Inducted in 2000
The descendants of pioneer Ellensburg newspaperman David J. Schnebly constitute a literal “Who’s Who” of the Ellensburg Rodeo and Kittitas County Fair history. This respected Kittitas Valley family boasts among its ranks five rodeo and fair board members and ten rodeo queens and princesses. Since the Ellensburg Rodeo’s 1923 beginning, the Schneblys have served the Ellensburg Rodeo in jobs ranging from chute boss to pickup man, Arena Director, Rodeo Board members, PRCA competitors, and rodeo court royalty. David J. Schnebly (b. 1818) was a Marylander whose ancestors had migrated to America from Zurich, Switzerland in 1750. The Maryland Schnebly’s were successful businessmen, physicians, journalists, and tobacco planters, several of whom held college degrees. Upon graduation from Franklin and Marshall College (PA) in 1854, David J. Schnebly worked his way out West as a newspaperman, landing in Oregon City, Oregon in 1850. In 1851, David Schnebly married Margaretta Painter of Linn City, Oregon. Margaretta’s parents had migrated from Missouri over the Oregon Trail in 1850. Their cattle were branded with the “Bar Balloon,” now the oldest registered brand in Washington State. Upon marriage, the Schneblys divided their time between cattle raising and newspaper publishing in the state of Oregon and Walla Walla, Washington Territory. They moved to the Kittitas Valley in 1871 and ran cattle on the northeastern Kittitas Valley range and the Columbia Plain. In 1883, David returned to journalism, starting the Ellensburg Localizer, a paper whose lineage extends to today’s Ellensburg Daily Record. They raised a family of four children–Philip, Mary, Charles, and Jean. The four children of David and Margaretta Schnebly, upon marriage, began family lines that run deep through Ellensburg Rodeo history. Eldest son Philip H. married Eliza P. Cooke (ERHOF ’99); daughter Mary married Frederick F. Adams; Charles Schnebly married Louise Koepke; and youngest daughter Jean C. Schnebly married Judge John B. Davidson. Throughout the entire history of the Ellensburg Rodeo, the descendants of the four children of David and Margaretta Schnebly have shouldered the work of rodeo and fair volunteers. The first Schnebly family Rodeo Board member was Philip Adams (1924-29), who also served as Arena Director (1925-29). Fred Adams was a Rodeo Board member (1940) and Rufus Schnebly served as Rodeo Board member (1945-50) and President (1947-49). Frank Schnebly served on both the Rodeo Board (1946-50) and Fair Board (1938-58) and as Fair President (1939-58). Gene Barnhart was a Fair Board member (1952-90) and President (1971). Indeed, one of the most important facets of the Schnebly legacy is the family’s dedication to the alliance and friendship of both Fair and Rodeo Board members. Meanwhile, Hank Schnebly was the Ellensburg Rodeo’s first chute boss (1923-37) and later a pickup man for Ernie McEwen. Robert Schnebly and his twin brother Rufus were both charter members of the Ellensburg Rodeo Posse. The Schnebly family’s contributions have not been limited to volunteer work. Schnebly family cowboys have competed in both roughstock and timed events. Schnebly cowboys include bronc rider Fred Adams and five PRCA ropers–Ken Barnhart, Kevin Barnhart, JR Barnhart, and team-ropers Chuck and John Schnebly. Finally, there are the Schnebly family Rodeo Royalty, direct descendants of all four children of David and Margaretta Schnebly. Royal Court members were Princesses Lorraine Schnebly (1927), Edna May Schnebly Sadler (1939), Peggy Kern Brown (1966), and Bobbi Jo Burke Broderius (1986) and Queens Billy Lou Schnebly Parker (1939), Helen McGranahan Baker (1945), Sally Jo Schnebly Eckert (1946), Mary Adams Larkin (1957), Sandy Kern Bryan (1964), and Patti Burke (1981). Thus, the Schnebly family has left a great legacy to the Ellensburg Rodeo–a legacy that their descendants carry on this day.