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Cougars Roar at Pendleton Round-Up and Happy Canyon
Offer Special Alumni Discounts to Round-Up and Happy Canyon

South of the Palouse’s rolling hills lies the Eastern Oregon
town of Pendleton; home to the world famous Pendleton Round-Up and Happy Canyon Night Show. With its iconic bucking horse and cowboy logo and cries of “Let’er Buck”, the 105 year old rodeo draws over 70,000 fans from around the world each year during the second full week of September. When the sun goes down and the arena grows dark, fans descend on the Happy Canyon Night Show for an evening of fun featuring Native American culture, western history and good old fashion music and humor served up by a cast of hundreds of volunteers. Entering its ninety-ninth year, Happy Canyon is the oldest community pageant in America.
Visitors to Pendleton during Round-Up week also enjoy events like the Westward Ho Parade, America’s longest non-motorized parade; the storied “Let’er Buck Room”, concerts featuring top country-western stars; two nights of professional bull riding; Native American beauty pageants and dancing; BBQs and free downtown shows. Throw in great shopping and restaurants and Round-Up and Happy Canyon are an unforgettable experience. 
While the Round-Up and Happy Canyon are well known, what isn’t common knowledge is the key role of Washington State University Alumni in making the events an enduring success. Over the years, Cougars have served with distinction on the Boards of Directors of the Round-Up and Happy Canyon.
Among notable Round-Up Cougars is the late Mike Hopper, Class of 73. Mike’s service on the Round-Up Board culminated with selection as the Association’s President from 1996 to 1998.  While at Pullman, Mike and his wife Diana were star members of the WSU rodeo team and captained the men’s and women’s squads. Following graduation, they ranched together near Stanfield, Oregon, running the Double M Ranch and Top Cut Feed feedlot. Mike also competed in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association as a steer wrestler and was active in the Future Farmers of America program. The Round-Up’s Mike Hopper Memorial Steer Wrestling Buckle is presented in his memory each year as is the Mike Hopper Scholarship to the outstanding FFA member in Umatilla County.
The Hansell family has a long history of service to WSU, the Round-Up and Happy Canyon. Kenzie Hansell, a fourth generation volunteer, currently serves as a Happy Canyon Director. A member of the class of 2004, he played football for the Cougars including the 2001 Sun Bowl, 2003 Rose Bowl and the 2003 Holiday Bowl teams. In keeping with long-standing family tradition, Kenzie was a member of Sigma Chi. After graduation, Kenzie and his wife Emily, class of 2004, returned to Athena, Oregon to run the family farming business along with brothers TJ and Luke, who also played football for WAZZU and volunteered at the Round-Up. In addition to serving as a Director for the Happy Canyon Night Show, Kenzie is active in coaching youth sports programs and involved in local farming organizations.
Kenzie inherited his love for the Round-Up and Happy Canyon from his late father, Ty. A 1969 graduate, he anchored the Cougar’s line as a standout offensive lineman. In addition to serving as a Round-Up Director, Ty developed a very successful farming operation centered on Hermiston, Oregon. A forward thinking community and industry leader, Ty was instrumental in launching the award winning Farmers Ending Hunger program, created by former WSU faculty member Fred Ziari, and was appointed to the Oregon Water Resources Board by three Governors. 
Kenzie’s grandfather, Dr. William H. Hansell, a WSU veterinary program graduate, served as the Round-Up and Happy Canyon veterinarian from 1948 to 1968.  Dr. Hansell ended his long service to the Round-Up so he could have his time in September free to watch son Ty play for his beloved Cougars. 
