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KING COUNTY POSSE

Silver Saddles on Golden Palominos

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Astride palomino horses and silver-mounted saddles, the famed King County Posse has ridden and performed in the Ellensburg Rodeo since 1943. Founded in 1941 as the King County Sheriff's Posse, the King County Posse has competed in precision drill competitions across the state, and was featured annually in the Seafair, Apple Blossom, Lilac, Portland Rose and Ellensburg Rodeo Parades. King County Posse members at one time held honorary sheriff commissions and badges, and had assisted in search and rescue operations aiding King County law enforcement officials.

The Ellensburg Rodeo forged a 1943 alliance with the posse, and a "King County Princess" has become an annual member of the Ellensburg Rodeo Royal Court. The Ellensburg Rodeo Posse and the King County Posse began a comraderie in 1943 that endures to this day.

The King County Posse riders still play a magor role in the opening ritual of the Ellensburg Rodeo. They ride in the Grand Entry and hold the honored job of 'posting' the American flag at the ends of the rodeo arena during the singing of the Star Spangled Banner.

The King County Posse had the honor of being inducted into the Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame on Thursday, September 1, 2005

 

 

 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1941 - The Posse was organized by Mr Wilfred Hall of Auburn and Mr Daniel Bekins of Seattle and was called the King County Sheriff's Posse.
The sheriff's office sponsored the Posse by making each member a commissioned deputy sheriff, subject to call only should an emergency arise of such importance that their services would ne needed.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
Throughout 1940's - western-style clothing was sewn for the Posse by Montana native, Irene Merrin. in 1958, Irene began designing and sewing shirts and caps for jockeys and exercise people at Longacres and became known to thoroughbred-racing fans as the "Longacres Shirt Lady" . She and her husband Howard owned some 30 race horses.
1943 - Spring - The Posse was offered a contract to perform at Western Washington State Fair provided an all-palomino team would show.

With only a little better than half the members owning palominos at the time, a contract was signed nonetheless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1943 Late Spring - Then Captain Wilfred Hall, Chuck Underwood, Chris Bewer, Art Meister, and Art Hughes boarded a plane bound for Billings Montana, where they selected several outstanding mounts to be re-sold to members in need of palominos.

 

Chuck Underwood

 

                              Chris Bewer                                                                                                                                Art Meister

 

                                         Elmer Sanford                                                                                                                        Herb Harmon

 

                                    Harry Jennings                                                                                                                            Pat Murphy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1943 Summer - Posse met once a week at the home of Drillmaster Floyd Albro in Auburn for drill practice and meetings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1943 Labor Day Weekend - The Posse was invited to perform at the Ellensburg Rodeo and horse show for a three-day celebration. This is when the Posse first was able to realize the fulfilment of their dream - to show an all-Palomino Posse.

 

1943 September - The Posse met their contract and performed at the Western Washington State Fair in Puyallup with an all-palomino team. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1944-1945 - Despite being wartime, a number of flag drills and other appearances were made at shows of different kinds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drill competition, Wenatchee, Washington

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lake City Pioneer Days Parade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1947 - Participated in the first annual Seattle Times Sportsmen's Show.

 

(Left to right:) Lieutenant Art Meister, Bob Albro, Dan Webster, Dick Brown, Russ Wright riding for Vic Johnson, Pat Murphy, Lieutenant Chick Underwood, Ivar Skjelkvale, Dwight Garrett, Cliff Swain, Bert Croshaw, Dan Bekins, Herb Harmon, Lieutenant Chris Brewer, Art Hughes, Dan Marriott, Drillmaster Floyd Albro, and Captain Wilfred Hall

 

 
 
1950 - Participated in first Seafair Grand Parade on August 12th which brought an estimated 250,000 spectators to downtown Seattle's Second and Third Avenues. The King County Posse has participated in every Seafair Parade since then.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Photo taken May 6, 1950 at the Centennial Day Parade on Capital Avenue in Olympia, Washington.
 
 
 
              
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  1960's - Performed at the Longacres Ractrack
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1970 - King County decided to be governed by an elected county executive and the position of sheriff was changed to Director of Safety, which was later changed to Sheriff and Director of Safety. The newly appointed Director of Safety being responsible personally for the actions of any deputies, changed the status of the posse to an honorary position and they became the King County Mounted Police, with membership no longer sworn in as Deputy Sheriffs.
 
 
1990 - First woman voted in as a member of the Posse.
 
 
 
2002 - No longer funded by the King County Sheriff's Office, the posse removed Sheriff from their name and became the "King County Posse".
 
 
 
 
 
2005 - Inducted into the Ellensburg Rodeo
 Hall  of   Fame.
 
 
 
 
 

 

A Family Tradition

 

Pictured Left to Right: Jon McKinnon, Chuck Brown, Lon Brown, Sarah (Brown) McKinnon, Scott Brown