Celebrating heritage

Posted on October 19th in Feature Story

The Burns Paiute Tribe hosted a pow wow at the Harney County Fairgrounds on Saturday, Oct. 15 as part of its Reservation Day celebration. (Photo by TAMMY DOWNS)

Pat of all trades

Posted on October 19th in Feature Story

Horlacher works with an engraving ball in his workshop. (Submitted photos)

Pat Horlacher of rural Harney County enjoys engraving silver, shoeing horses and jiu-jitsu, among other things

By Debbie Raney
Burns Times-Herald

What do jiu-jitsu, shoeing horses and engraving silver all have in common? They are all three passions of Pat Horlacher.

Two and one-half years ago, Horlacher and his wife, Kailin, were a young married couple deciding what path they wanted to take in their lives together. They had friends who were planning to relocate in Harney County, and this was a possibility the Horlachers were considering as well, which would mean leaving Corvallis.

“It was one of those deals where we had to decide which lifestyle we wanted,” said Pat.

On their way home from the Jordan Valley Rodeo, the Horlachers stopped in at Jett Blackburn Realty and they were shown a home on Buchanan Road that fit what they wanted. Within a month they had moved, beating their friends to Harney County.

Pat grew up in Eastern Washington, and had made his living starting colts, day working on ranches and shoeing horses. This line of work continued when he moved to Corvallis to be close to Kailin. This is where he was first introduced to jiu-jitsu, receiving martial arts classes as gifts from Kailin’s family.

While Pat was still in high school, he was working for friends in John Day. During his stay he met silversmith Ernie Marsh, and was in awe of the work that Marsh created. He longed to own a scarf slide that Marsh had made that cost $120, but he had to settle for purchasing his second choice, a slide that cost $60.

His first opportunity to learn something about the silversmithing trade was offered to him by John and Jerri Hyde. The Hydes own Yamsi Leather and Silver in Chiloquin, and create custom silver creations that are famous throughout the northwest. After spending time with the Hydes, Pat was hooked.

In 2000, he applied for and was awarded a scholarship from the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association.

One of the members who offered their time and knowledge to students was Marsh. Pat had five days to spend under Marshes guidance — a fledgling silversmith’s dream come true. He said in those five days he learned the intricacies of high-relief engraving and the basics of bit and spur building. Pat was off and running.


An example of Pat Horlacher’s silversmithing.

Pat said he sees similarities between the coordination skills needed in shoeing horses and those needed to engrave silver. “Your left hand is your smart hand, it moves the engraving ball. Your right hand is the stupid hand, it just holds the tool.”

Although he insists he has no artist talent, many of Pat’s designs take a fresh, original spin on tradition.

He said silversmiths never want to replicate each other’s work. “We may take a general idea, but we put our own twist to it.” After making an assortment of items, from buckle sets to earrings to a rodeo queen’s crown, Pat said his favorite items to build are horn caps and pendants.

Starting on flat sheets of 6- or 8-inch sliver, Pat begins each project by cutting his silver with custom-made dies. Then, depending on the size and shape of his project, he may spend two or more hours just on fabrication. Once the piece is shaped and fired, he pencils out a rough outline of his chosen engraving design and begins the detail work. He said he can spend six to eight hours working on a single piece, but some projects may take longer. The queen’s crown took Pat four days work to get the shape perfected and to make the pattern. He said he ended up raiding Kailin’s kitchen cabinets to find objects that he could trace for the shape he desired.

Just outside of Pat’s workshop door sets a makeshift training facility, complete with weights and punching bag. When he’s not using his silversmithing tools, he can turn to the tools he uses for his jiu-jitsu and grappling passion. Both require commitment and fortitude to be successful, and Kailin put it best when she said Pat is, “very dedicated.”

He goes back to Corvallis twice a month to take care of his horseshoeing clients there, and Kailin has started her own business selling handmade purses and wild-rags. Together they hope to expand their careers and make a permanent home in Harney County for themselves, their daughter, Grace, and the baby they are expecting next spring.

“We’re living the dream,” said Pat.

Photos of Pat’s silver work and Kailin’s wildrags are online on his Facebook page.

