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Rodeo Legends

Join us Saturday, September 2nd at our PRCA Rodeo where we will be introducing and honoring our 2023 Rodeo Legend inductees.

2022 Rodeo Legend Jim Vinti

Jim Vinti exemplifies the recognition criteria as it was revised in 2018 by the Fair Board.Initially the award was established in 2008 to primarily recognize professional rodeo contestants from the Walla Walla Valley; however, the Fair Board later recognized that non-contestants also make and have made significant contributions to the rodeo event in many ways.Although he has not participated in the arena as a PRCA contestant, to some, he is as easily recognizable there as Trevor Brazile, and definitely is someone who is committed to and contributes to the success of the Walla Walla Fair and Frontier Days Rodeo and upholds the cowboy culture of the Walla Walla Valley, as specified to be considered for this honor.

Jim was born and raised here, exhibited cattle at the Fair in 4-H and FFA, served as an officer in both organizations, and as a county livestock judging team member.Later he was a 4-H horse club leader and an assistant Horse Superintendent for the Fair, as well as assisting briefly with the Fair Court.After being a member of the Junior Wagon Wheelers in his youth, he then assisted Don Johnson with the group for some years.He enjoyed team roping in his younger years, and up until a few years ago, after a serious accident for which he was hospitalized, he continued to ride horses for pleasure and to compete in team penning events, at which he was quite successful.His saddle collection includes his first saddle, made by Montgomery Ward, a few Hamleys, a Billy Cook, and others. He still farms, primarily raising hay and wheat, and until recently, always kept a herd of cattle.He has provided hay and straw for the Fair livestock, as well as one of the old tractors for display on the fairgrounds and in the parade.

As a member of the Walla Walla Team Penners, he and Dick Moeller, former Fair Board Director and current Walla Walla Frontier Days Foundation Board member, headed up the project to repaint the Expo Building.Currently this Legend is also a member of the Walla Walla County Cattlemen's Association and the Walla Walla Wagon Wheelers.

Although he has no children of his own, he adores all kids and along with buying anything they are selling for school, etc., he has financially supported our youth market stock sale for decades.

If he sees something that needs to be done, he does it, or if asked to help, he is there in a heartbeat. In 2021, after a year's hiatus, some volunteers were missing for arena work, so this Legend jumped in to help at the far end of the arena with the roping calves and steers after performances at night and during slack, along with his "other job".For well over 20 years – starting out untying roping calves -- he has been invaluable to several Fair Board members with rodeo responsibilities, as he knows cattle and horses and knows how to achieve arena conditions that contestants need to successfully compete.In fact, his experience has contributed to our rodeo twice winning the award, presented at the National Finals Rodeo, for "Best Footing", which is decided by barrel racers – definitely a tough group to please.In addition, he has provided pasture for the rodeo bucking horses for many years – a nice break for them from dusty corrals and much appreciated by the stock contractor.In 2018 he was honored to be chosen as the parade marshal for the Walla Walla Fair and Frontier Days.We are honored to add Mr. Jim Vinti as a 2022 Rodeo Legend.

2022 Rodeo Legend GL Longgood

Although GL Longgood did not have the opportunity to practice roping until he was in college, he became a PRCA gold card member.He competed and won in all the timed-events, but won the most in calf-roping and team-roping.One year he won enough money at the Calgary Stampede to put a down payment on his first home, where he built a lighted arena.He needed the lights, as he worked full-time for the phone company.He was gone most weekends to rodeos, and the lights allowed him to practice roping long into the night on week nights.

He has deep roots in the community.He grew up in Walla Walla with two brothers.His mother was from Dayton and his father from Starbuck.Although he grew up in town, GL spent much of his time around ranchers, farmers and animals. While in high-school he worked at the Prescott farm Co-op.And, in turn for fixing up small pieces of property, he was able to keep cattle and hogs, which he showed at fairs around the state.

One of the most important things GL learned in life is the power of positive visualization.Learning positive visualization enabled him to turn a good rodeo career into becoming the Columbia Circuit Calf-Roping Champion in 1978 and 1980.He also won a number of team ropings with long-time friend and team roping partner, Dick Kelly.GL credits much of his success in life from what he learned working with animals and rodeoing.He learned life skills as well as rodeo skills from his long-time mentor, Curtis Tarwater.He also spent many hours learning from other local legends and national rodeo champions including John W. Jones and Tom Ferguson.

If asked what he’s most proud of, GL would include his rodeo accomplishments on the list, but they wouldn’t be at the top.Instead, he’d tell you he’s most proud of his family, the horses he trained and the kids he coached while coaching the Walla Walla Community College Rodeo Team.

GL is a good hand with a horse.He trained all his own horses and sold a few also.One year he had 6 horses with his brand competing at the Pendleton Roundup, and several of his bull-dogging horses also competed at the NFR.Several of his step-daughters are also good hands.Kris trained a number of barrel horses that have done well at futurities and at PRCA rodeos.Tracy was Queen of the Walla Walla Fair court, and her daughter, Meadow, is currently one of the Milton-Freewater Posse Royalty.

