Inducted in 2004
“The Ellensburg Rodeo is a family affair,” writes John Ludtka, author of The Tradition Lives On (1997). “And for over seven decades, the McManamy’s—including the Hands, Seuberts, and Oechsners—have played the role of rodeo volunteer family with aplomb.”
Joe McManamy was born in New York City in 1907, but lost his father at age one. “My mother remarried in 1909 to James Hand who had been a childhood sweetheart in Ireland,” Joe later wrote. The same year, the family moved to the northwestern part of the Kittitas Valley to farm and raise cattle. Upon reaching maturity, Joe and his half-brother James Edward Hand, inherited their parents’ farm. Thus, Kittitas County’s respected “Hand/McManamy Farms” partnership was born.
Jim Hand and Joe McManamy were Kittitas County Cattlemen of the Year. Joe was a driving force behind the First Creek Association (Hand/McManamy, Bill Haberman, and Jack White), whose annual fall Table Mountain cattle roundup attracted national media attention and helped to preserve the old Kittitas Valley cowboy traditions.
The McManamy’s have served the Ellensburg Rodeo for over seventy years as volunteers, rodeo queens, board members, and posse riders. This association began in the 1930s with Barney Seubert’s volunteer work and 1940s when Joe McManamy became a founding member of the Ellensburg Rodeo Posse and Rodeo Board member and President. During his Presidency, Joe McManamy hired legendary announcer George Prescott (ERHOF ’97), and stock contractors Christensen Brothers (ERHOF ’98) and Harry Vold (ERHOF 2000). He led the first-ever Ellensburg Rodeo delegation to the National Finals Rodeo and convention.
Joe was joined in his efforts by his wife Mary Oechsner McManamy. Both Joe and Mary also tirelessly served the community in non-rodeo endeavors that ranged from Rotary to Red Cross to Campfire to 4-H to school and church work in the Saint Andrews Parish. Joe McManamy served on the Board of Directors of Yakima Federal Savings and Loan Association, the largest Mutual Savings Association in the western U.S. and one of the oldest and most successful Savings Associations in the United States. Mary’s brother Frank Oechsner was a longtime Ellensburg Rodeo Posse rider and rodeo volunteer.
Daughter Mary McManamy Seubert was a founding Wranglerette and 1960 Ellensburg Rodeo Queen. She fondly remembers “I was also one of six queens from our state who went to the University of Washington-Minnesota Rose Bowl and rode on the state float in the parade. We were there 10 days.”
Mary’s husband Bill Seubert served on the Rodeo Board for nearly three decades, as President from 1975-77 and “Mr. Public Relations” for twenty-eight years. Daughters Trish Seubert Buswell and Meg Seubert Berger both rode as Wranglerettes, and Trish was 1987 Ellensburg Rodeo Queen. Today, Trish carries on her mother’s four-decade long post as co-announcer of the televised Ellensburg Rodeo Parade.
Mary McManamy Seubert and her late father enjoy a unique distinction—both served multiple terms as Kittitas County Commissioners.
For over seven decades, the extended family of Joe and Mary McManamy have devoted literally tens of thousands of hours performing the myriad volunteer tasks so essential to the success of the Ellensburg Rodeo. They epitomize the significance of family in the traditions of the Ellensburg Rodeo.