Building Designer Rick Carr and I were discussing a client’s proposed building in Idaho today. 80 feet wide by 204 feet long, the building would have a 16 foot high sidewall. The client really wanted to have scissor trusses (trusses with an interior roof slope, which has a peak in the center). Given the dimensions and the request for the added height in the center, I asked Rick if the pole building was to be used for cattle roping.
While Rick was unsure, I advised if the client was using it for roping, to ask if he knew Justin Skaar. Justin is from Twin Falls, Idaho, and is a long time and well known non-pro roper. About 20 years ago, my company constructed a roping practice pole building for Justin.
Rick asked me if I remembered the names of everyone I had ever done a roping arena for, and I laughed and said no, just some of them.
This got me to thinking about a few of the more interesting clients I’ve dealt with over the past 30+ years. Here are some of them:
Larry Mahan – won the title of World All-Around Rodeo Champion for five consecutive years from 1966 to 1970, and a sixth time in 1973. His 1973 comeback and competition with Phil Lyne was the subject of the documentary The Great American Cowboy which won the 1973 Academy Award for Documentary Feature. Mahan was also World Bull Riding Champion in 1965 and 1967. He is the host of RFD TV’s Equestrian Nation. In the 1980’s we supplied two pole barn kit packages to Larry.
Jeff Lahti and Ken Dayley – each of these major league baseball relief pitchers got a pole building so they could throw indoors in the winter. Jeff (the righty) was with the St. Louis Cardinals for five seasons and was their “closer” in 1985. Ken (the lefty) pitched 11 major league seasons for the Braves, Cardinals and Blue Jays. His best seasons were 1985 and 1987, when he appeared with the Cards in the World Series (Ken was the winning pitcher of one of the 1985 games).
My all-time favorite is former NBA All-Star, Portland Trail Blazer Steve Johnson, who we provided a garage/shop building for. When my first born daughter Annie was alive, her favorite team was the Blazers. When we could get tickets, Annie and I had to be at the games early enough to walk courtside so she could get a perspective on which players were taller than her 6’5” dad.
Steve was an Oregon State University standout and was drafted in 1981 with the seventh pick by the Kansas City Kings. After stops with the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs, Steve arrived for Portland’s 1986-87 season in a trade for Larry Krystkowiak and Mychal Thompson.
My then ten year old daughter developed a major crush on Steve, and was heartbroken when she found out he was married. My daughter suffered from cystic fibrosis and the last time she was in the hospital, in 1989, Steve made a special trip to visit her in the hospital in Salem, certainly one of the highlights of her short life.
I could ramble on and on about others, famous and not so famous – but these are ones who have stuck in my memory.