The tradition of Cougar football players being part of the Round-Up includes Bob Ewen, Class of 1970. A star running back at Pullman, Bob held the record for the team’s longest punt and signed with the Dallas Cowboys following his time in Crimson and Grey. Ewen was a member of Sigma Nu during his days on campus. Bob latter enjoyed a career with the Oregon State Police; holding several important assignments before retiring as a Captain. His involvement with the Round-Up began when Ty Hansell invited Bob to Round-Up Ewen, enjoyed the experience so much he became a volunteer and ultimately was asked to become a Director.
Mike Thorne, Class of 62, is another distinguished Round-Up Cougar.  Mike was a member of Alpha Gamma Rho and Phi Kappa Phi honor society.  After graduating, Mike, and his wife Jill who also attended WSU, returned to Oregon where he served for many years as the state senator representing Northeast Oregon.  He also held important leadership positions as the Executive Director of the Port of Portland and Director of the Washington State Ferry System.  Currently, Mike runs the family farming and ranching operations near Pendleton while serving on several foundations and boards, including the Oregon State University Board of Trustees.  During his tenure as a Round-Up Director, Mike helped lead efforts to celebrate the Round-Up’s 100th Anniversary including the construction of the Centennial West Grandstand. Completing the Thorne family’s WSU Round-Up connection, daughter Katy, currently the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s Director, was the Queen of the Round-Up.
1971 graduate Casey Beard serves as the Round-Up and Happy Canyon’s first General Manager. While at WSU, he was a member of Phi Sigma Kappa and the Butch Men. Commissioned through the WSU ROTC program, Casey and his wife Anne, who attended WSU, spent 20 years in the Army. During his career, Beard held important command and staff positions, served as an exchange officer with the British Army, attended the Navy War College and participated in Desert Storm. Retiring from the Army, Beard returned to the Northwest to manage the family rodeo business providing bucking horses and bulls for the Northwest’s top rodeos, including the Round-Up.  Casey served on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Board of Directors. After selling the family rodeo company, the Round-Up and Happy Canyon hired him as their first General Manager. 
One of the unique features making the Round-Up and Happy Canyon so special is the contribution of thousands of volunteers who collectively donate over 60,000 hours of their time each year to insure that the events are successful. Representative of these civic minded supporters is Anne (French) Livingston, Class of 1988. Anne was a member of Alpha Gamma Delta and the Rally Squad during her days at Pullman. In addition to serving as the Director of Student Recruiting, Marketing and Leadership at Blue Mountain Community College, Anne has held several key volunteer assignments at the Round-Up. Carrying on the Cougar connection, daughters Justine and Julia, both volunteers in their own right, will enroll in WSU’s 2016 freshman class.
Completing the WSU connection to the Round-Up and Happy Canyon is champion cowboy Tom Sorey, who attended WSU in the 1900s. Always a top contender, Tom won the Steer Roping title in 1999.  Tom’s daughter, Emily Jayne, a Princess on the current Round-Up Court, plans to attend WSU. 
To recognize the special association between WSU and the Round-Up and Happy Canyon, Cougar alumni can enjoy a special discount on tickets for the Wednesday, September 16 and Thursday, September 17 performances as well as special offers on Round-Up and Happy Canyon merchandise available at the Round-Up’s online store. Please visit their web site www.pendletonroundup.com and enter code gocougs15 or call (541) 276-2553 to purchase tickets and merchandise. Come on down to Pendleton this September to join your fellow Cougars and help them “Let’er Buck”.