Banton named fair queen

Posted on September 14th in Feature Story

The 2012 Harney County Fair Queen Kiely Banton.

Elizabeth Davis

Elizabeth Davis works on her family ranch and likes to play sports at CUHS

Hello, my  name is Elizabeth Davis. I am 16 years old and a junior at Crane Union High School. My parents are Paul and Toni Davis.

When I’m not attending school, I’m normally working on the Alvord Ranch — riding, roping and just helping out. I live on the Alvord Ranch, which is located below the tallest peak on the east side of the Steens Mountain.

I have four older siblings — Justin, who is the oldest of all of us, and then the triplets, Cody, Matt and Kailee. The triplets also attend Crane Union High School.

In the past I have participated and played in sports, such as volleyball and wrestling. I also participate in FFA, and am currently the Crane FFA Chapter treasurer. In FFA I am mostly involved in the livestock judging, soil judging, parliamentary procedure, speeches and ag sales, to name just a few.

When participating in FFA, it teaches us many qualities, such as leadership. This is one of the qualities I have to give, along with my people skills and the way I will represent our county with my great respect for it.

Becoming the Harney County Fair, Rodeo and Race Meet queen would be an honor to me, because I’d be able to represent the county I grew up in.

Thank you for your time, and I hope to see you at the Harney County Fair.

Kiely Banton

Kiely Banton will be the 2011-12 vice president of her FFA chapter at BHS

Hello, my name is Kiely Banton. I am 16 years old, and a junior at Burns High School. I am the proud child of Kris and Christi Banton, and I have a brother and a sister. I am involved in FFA, church activities, cross country and helping out wherever needed.

I have had the opportunity to be the 2010-11 Burns FFA Chapter secretary and the 2011-12 chapter vice president. In this amazing organization I have been privledged to participate in many judging events, write and present many speeches and have been able to work with animals on a daily basis.

This year’s fair will be very positive, hectic and the best week of fair I have been able to participate in, all because of an amazing opportunity called Rodeo Court. I am so excited to be able to take part in this endeavor this year. My horse, Tabby, and I have been together for four years on and off. We have both learned a tremendous amount about each other, and how to improve at riding, thanks to Sallianne Kelly.

I would like to represent Harney County as the 2012 Harney County Rodeo Queen, with the help of my main gal, Tabby. If I have the honor of being crowned queen, I will bring a number of positive attributes to the arena. I have the responsibility, character and positive attitude needed to represent Harney County to the best of my ability. I am also a very organized, happy person, who is able to speak to the public of all ages.

Being crowned the 2012 Harney County Rodeo Queen would mean the world to me, and I would love to have the opportunity to represent Harney County across the state.

Coming home

Posted on August 17th in Feature Story

Ashes of railroad worker are returned to the community he loved

Frank Tomoaki Eki runs a Caterpillar while helping build the Oregon and Northwestern Railroad lines. (Submitted photo)

By Debbie Raney
Burns Times-Herald

Ties can bind us to communities, towns and people for a lifetime — and sometimes beyond.

On Aug. 8, Frank Tomoaki Eki’s family brought his ashes back to Harney County, the place where they said, “his heart always was.” In honor of his years here, Eki’s remains will forever be a part of the railroad.

Eki was born in Portland in 1912. At the age of 3, his father died and he was moved to Japan to be raised by his grandmother. In 1926, at the age of 14, he returned to Portland, where he attended school to learn English. He then began working to support himself, his mother and his sister.

In 1937 he married his wife, Betty Nakashima. Eki and his wife owned and operated a grocery store.

Four years later, in 1941, the Eki’s lives would be forever changed when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor.

An Executive Order issued by the U.S. government required all persons of Japanese decent in the Portland area to report with only the possessions they could carry to an assembly center at the Portland Stockyards. Eki, his wife and son, Douglas, stayed at the assembly center until they were sent to an internment camp in Tule Lake, Calif.

Though prisoners in the camps were paid a small wage for work they performed, Eki’s family said that he was always concerned about providing a better living. When an opportunity arose to move to Harney County to work for the Oregon and Northwestern Railroad, he volunteered. This was in 1943.