GL is an innate coach, able to give pointers and suggestions in a manner that uniquely fits the person requesting help.This, along with his talent and many years’ experience rodeoing in the PRCA made him a good candidate to do what he always wanted to do, follow in Curtis Tarwater’s footsteps coaching the WWCC Rodeo Team.However, he believed it was the things he did outside the arena that made him a good coach.Being a good role model and helping the kids get a good education, including helping them get scholarships and get accepted at 4-year colleges.He also tried to teach them that if they work hard and respect others, they will always find good people to help them.GL coached both the men’s and women’s team to the division title each year, and one year winning the Reserve Team Championship at the National College Rodeo.

These days GL splits his time between Walla Walla and St. George, UT.He enjoys chopping wood and keeping his wood shed full while he’s in Walla Walla.In St. George he golfs and hikes in the red cliffs with his dogs and his wife, Julie-Mae.

We are honored to add Mr GL Longgood as a 2022 Rodeo Legend!

2022 Rodeo Legend Jake Stephens

Born in Walla Walla, Washington, Jake Stephens learned from a very young age that he was born to be a cowboy… in a rodeo family. He started at age two -- throwing a rope at everything and anything. He learned that you could even rope chickens, especially heeling them. He could rope them all day unless he headed, then game over, they died. He started riding at age four when he got his pony, Amigo. Both riding and roping came very natural to him.

Throughout his school years he roped at Little Britches, Junior, Amateur and High School rodeos. He earned his PRCA card while still in High School.

Harley Tucker Rodeo Co was the inspiration to the beginning of our legend and his families rodeo company. This process started before our legend was born. Being from a large family and with three older brothers, the seed was planted, and the inspiration was becoming a reality. Dad and Mom, Barney and Eppie, purchased C&E Rodeo Co of Cody WY and the process of growing and operating a Pro Rodeo company was in the making.

Walla Walla and Joseph Rodeos were the two first Pro Rodeos they put on and this Legend picked up with his brothers, Bob, Bill, and Fred. In fact, he started picking up at age 12 and continued picking up until he was 43. Some rodeos he picked up at include The Cow Palace, Ogden, Phoenix, Dodge National Circuit Finals and Idaho Cowboys Association Finals.

Age 18 Jake started fighting bulls when a bull fighter got hurt at the Salem, Oregon State Fair and Rodeo. He was asked by Jerry Mariluch to take over the remaining seven performances. He continued fighting bulls for six more years, which included four years at the Walla Walla Rodeo.

In 1978, Jake was privileged to rope with Dee Picket at the Wilderness Circuit Finals where they won the average. At this same rodeo, he was voted in to fight bulls and be the pickup man at the finals. This proved that this legend was good at his job!

In the 80s, Jake secured a contract for the Stephens Brothers Rodeo Company to provide the stock at the Pendleton Round Up and continued to earn the contract for ten more years. Their famous bucking bull, HiFi’s head is mounted and displayed in the Let’er Buck room.

In 1985, he received one of his most memorable honors working in the rodeo industry, being asked to be one of the two Pickup men to work the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.

Jake can be seen in the May 1987 issue of Playboy. You can use your imagination, but pretty sure the paint horses got more coverage!!

Throughout his years of rodeoing, he has won many awards, gained many friendships and memories that will last forever.

In 1998, Jake sustained a traumatic brain injury, while riding and training outdoor horse. He was in a coma for many days and after countless years of therapy, this accident forever changed his life. With the same passion and love to live the western lifestyle, he knew he wanted to stay involved in rodeo. At this time, he was asked by the PRCA head of judging to become a PRCA judge. He accepted and judged hundreds of rodeos throughout many states for 15 years.

Today, he still loves the style of life he lived for so many years, but in a different way. He is always up for gathering and branding whenever asked. He looks forward to helping on the Grandi Ranch in Weiser, ID, helping Dusty Youren, in NV, along with others in Washington, where her currently lives and other neighboring states.

While on this ride called “life” you have to take the good with the bad. Smile when you’re sad. Love what you’ve got and remember what you had. Always forgive. But never forget. Learn from your mistakes. But never regret. People change. Things go wrong. Just remember: The ride goes on.

We are honored to present Jake Stephens as a 2022 Rodeo Legend Inductee.

Past Rodeo Legends

Walla Walla Frontier Days
Rodeo Legends

This award began in 2008 to honor the Cowboys and Cowgirls of our valley who have participated as a contestant in the Walla Walla Fair & Frontier Days arena, exemplified the "cowboy way of life" and had the courage and stamina to blaze a trail for future generations.

GL Longood
Jim Vinti
Jake Stephens

2020 & 2021
Ned Londo
Terri Norwick
Bernard Moro

Bob Tallman
John Growney
Sonny Hansen

Darrell Mayberry
Joe Bronkhurst
Tim Corfield

Brent Palmer
Kelli Currin
Brad Gleason

Pam Talbot Thompson
Rocky Robbins
Leland Kelly

Judy Frazier
C.R. "Bud" Schubert
Monte Thomas

Joe Bergevin
Tom Bergevin
Bob Sorey

Lee Pennell
Dewey Drumheller
Dick Kelly

Ken Frazier
Ron Miller
Ted Millgard

Damase Bergevin
Bob Frazier
Joe Talbot, Sr.

Howard Barnes
Don Parsons
Francis Stiller

Charmaine Beck
Frank Curcio
Curtis Tarwater

Shirley Dickerson
Gene Hassler
Chuck Maiden
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