2015 Volunteer of the Year


The Pendleton Round-Up Board of Directors is please to recognize Rick Rohde as the 2015 Volunteer of the Year.

Rick, an 11 year volunteer,  was chosen not only for his efforts related to making the Pendleton Round-Up all that it can be, but for his true volunteer spirit that extends beyond the Round-Up grounds and makes Pendleton community the best it can be.

Rick’s efforts for the Pendleton Round-Up include being a member of the concessions crew that makes sure spectators have nice cold refreshments (beer!) the entire week of Round-Up.  Not that he has spare time in this commitment, but he also is a member of the Pendleton Round-Up shuttle crew assisting where needed in ensuring the program works like clockwork providing rides to the thousands of visitors that use the shuttles to move around Pendleton during Round-Up week.

Rick’s work extends beyond Round-Up week where he volunteers his time during our Fourth of July PBR and barrel race by being on hand for the two busy days of July 3 and 4 helping out everywhere he can. Add to this his personal mission of doing his part all year around where you can find Rick walking Pendleton trash bag in hand picking up litter where ever he finds it.

Rick is proud of Pendleton and the Pendleton Round-Up and you can tell it by his personal dedication to not only his specific volunteer duties but the time he dedicates outside of Round-Up to make sure Pendleton shines to all that visit.   This year presented the prime example after a stint of snow and ice left the street frontage side walk from our famous bucking horse statute to Dairy Queen covered with gravel.   Broom in hand one day, Rick hand swept the entire length of the sidewalk, as by his words, “that gravel just looked terrible”.

Congratulations Rick we could not do it without you and the other hundreds of volunteers that make us the World Famous Pendleton Round-Up!

2015 Westward Ho! Parade Grand Marshall


                         Pendleton Cowboy Mounted Band

       In 1910 after the first Pendleton Round Up, R.W. Fletcher came up with the idea of a horse mounted band. Its first public appearance was leading the Westward Ho! Parade in 1911. That band continued until 1938. Mr. Fletcher and his family also traveled, and advertised the Pendleton Round Up and Happy Canyon, with the Fletcher Family Jazz Band. He also developed and acted as several characters for the Happy Canyon Night Pageant and produced and led the Happy Canyon Hick Band. That band and those characters are still portrayed in Happy Canyon today, some of them by members of his family.

       The current Pendleton Cowboy Mounted Band was formed in 1985 by Judge Richard Courson and local band director Robert (Bob) Herbig to reprise the original Pendleton Round Up Mounted Band of 1911. 1985 was the 75th anniversary of the Pendleton Round Up and the band was to be an historical re-enactment that was to last for one year. Twenty musicians, many of them students of Mr. Herbig, were gathered from Oregon and Washington to learn the Sousa and other Marches that were mandatory parade fare. Outriders then brought horses to the round up grounds to get acquainted with their new riders and the instruments. Some horses never adapted. A few musicians didn’t either although a large majority of the current membership has been playing on horses for twenty or more years.

         The one year commitment has elongated into 30 years. The all-volunteer band has played at rodeos, fairs and parades in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Nevada. The band members come from Oregon, Washington and Idaho. They wear no prescribed uniform but dress “western individual”; appropriate for this diverse bunch from three states. Most members play instruments in the band but there are also flag bearers, ground help, and the critical outriders who retrieve wind – driven music sheets or dropped drum sticks or help control a nervous or fast paced horse.

          One of the songs the Mounted Band plays is “Meet Me at the Round Up”, the theme of the Centennial year. It was written in 1924 for the Pendleton Round Up by Portlander Emil Berggren for a vocalist with piano accompaniment and arranged for band by Chris Thomas of Pendleton. It was adapted for this Band by Randy Morgan, the current music director. You can see the cover page from the original music on some of the flags carried with the band.

           The current Leadership includes Greg Dennis, livestock and transportation director. Mr. Dennis joined the band in 1988 to help his mother, a band member who had been injured one week before the first show. In addition to showing concern for his mother he demonstrated a working knowledge of horses and equipment and a very good work ethic. He was adopted as an outrider. While his responsibilities for the band increased he also became active in the Happy Canyon Night Pageant. He is a guard at EOCI and an EMT. He is a medic and tank mechanic in the Oregon National Guard, Fox Company.



The Music director is Randy Morgan. Mr. Morgan is a band and choral director, math teacher and athletic director at Enterprise HS. He is a long time member of the Elks Lodge and has worked in leadership roles in the organization throughout Eastern Oregon. He plays trumpet with the Inland Northwest Symphony and the Wallowa Valley Symphony and is associate conductor with each. He has adapted numerous songs for the Mounted Band which he joined the band in 1987.

The Parade Director since 2002 is Dr. John Groupe. He is a retired veterinarian whose services the band has used. He is a knowledgeable and entertaining trail guide He is also a published author with two well written and detailed books. One about most of the horse packing trails in eastern Oregon and another on his observations of living in this wonderful part of the world.

