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Smokey Flegel: 2001 Crooked River Roundup Grand Marshal

S.S. "Smokey" Flegel developed an appetite for the sport of rodeo at an early age. He is one of ten children raised on a farm in North Dakota, near the town of Kulm. Smokey and his older brother Elliott left the farm, swam the Missouri River on horseback, and headed west when they were in their teens. The two brothers worked and entered every rodeo they possibly could in pursuing their dream of competing in the arena full time.
   By the age of 21 Smokey was beginning to excel in four rodeo events; saddle bronc, bareback, bull riding and the wild horse race. It was at this time World War II broke out and he was drafted and ended up serving his country in the armed forces.
   Smokey was assigned to the 80th Infantry Division in the Intelligence and Reconnaissance Platoon. In his three and one-half years of service he gained the rank of Staff Sergeant and was awarded the Bronze Star for bravery, going beyond the call of duty in saving the life of a fellow soldier.
   After military service Smokey once again began to pursue the competition and lifestyle of the rodeo circuit. Working a variety of jobs he supported his renewed goal of excelling in rodeo, primarily working on ranches throughout the Pacific Northwest.
   He won several events and saw a lot of country during these years but one accomplishment seems to be a highlight. Smokey and two companions won the wild horse race at the Cheyenne Frontier Days in 1946.
   In 1949 Smokey married Beulah (Bussey) and they will celebrate 52 years together this March. He was considered a serious competitor in his years of rodeo involvement but his life was about to take a more serious turn. His children Virginia, Mardel, Karyn and Dusty required greater stability than what the pursuit of rodeo had to offer. Consequently he started driving truck and worked for a variety of local companies, including Warren Raymond, R.L. Thompson and Tom Scott.
   In 1954 Smokey and Beulah started what became S.S. Flegel Trucking Company. From a one truck operation in 1954 the company grew to 50 power units in 1996 - (It was at this time the family sold the company).
   Throughout the years, from 1945 to present, Smokey has never missed attending and supporting the Crooked River Roundup - he's an avid fan.
   In 1971 Smokey began team roping again as a hobby and soon began to put into it a great deal of effort. At the age of 74 (in 1994) he qualified for the Senior Pro Rodeo National Finals held annually in Reno Nevada.
   Smokey has a zeal for life, he honors God, loves his family and is a true Crook County Cowboy. He is certainly overwhelmed to be selected as Grand Marshall of this year's Roundup.
   Over the years he feels the Roundup Board of Directors have done an excellent job putting on the Crooked River Roundup. Smokey, with others in the community, salute the Roundup Board and all the many businesses and volunteers that make the annual event possible.