Inducted in 2011
In 1974 the Ellensburg Daily Record interviewed the young President of the Ellensburg Rodeo Board, auto dealer Allen Faltus. “My interest in the rodeo has grown because it is really fun to work with 14 fellows who are so dedicated,” Faltus observed, while wife Jan added, “We have met so many fine people and during the years when we travel around we had so many wonderful experiences, we can’t help but enjoy it all.” Nearly forty years later, Allen and Jan Faltus still retain their love of the rodeo they worked so hard to build.
Allen Faltus’ father Otto was born in Belfair County, Ohio, in 1903 and came to Ellensburg in 1925. He married Elizabeth Allen in Olympia in 1932. Otto started out in the service station business (Texaco) and founded Faltus Motors Sales and Service (Chrysler) in 1930.
Otto and Elizabeth’s son Allen was born in Ellensburg and raised in Ellensburg; after graduating from the University of Washington he assumed operation of the family’s automobile dealership. In 1971 Allen built and managed the Ellensburg KOA Yakima River Campground.
Allen Faltus holds the record for more than four decades of service on the Ellensburg Rodeo Board of Directors. Prior to the mid-1960s, Allen’s main association with the rodeo was Otto’s participation in the Ellensburg Rodeo Posse. Allen’s interest increased in 1966 when his wife Jan (originally from Spokane) volunteered to chaperone the rodeo’s royal court. Allen joined the Rodeo Board in 1967. He served as President of the Ellensburg Rodeo in 1974-75 and again in 1987-88. During his tenure he held several other board posts, including Treasury and Rodeo Royalty, assisted by wife Jan.
Since its 1923 birth, the Ellensburg Rodeo has always included businessmen alongside farmers and ranchers and other community members on its Board of Directors. Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame Board Members Dr. Ken MacRae and Joel Smith are also former Rodeo Board members who worked closely with Faltus and both point to the importance of his business background and success as Rodeo Treasurer. “Allen Faltus brought a much needed business sense to the Ellensburg Rodeo,” MacRae recalled. “He was the one we all depended on to keep things reasonable and steady….We depended on Allen to keep the budget working. There were many lean years, especially in the earlier part of his service. But we always somehow paid the bills.” MacRae emphasized Faltus’ ability to work well with others: “Allen is the finest gentleman anyone could know; he never had a bad word about anyone.”
Joel Smith also pointed to Faltus’ social and communications skills. “Allen was always the person to run ideas by before bringing anything up at a Board meeting. His opinion was important and always practical.” Smith emphasized Faltus’ well-defined view of what the rodeo should be. “His vision was that the Ellensburg Rodeo needed to be more of a family experience rather than a straight ahead 6- or 7-event rodeo. This brought great ancillary activities to our rodeo like trick riders, clown acts, and other specialty acts.” Smith recalled, “Allen was one of the first to realize that our facility needed attention, and he helped formulate priorities and timelines along with
financing plans to get the projects accomplished. It was an honor to serve
with Allen Faltus.”
Faltus’ 1997 interview with local rodeo historian, the late John Ludtka, confirms the above. Faltus spoke fondly of the Ellensburg Rodeo’s unique program, which included Indian “flat [track] races,” cow cutting, and novelty events such as the Dinner Bell Handicap. “We don’t have a hard-core six-event rodeo; ours has different things that make us different and that has helped us succeed.”
In 1995 Allen Faltus was awarded the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s prestigious “Outstanding Committeeman of the Year” award. He and Jan have two children, Jill and Jeff. Jeff currently is carrying on the Faltus family tradition as a Director on the Ellensburg Rodeo Board.