His wife remembers that when the family first moved to the Trout Creek railroad maintenance camp for Edward Hines Lumber Company, they lived in a house with no running water or electricity. These conditions soon changed, thanks to the wife of Harry Dewey, the mill’s sales manager. Betty said, “When Mrs. Dewey got electricity, she said, ‘Betty needs electricity.’ And when she got a new cookstove, she said, ‘Betty needs a new cookstove.’” They were also provided with lumber to build a new home, which Eki did on his own time.

According to his family, in spite of still being considered “prisoners,” Eki was treated as an equal by everyone, except his foreman. A letter penned by Betty to Edward Hines detailing the behavior resulted in the firing of the foreman, which opened another door for Eki. He was promoted to the maintenance foreman position, and eventually became the roadmaster.

When the four Eki children were old enough to attend school, they traveled to Burns. Betty said that during the winter the kids left home each morning in the dark and came home each evening in the dark. She jokes, “I didn’t know whose kids I had until the weekend when I could see them in the daylight.”

Eki and his family spent 25 years at the Trout Creek camp, and another 25 years in Burns. During those 50 years, over 30 were spent working for the railroad. After moving to Gresham in 1993, he returned to Harney County, when he could, to visit with old friends.

When Eki died in October 2010, his family said they weren’t sure at first what to do with his ashes.

Then, this spring it was decided to bring him back to the community that he had loved.

On Aug. 8, his 96-year-old wife, his daughter and his son-in-law spread Eki’s ashes along portions of the old Oregon and Northwestern Railway. Sixty-eight years after first coming to Harney County to improve his family’s life, Eki’s family showed him the same love by bringing him home.

Building boats

Posted on August 10th in Feature Story

A youth attempts to paddle a tule boat in the water. (Submitted photo.)

By Randy Parks
Burns Times-Herald

If you build it, it will float. (Hopefully).

Fourteen youths from the Burns Paiute Reservation traveled to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge (MNWR) to build tule boats as part of the tribe’s Culture Preservation program.

The group arrived at the refuge about 9 a.m. and spent the next few hours making ropes from cattails and tying the tules together.

Carla Burnside, archaeologist at MNWR, helped coordinate the event and instructed the kids on boat construction.

By early afternoon the boats were ready and the kids took turns testing their sea-worthiness.

Looking to the past

Posted on July 27th in Feature Story,News

Library offers genealogy resources with Western History Room, oral histories

The Claire McGill Luce Western History Room offers an extensive array of resources for those researching family histories. (Photo by TAMMY DOWNS)

By Tammy Downs
Burns Times-Herald

Preserving one’s family history doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task if you have great resources on hand.

For those who have roots in Harney County, or are just interested in researching some of Harney County’s history, a great place to begin is at the Harney County Library.

The library is home to the Claire McGill Luce Western History Room, which is a unique resource available to  anyone wanting to learn about local and regional history.

The library has more than 150 individual and family history files, including diaries and genealogical information relating to past and current residents of Harney County. Other genealogical resources include indexes of birth, death and marriage announcements dating from the late 1800s, and the Harney County cemetery records. Also available are census records of Harney County from 1880 to 1930 and burial listings for all of the cemeteries in Harney County.

The library is also home to the Chester and Helen Felt Oral History Recording Room. This is a sound insulated recording room, that is equipped with the latest digital technology for recording interviews.

The recording room is available for public use, free of charge, with the assistance of library staff.

Appointments for recording oral history interviews can be made by contacting the Western History Room.

Currently, there are more than 500 oral histories focusing on Harney County settlements and pioneers available. The oral history project began in the 1970s, and continues to add new interviews with Harney County residents.

The Western History Room also provides three computers and a printer for research use, along with work tables and a comfortable reading area. Access to www.Ancestry.com is provided on one of the dedicated research computers in the room.

The library also provides access to historic photographs of Burns and Hines and the people and communities of Harney County. Early history on a few of the old houses in Burns has also been documented.

A small collection of genealogy information from different counties and states can also be found at the library. Other references available are various magazines on genealogy, including family chronicles.

Karen Nitz is the primary archivist for the collection and is available to help library patrons until 5 p.m. during regular library hours. The Western History Room is open Saturdays and evenings by request. Visitors outside of regular hours are welcome with advance notice.