The Organizing Director since 2001 is Dr. Gary Zimmerman, a Pendleton Chiropractor who is active in the College Community Theatre and the Pendleton men’s chorus. He is a former vice president of the Oregon Chiropractic Association, President of the Oregon Board of Chiropractic Examiners, and president of the Umatilla County Fair. He has been a cast member of the Happy Canyon Night Pageant for over 40 years and now leads the Hick Band for which he has written and arranged music. He plays clarinet or saxophone in the Mounted Band.

As is consistent with all of the volunteers that help put on the Pendleton Round Up, in all of its aspects. The entire band has devoted countless hours of volunteerism and miles traveled. It is made up and sustained by a core group of dedicated hard working band members, outriders, barn and support help.

Jeff Zimmerman, trombone player, said back in 1985 when the current band was formed for the 75th anniversary of the Pendleton Round Up, we were all hoping it would have a unique and festive impact on the audiences. We had no idea that it would have so much personal influence on the individuals involved. Through their involvement with the Cowboy Mounted Band, some of our members have become comfortable around horses and others have built confidence in their horsemanship skills. Lifelong friendships between musicians and wranglers have been developed through these past 29 years of practicing, traveling, and caring for livestock and cleaning barns. Many of the musicians that hadn’t played with a group since school days were enticed to start playing again in order to ride with this fun loving, close knit, one-of-a kind band of merry makers. The band is enthusiastically accepted wherever it performs. Every fair and rodeo in the country has a queen and court, but when the Cowboy Mounted Band rides down the street blaring out a recognizable march, people immediately think of The Pendleton Round Up! Let’er Buck, in time with the music.

On this, their 30th anniversary, we congratulate and thank the entire unit for their service to, and representation of the Pendleton Round Up and the community as a whole.  

Announcement of the new 2015 Directors


The Pendleton Round-Up Association announced the election of Bill Quesenberry to serve as President of the 2015 Board of Directors.  New Directors Nick Sirovatka and Karl Farber were named as new Directors to fill the openings left by retiring Directors Billy Lorenzen and Bill Quesenberry. The announcement came Tuesday night, November 25th, at the Association’s Annual Stockholders Meeting held in the Let ‘er Buck Room. “Round-Up is family and tonight we welcome two new members to help us direct our course,” stated Quesenberry. “And given the strength of candidates, Round-Up’s future is in good hands.”

Bill Quesenberry, of Pendleton Oregon, has served as a director for nine years, but he quite literally grew up on the world famous grass infield. At age 12 he ran the milk bottles and rope out to the center of the arena for the Wild Cow Milking Contest and helped out in the Bonnie Tucker Booth. At age 15 he was asked to join the un-tying crew and set critters free for over forty years, until he was elected onto the Board of Directors in 2006. During his Board tenure he has served several roles including Court Director for two years, Grounds Director for three years, then Competitive Events Director through 2014. “It is a privilege and will be a great honor to serve as President,” Bill said. “With the dedicated capabilities of over a thousand volunteers, our Board simply functions to direct activities for this, the greatest rodeo on the planet.” Bill is co-owner of Pacific Crest Pest Control which serves the greater Eastern Oregon region. His wife Teresa is now retired after 28 years of teaching in the Business Department at Blue Mountain Community College.   



Nick Sirovatka, of Pendleton Oregon, joins the Round-Up Board after nineteen years of volunteer service. “I have grown up enjoying Round-Up and believe it is a positive event,” stated Nick, “both from a heritage standpoint as well as a financial benefit to the community.” Sirovatka is employed by the US Department of Agriculture as a Conservationist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in the Pendleton Field Office. His leadership background includes serving as Vice-Chair for the Oregon USDA Civil Rights Committee, Co-Chair for the NRCS statewide Soil Health Committee, Vice President of Camp Fire USA local Board of Directors, and Patrol Director for the National Ski Patrol at Spout Springs. Other local volunteer service also includes Pendleton Youth Soccer, Pendleton High School Dance Team, and the Pendleton Community Halloween Party. Along with wife Joni, Nick promises to continue building upon recent Round-Up improvements to ensure the traditions of Round-Up are secured for the enjoyment of future generations and to provide continuing community benefits.

