CHESAW – Katherin Tracy, a true daughter of the Okanogan Highlands, has been chosen as Grand Marshal of this year’s Chesaw Fourth of July Rodeo.
Known to most people at this end of the valley as “Kay,” or “Mrs. Sutton” to those she taught at Oroville Elementary, Katherin (Sherling, Sutton) Tracy grew up near Molson. She attended the Lone Star School on Mary Anne Creek for her first two years, riding horseback the two miles with her brother Kal. The next six years she attended the Molson School, later moving to Omak where she graduated in 1938.
After high school she married Bill Sutton and they moved to the Molson area to farm with her family, the Sherlings. In 1944 they moved to Chesaw and it was then that her husband became a charter member of the Chesaw Rodeo Club.
“In those days there were no benches/bleachers so people sat or leaned on the fences that formed the arena,” said the Grand Marshal through her daughter Sharron Cox, who supplied the information for this article.
The Grand Marshal recalls that wild horses were rounded up by local ranchers and they also provided cows for the various events.
Kay managed the rodeo hamburger stand which was across the street from Mack’s store. She recalls the entire celebration was done by volunteers, much as it is today. In those early years she even played piano for many of the dances.
At age 46 she entered Eastern Washington University and in 1968 she started her ten-year career of teaching at Oroville. She retired from teaching to marry Glenn Tracy, the man she met at a Chesaw Fourth of July Rodeo dance that summer. It was an exciting time for her, traveling and following Glenn’s employment.
Although she lives in Tonasket now at North Valley Extended Care, she can often be seen at events that take place in the highlands, and recently attended the Molson Midsummer Festival with family members by her side.