The library staff encourages people to record oral histories. Once family members have died, the history or stories they could tell will be gone if it hasn’t been documented.

How do you start? According to www.family search.org the following are the beginning steps:

• Identify what you know about your family.
• Decide what you want to learn about your family.
• Select records to search.
• Obtain and search the record.
• Use the information.

For more information about the resources available in the Western History Room contact Karen Nitz at westernroom@harneycountylibrary.org, call 541-573-6670, or go to the library’s website www.

About 150 residents attended barbecue, which featured music and pingpong race

Residents feast on barbecue at the Harney County Community Center building during a community appreciation event on July 8. (Photo by RANDY PARKS)

By Randy Parks
Burns Times-Herald

After several years of fund raising and grant writing, the Harney County Opportunity Team (HCOT) celebrated paying off the construction of the Harney County Community Center with a community appreciation barbecue on Friday, July 8.

About 150 people attended the event that included live music by the Appirations, free hot dogs and hamburgers, a pingpong ball race and the announcement of HCOT’s next project.

The community center got its start in 2004 when former congressman Bob Smith and his wife, Kay, donated the building to HCOT, a non-profit organization.

Over the next few years, HCOT concentrated on raising funds for the project, which was estimated to cost in the neighborhood of $800,000.

HCOT member Linda Johnson stated that major contributors to the project included the Ford Family Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, Oregon Community Foundation, Autzen Foundation, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, Jeld-Wen Foundation, Ann and Bill Swindells Charitable Trust and the Henry Hillman Jr. Foundation.

The county and the John Scharff Migratory Bird Festival also made significant donations, as well as the communities whose names grace the outside of the building.

Even though HCOT didn’t have all the funds needed to complete the project, the contractor agreed to go ahead and get started and let the funding catch up.

Construction on the building began in January 2008, and the center opened in December 2008, housing the  Harney County Chamber of Commerce.

In 2009, HCOT still owed more than $100,000 and they then started a “Cap-Off Campaign” to have the funds raised by the end of 2010.

In January 2011, Cycle Oregon put HCOT over the top with a grant of $35,000.

Johnson said the center has been a real help in economic development, as it allows a spot for meetings and special events, including weddings, proms and banquets.

With the community center now paid off, HCOT is now focusing on its next project: turning the vacant lot at the corner of East A Street and North Broadway Avenue into a plaza.

The lot was donated to HCOT by Bill and Ulaberl Allen, and HCOT member Bill Wilber noted that the organization is extremely grateful for their generosity.

Wilber said he is working with the School of Architecture at the University of Oregon to get plans for the plaza. He said they hope to get a student or two from the landscape division of the school to come to town for a few days and get input as to what HCOT wants and then draw up the plan.

Initial ideas for the plaza include a living community Christmas tree, picnic tables, sidewalk, statues and maybe an amphitheater.

Fund-raising plans for the plaza are already under way, and HCOT hopes to have a design ready by late fall, with work to start in the spring.

Bill Andersen says he inherited a great staff and is bringing back shrimp cocktail

By Tammy Downs
Burns Times Herald

For the past 32 years Bill Andersen has lived in Harney County, where he was employed with the Bureau Land Management. He recently started looking for a new career opportunity.

When he realized that the Pine Room, a local restaurant and lounge, was for sale, he purchased it.

Bill Andersen stands outside the Pine Room with his daughter, Summer. He plans to make a few changes to the menu but would like to maintain the restaurant’s legacy of offering fine dining in a classy atmosphere.

The Pine Room has had a reputation of offering fine dining in Harney County for many years. Andersen said he is very excited to be part of “a successful business with a long tradition of good food and good atmosphere.”

Andersen is new to running a restaurant but not new to owning his own business. In the past, he has been the owner of two businesses, and he has years of experience dealing with the public.

He said he knows good food, and he knows what good service is. He also added, “I was lucky and inherited a really good staff.”

This new venture works out well with Andersen’s 12-year-old daughter, Summer. She gets to be part of this business with her dad and help out.

