The History of Hells Canyon Muledays
2016 Hells Canyon Mule Days Grand Marshal – Marvin Lovell
The Hurricane Creek Grange Hall was the setting for this year’s Grand Marshal’s Dinner, a gathering to give recognition to one of Wallowa County’s own. Marvin Lovell was born to Garrett Lovell and Evelyn Billerbeck Lovell on April 30, 1935 in Enterprise, Oregon and the world hasn’t been the same since.
Garrett and Evelyn ranched in the Zumwalt area where they ran cattle and started a family. When Evelyn passed away the family moved off the Zumalt ranch, and Garrett later married Susie Wisdom. The family lived in Imnaha for a short time before buying a ranch on Alder Slope.
In 1941 Marvin started first grade at the Rimrock School in Imnaha. When the family moved to the Valley he attended Hurricane School from second through eighth grades and attended Joseph High School for four years.
Later on, Marvin married Norma Zollman and together they had 3 children: Gary, Jackie & Sam. During the Korean conflict he served his country in the U.S. Army from October 1953 through 1955. Returning home to Enterprise he was employed by the Wallowa County Road Department for 15 years, and on weekends you could find him shearing sheep for local ranchers.
Marvin got acquainted with mules in 1947 when his father purchased 20 head.Around the same time, he and his brother Skip worked with their dad for Kenneth Hall and Ralph Fullington at the Wallowa Lake Pack Station. This was the start of many years of packing for other guides including Dick Tippett, Manford Isley, and Woody Mc Dowell. He also helped Evelyn and J. W. Fisher pack into Red’s Horse Ranch, taking many needed supplies for the ranch including grain and chickens.
Some of his best memories are of the good times he had when packing his family and friends into deer and elk camps in the areas of the Snake River, Minam, and the Imnaha.
Over the years, Marvin raised many good mules for himself and other people from a Spanish jack that he owned. He even used his mules to skid poles that were used to build the corrals on the Sam Loftus ranch.
Marvin purchased Baird’s Tavern in Wallowa in 1969 and the following year he married Evelyn Starr and they operated Baird’s Tavern through 1976. Good tales were told and no doubt the truth was stretched with many of the stories told by locals and visiting hunters and fishers.
In 1986 they bought the Lostine Tavern, which Evelyn ran while Marvin operated a commercial sheep shearing business that covered sheep ranches in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, California, and Wyoming. They sold the shearing business in 1997.
Marvin was involved with Hells Canyon Mule Days and served as a board member in 1991 and 1992. He and Evelyn also organized another popular Wallowa County event in 1999, the Redneck Roundup Rodeo, which was scheduled on the end of fair weekend. And let it be known that in 2003 Clay Freels (now HCMD vice president) and Chelcee Noland, both from Enterprise, teamed up for a first place win in the hide race, crossing the finish line in 12.34 and winning prize money of
We give recognition to Marvin and thank him for all that he has given to Wallowa County. He is a friend to many and never knew a stranger.
Thank you, Marvin…
Hells Canyon Muledays Grand Marshals
1981 – WADE HALL & ETHEL THOMAS
1982 – MIKE & JOYCE McFETRIDGE
1983 – GLEN HAWKINS & GRACE BARTLETT
1984 – LEE MANES & LYNN MITCHELL
1985 – JESS EARL & CLARA HEARING
1986 – LAWRENCE & ILENE POTTER
1987 – CARMEN MAXWELL & A. L. DUCKETT
1988 – JOE McCLARAN & MARY MARKS
1989 – OAKLEY JOHNSON & HAZEL BARTON/FLEET
1990 – JOE ONAIDIA & GUS MALAXA
1991 – EMORY CRAWFORD
1992 – MAX & MARCEL WALKER .
1993 – JIM & JEAN BROOKS
1994 – JIM & LOIS BLANKENSHIP
1995 – GENE & MILDRED MARR
1996 – SAM & LAURA LOFTUS
1997 – DICK & BETTY HAMMOND
1998 – PEARL INGLE
1999 – DELBERT (DEB) WART
2000 – FRED TALBOTT
2000 – Noel & Genie Wright • Honorary
2001 – MANFORD & VERA ISLEY
2002 – MEREL HAWKINS
2003 – ARNOLD SCHAEFFER
2004 – BENNIE BANKS
2005 – DOUG & JANIE TIPPETT
2005 – Bonnie Shields • Honorary
2006 – BOB CASEY
2006 – Gerald Perren • Honorary
2007 – BLANCHE MAXWELL
2007 – Gene & Bonnie Westberg • Honorary
2008 – JUANA MALAXA & MARIE ONAINDIA
2008 – Mike Brennan Honorary
2009 – CARMEN KOHLHEPP
2009 – R. A. “Ace” Barton • Honorary
2010 – BIDEN & BETTY TIPPETT
2010 – Ben Tippett • Honorary
2011 – LEO TIPTON “Tip” PROCTOR
2011 – George Hixson • Honorary
2012 – GRANT & BARBARA WARNOCK
2012 – Duke & Rhee Lathrop • Honorary
2013 – LARRY & JUANITA WATERS
2014 – DICK MARSHAL
2014 – Art Galbraith • Honorary
2015 - DENNIS & PEGGY BRENNAN
2016 - MARVIN LOVELL