Men of the rodeo world here for Lewiston’s 15th annual roundup had one fair young woman performer in their midst at Roundup park yesterday.
Lending a note of genuine feminine grace to the comings and goings of waddies at work along the main line of box stalls back of the arena was Edith Happy, 23-year-old trick-rider from Newhall, Calif. Edith is here with her husband, Don Happy, bulldogger and son of Mr. and Mrs. H. L. Happy, 1001 Elm St., Clarkston, to perform at the shows today, tomorrow and Sunday.
Don and Edith pulled in at Mammy and Pappy Happy’s on Elm street early this week with their horse and house trailers well-equipped for the ten months of rodeo life they lead each year.
Show in 11 States
They start their season of weekend shows throughout the 11 western states at Palm Springs, Calif., early in February.
“We have only been home five weekends so far this year,” Edith said. “We try to get two months’ rest during the winter.”
Their traveling companions are their two horses, the black mare, Lady, ridden by Edith; Don’s registered quarter horse, Banjo; and their two dogs, a Dalmatian called Pinky and an Australian sheep dog, Porky.
Edith was hard at work yesterday morning around the two box stalls assigned to Lady and Banjo at Roundup park. Don was due back from Walla Walla any minute where he had gone to get his grandmother, Mrs. L. A. Happy, so she could be here with the family for a reunion over the roundup weekend. With the arrival of Mr. and Mrs. Dick Baker (Fran Happy and her husband) from Pomeroy, the reunion will be complete.
Lady was getting a wash-down from Don’s brother, Vic, here from Pomeroy with his wife and son, 5-year-old Ralph, for the family visit and roundup’s show.
Edith was in her working clothes of ordinary cotton plaid shirt, blue jeans, boots and hand-tooled leather belt; regulation everyday garb for both men and women who follow the rodeo circuit as Edith and Don do.
While Lady was getting her bath, Edith was at work with her rigging.
For contrast, against Lady’s shinny black coloring, Edith treats her saddle with ordinary white shoe polish. She was giving it a brush up. It does rub off, she said, on her clothing, but it’s a satisfactory treatment for the nice effect it gives in the arena. Lady has white markings of her own to complete the scheme of black and white.
While she worked, Edith answered questions explaining how it is for a girl to hold up under the grind of continuous travel with her husband, their horses and dogs — making a home out of a house trailer in the meantime.
“We stop at hotels or motor courts during shows,” she said. “And, the trailer house has been comfortable enough at our home-location at Newhall. But “(and here Edith’s face lighted with a typical homemaker’s smile,)” we have an old house we are going to do over this winter. I’m looking forward to that.”
Don and Edith live, between shows, not far this side of Los Angeles in the oak-covered hill country where many western pictures are made. Don works the year around for Andy Jauregui, who supplies much of the stock used at this location by western picture producers.
Edith is a slender, supple person with a solid look to her waist and hipline from hours in the saddle but completely feminine and those who cheer her appearance from the grandstand.
Her blouse sleeves, which she designs herself because Edith likes to sew, are voluminously full. For the three shows she will work here, she will change colors each day, wearing a turquoise and fucshia combination one day, blue and gold another and red with chartreuse the third. Her vest and pants are always of one solid color to set off these flashing-flags of color her costume presents as she performs her fender drags and Roman stands.
“How did you happen to start exhibition rides?” she was asked.
Her blue eyes twinkled. “I married Don,” she said. That was in 1945 when they met in the north country near Seattle. Don will be remembered as a fullback on the Clarkston high school football team around the early 1930s. He later attended Washington State college at Pullman but his brother Vic says he was interested in horses and the career they led him into, long before his football days.
Waddies and their wives, on the grounds getting ready for today’s opening, passed and hailed Edith if she hadn’t hailed them first. “We meet at most all of the shows,” Edith said. “It amounts to the same thing as living in one community, like people do when they are settled.”
“But isn’t it hard to manage sometimes? How do you keep clean?”
“Rinse out what we can, send our laundry out and take a bath,” Edith replied, simply enough.
Then she looked beyond the row of box stalls with a warm smile for a lean, 6-foot-or-more cowhand striding toward her. He was wearing a black hat, jeans, boots and a shirt fitted to show the strong torso and well-muscled shoulders of a man who tosses bulls on their nose. His arms swung freely with evidence of a good grip to his hands.
‘Boss’ Is Greeted
It was Don, returned from, the trip to get his grandmother.’ Porky and Pinky, the dogs, rushed around to let him know they were glad he was back.
Banjo stuck his head out of the box stall and said, “Hello, boss.”
For his horses, his dogs and his wife, Don Happy is the handsomest man in the west; and for others who appraise him, he is typical of the clean-living, hard-riding men the west has reared.
Edith introduced her husband. Counting the dogs and the horses, the pun can’t be avoided. Together they do make “one big Happy family.”
This story was published in the Sept. 9, 1949, edition of the Lewiston Tribune.