Nick’s Round-Up volunteer service includes supervising ushers in the south grandstand, assisting the Westward Ho! Parade by organizing livestock teams and riding groups from the staging area, and eleven years driving the tractor sled to assist injured livestock in the arena. He has also operated a tractor/groomer each year for Independence Day Barrel Race.   When asked to define Round-Up in one word, “Amazing“, was his response. “It’s special to look out over the grass field just before 1:15 on a Wednesday afternoon and feel the excitement of the crowd build.” Nick looks forward to saddling-up into a leadership role. “Round-Up cannot stagnate,” he stated “We must ask, ‘what can we do to keep amazing happening?’”  


Karl Farber has lived in Pendleton for 16 years with his wife Buffy, a Pendleton native. He is employed by the Oregon State Police Department. After ten years on Special Weapons and Tactics (S.W.A.T.) team, Farber now serves as a Major Crime Detective and member of the O.S.P. Bomb Squad. Through his employment   Karl has worked the grounds at Pendleton Round-Up, Happy Canyon and PBR. His community volunteer service includes working with the Kids Shopping Tour, youth soccer and baseball teams and past service with the Pendleton Elks. “In Karl’s everyday job he exemplifies all the qualities it takes to work under a great deal of pressure while keeping in mind the best interest of the community,” stated Round-Up Director Tygh Campbell, “These qualities will keep our board moving in a positive direction into the next 100 years.” Although his leadership experience would be valuable in any leadership role, Farber feels his law enforcement background will be valuable in maintaining the Round-Up as a safe and enjoyable event, thereby preserving the community’s rich history for years to come.

Karl has passed up promotion opportunities to remain in Pendleton, “Its home,” He stated, “I intend to raise my children here.” Karl described Round-Up with the word, “Heartbeat.” He explained, “It makes us tick, pump. Lots of small towns get smaller and smaller, but each year we gather for Round-Up and it keeps us going.” 

2014 BMCC Rodeo Program Scholarship Award Winners

From left to right, Shawn Eng – Rodeo Team Coach, Chase Hansen – Scholarship Recipient, Cam Preus – President BMCC, Rob Collins – Pendleton Round-Up Director, Maddy Pendergrast – Scholarship Recipient, Larry Patterson

From left to right, Shawn Eng – Rodeo Team Coach, Chase Hansen – Scholarship Recipient, Cam Preus – President BMCC, Rob Collins – Pendleton Round-Up Director, Maddy Pendergrast – Scholarship Recipient, Larry Patterson 


As part of its ongoing commitment to support area students and the Blue Mountain Community College (BMCC) Rodeo Program, the Pendleton Round-Up Association recently awarded $1,800 scholarships to team members Maddy Pendergrast and Chase Hansen.  The Round-Up scholarships are awarded annually to members of the BMCC Rodeo Team in recognition of outstanding academic performance, community leadership and athletic achievement.


Highlighting the importance of this longstanding relationship between the Round-Up and BMCC, Rob Collins, Chairman of the Association’s Scholarship Committee observed, “We are honored to present these scholarships to two remarkable student athletes from the BMCC rodeo team.”


Maddy, a third year student from Adrian, Oregon, competes in barrel racing, breakaway roping, goat tying and team roping.  Outside the arena, she has earned a 3.46 grade point average.  Maddy’s future educational plans include transferring to Eastern Oregon University to complete her studies in Elementary Education after completing her course work at BMCC.


Chase Hansen, son of the late Pendleton Round-Up pick up man Sonny Hansen, has excelled on the rodeo team.  Competing with twin brother Clayton, he won the 2014 National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association’s Northwest Region Team Roping Championship.  Chase has qualified for the College National Finals Rodeo in both Team Roping and Tie Down Roping.  While at BMCC, Chase is pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Livestock Production.


BMCC President Cam Preus, noting the value of the college’s ongoing relationship with the Round-Up, stated, “BMCC is very proud of the partnership it has with the Pendleton Round-Up, and it’s a tremendous value to our students who benefit from these generous scholarships”.


