moved back to Ellensburg with her husband, Dr. Bill Phillip, in 2000. She volunteers and is on the board of directors for the Spirit Therapeutic Riding Center. She is a past board member and president of the Clymer Museum and Gallery.
Joseph Powell has been a board member since 2011. He was born and raised in Ellensburg, and has taught in the English Department at Central Washington University since 1983. He has published seven books, mainly poetry and fiction. His book Fish Grooming & Other Stories (March Street Press, 2007) was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award, and poems in his book Hard Earth (March Street Press, 2010) won a National Endowment for the Arts Award. At Central, he was awarded the Phi Kappa Phi Scholar of the Year (2004) and the Distinguished University Professor for Artistic Achievement (2010). He lives on a pile of rocks with his son Evan. His interest in the Ellensburg Rodeo dates back to 4-H days when participants got free passes to the Monday shows in the uncovered stands, making those cowboy hats both stylish and practical.
Joel Smith was a founding member of ERHOF (1997-Present). Joel was born and raised in Ellensburg. His family has been in Ellensburg for five generations. He retired from a local career in agriculture. He served on the Ellensburg Rodeo Board of Directors for twenty-six years, and was honored by the Ellensburg Rodeo Board’s nomination of him as Justin Boots Committee Man of the Year, which he won in 2007. He is married to Marie Smith who is also an ERHOF board member. They have been married for over forty years and have two married sons: Austin, whose family lives in Ellensburg, and Damian, whose family lives in Chelan. Rodeo has always been his passion, especially the Ellensburg Rodeo. He says, “Long live cowboys! And let their legends survive.”
Marie Smith is an Ellensburg native, one of 9 children and descendant of the Fitterer and Rogers families, both pioneer families of the Kittitas Valley. Marie married into the JR Smith Family in 1975. She is a graduate of Lourdes Academy which once stood at 8th and Ruby Streets. Marie is a proud mother to 2 sons, Austin and Damian and has 4 grandchildren. She was a member of the Shama Nada Middle Eastern dance troupe for 8 years enjoying costuming, choreography and performance. Marie sold real estate in the Kittitas Valley for 20 years and served for 15 years on the Kittitas County Association of Realtors, receiving Realtor of the Year, Community Service and Realtor Achievement awards. She enjoys yoga, golfing, gardening and volunteering for community events including being a part of building the western village at the Ellensburg Rodeo and helping to secure the Driver House. Marie served as one of the founders of the Maynard Linder Spirit of the Rodeo award and has served on the Jazz in the Valley board for 14 years. She is passionate about the rich heritage of the Ellensburg Rodeo.
Nip Tucker is a Kittitas Valley native whose passion for rodeo and interest in history prompted him to serve on the Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame Board. Nip began competing in county and high school rodeo events before eventually joining the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association as a calf roper, steer wrestler, and team roper. He was a two-time Columbia River Circuit finalist in calf roping. Nip continues to train roping and barrel racing horses with his wife Jody. As a history teacher at Ellensburg High School, Nip has an interest in preserving local history. One part of ERHOF that Nip particularly enjoys is working on the oral history collection. Nip and Jody have a son, Tait, and two daughters, Trew and Trey.
Keith Winter grew up in Western Washington with strong family roots in North Dakota ranching. Keith became active in rodeo after college and through competing at amateur and PRCA rodeos in the Columbia River Circuit he developed many lifelong friendships in the Kittitas Valley; those friendships and a yearning for the western way of life prompted him to move his family to Ellensburg. Keith owns and operates a commercial construction company located in Snoqualmie WA. Given his background in construction, commercial property, rodeo and preserving the Western way of life in Ellensburg, volunteering for the ERHOF board seemed like a good fit. Keith and his wife Brooke have three children – daughters Kaylee and Kassidy, and son Levi.