After purchasing the Pine Room, Andersen did a little research and asked local folks what they would like to see added to the menu. One thing people agreed on was they missed the shrimp cocktail that came with the dinners, so that was added back in.

There have been a few changes to the menu —  meal salads have been added, fresh homemade bread is baked daily and there is a different homemade soup each day.

Andersen’s goal is to have a seafood special once a week, and there will be a prime rib special every Friday and Saturday night.

They will not be serving breakfast regularly but are looking into having a breakfast brunch once a month.

The majority of the meat used at the Pine Room will be purchased from Buermann’s Ranch Meats, a local business.

Andersen has been looking into adding entertainment such as cowboy poetry.

The lounge is a full service bar, and patrons have the option of ordering food in there as well.

The lounge is always hopping when there is a rodeo or an event in town, beginning with the Harney County Ranch Rodeo on Saturday, July 9. The Pine Room will be featuring a live band after the rodeo.

The Pine Room also offers a banquet room, which Andersen has plans to remodel and upgrade. It can be reserved for receptions, Christmas parties or meetings, and in the future, there may be an option to have parties catered.

Currently, reservations are not required for nightly dining. And you can always call in and place an order to go.

The Pine Room is located at 543 West Monroe and can be reached at 541-573-2673.

The restaurant is open for dinner from 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and the lounge opens at 4 p.m.

Liquor store expands

Posted on June 29th in Feature Story

Move allows for more square footage, inventory

By Randy Parks
Burns Times-Herald

Owners Bob and Sonja McDannel are excited to offer a greater variety of mixers, beer and high-end liquors as well as snacks. (Photos by RANDY PARKS)

A good businessman knows an opportunity when he sees one.

After operating the Burns-Hines Liquor Store for more than eight years in an adequate, but cramped, space in the Ponderosa Village, owners Bob and Sonja McDannel saw an opportunity when a space just a couple of doors down became vacant.

Being able to envision the possibilities, the McDannels made the move into the larger space and the result has been pretty much a complete transformation.

The inventory has been expanded to include a wide variety of mixers, beer, high-end liquors, cigarettes, cigars, snacks and an exclusive wine selection. “We’ll carry what people in Harney County want,” McDannel said. “If we don’t have it, all they have to do is ask for it and we’ll get it if we can.”

The expansion has meant adding two more employees, including store manager Toni Ford. “She’s in charge,” laughed McDannel. “I’ll just pop in every now and then to see how things are going.”

Toni Ford, the Burns-Hines Liquor Store manager stands in front of the business’ new selection of wines.

Ford brings expertise to the store’s wine selection, and her enthusiasm is contagious.

Ford said she grew up in wine country in the Sierra Nevada foothills, worked in a wine tasting room while in college and continued her education serving fine wines in the restaurant industry.

Using the knowledge she has gained, Ford has put together a wine selection she hopes will appeal to everyone, and to everyone’s budget.

Ford said there are plans to hold monthly wine tasting events to introduce new wines and what foods go well with them. “Wine and food go together and this is a chance for people to experience that,” Ford said. “It’s also fun for people who are willing to try new wines.”

In addition, the store will have a bulletin board posting featured wines and recipe ideas to go along with them.

Ford is also working with 90+ Wines in Burns to form a Wine Appreciation Club, which would not be affiliated with the businesses, but rather  private gatherings for wine aficionados.

Both McDannel and Ford stressed that the wine selection was made with the attempt to not duplicate what was already available in town. “We have labels that people probably haven’t heard of, including New World wines from South America and high-quality Northwest wines,” Ford said. “We want to enhance the wine selection in the community, and if we don’t have what someone is looking for, we can recommend other businesses, like 90+ Wines, that might have it.”

McDannel stated that with the larger inventory, he hopes people will view the store as a one-stop shopping place.

As another convenience, the store has expanded hours, open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

“We moved because we wanted to improve the business,” McDannel said. It would appear the mission was accomplished.

Whaddya Think?

Which is your favorite Sunday afternoon activity?
  • Watching football (35%)
  • Taking a walk/drive (20%)
  • Napping (18%)
  • Reading (14%)
  • Baking (9%)
  • Playing family games (4%)

85 total vote(s)

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Destination Harney County

Destination Harney County 2012


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