The BMCC Rodeo Team program is just one of many scholarships awarded annually to deserving local students by the Pendleton Round-Up.  To learn more about these opportunities, please contact the Round-Up Office at (541) 276-2553 or visit our web site at www.pendletonroundup.com.  

Volunteer of the Year



The Pendleton Round-Up Association selected Bob Forth as its 2014 Volunteer of the Year.

“Bob completely embodies the spirit of Volunteerism that is so prevalent at Round-Up,” stated Parade Director Billy Lorenzen. “His enthusiastic consistency is remarkable after fifty-five years of giving.” Forth received his award buckle quietly simply saying, “you don’t do any of this for recognition.”

Pendleton native and local rancher, Bob Forth, was born at St. Anthony Hospital in 1938 and grew where he was planted producing a bountiful crop of good will, shared freely with the community he loves. He was recruited in 1959 to be part of a horseback civil war representation for the Westward Ho! Parade. “Buck Lieullen rummaged up some articles of attire to mix together and simulate uniforms,” Forth recalled , “I remember most had grey coats, but mine was red.” During the 1970’s a parade barn was erected and Parade Director Jerry Schubert invited Bob to be a part of a team to work on the historic inventory of wagons. He still faithfully serves in this capacity helping the current wagon master. Every August each wagon is rolled-out of storage buildings and blocked up so every wheel can be removed, inspected, greased and reinstalled. “We always do the big Log Hauler first, because it is the hardest.”

Over the years he has also helped organize parade entries, ridden as an out-rider to help if something goes wrong, and even kept burros on his family ranch throughout the 70’s and 80’s.

He has also served on the Round-Up and Happy Canyon Hall of Fame Board of Directors and is a long-time Happy Canyon volunteer gate operator.

Bob’s wife Nancy has been very supportive of his efforts. He said “We go to everything during Round-Up and have for years.” But his main love is the parade. “It’s always happened. Things may get pretty screwed up, but it has always rolled out.”

Grand Marshall



Terry Simpson has been named Grand Marshal of the 2014 Pendleton Round-Up Westward Ho! Parade. He was born in Pendleton and graduated from PHS, before attending Eastern Oregon University and Cal Poly where he competed on their rodeo team as a bulldogger and roper.

“As a child I was always at Round-Up,” recalled Simpson, “I entered as a local for the first time at age 19 to bulldog, making the finals twice in the years that followed.” After college he began volunteering and did many jobs: arena policeman, helped with the Oregon Stage Coach, and snubbed a horse daily for the NW Bucking Competition. He served on the Round-Up board of Directors from 1976 – 1984. During that time the Board accomplished the building of the North Grandstand Addition, East End Indian Seating project, the livestock alleyway, and Directors Room 17. However, he said one of their proudest decisions was to establish the use of all local concession vendors. Simpson held directorships for Non-Competitive Events, Competitive Events and finally Arena Director. Since his retirement from the board, Terry has continued to gain appreciation for the event, “It’s hard to explain how far Round-Up Reaches.”

Simpson’s most humorous Round-up moment came as a young man working arena security. It was his job to keep cowboys from sitting on the wrong side of the chalk line marking the roping boundaries. One day he noticed four-time world champion (1949, 50, 54 & 55) and three-time in a row Pendleton Round-Up All-Around Champion (1949-51) Shoat Webster had settled himself down on the grass just short of the line. Simpson approached Shoat and asked him to move. Always the gentleman, Shoat replied, “Alright son, but ya might have to tail me up.”

Since 1910, the Westward Ho! Parade has been a strictly non-motorized exhibition of the history of the west. It presents authentic Native American traditional regalia, historic rolling stock of the settler’s westward emigration and a continuation of the western lifestyle. It is the longest parade of its type in the country.

Brotherhood Woven Tightly Once More

Pendleton Round-up Tipi Village<br /><br />Photo by: Robert Cosner

Pendleton Round-up Tipi Village

Photo by: Robert Cosner
Pendleton Round-Up Association and Pendleton Woolen Mills are pleased to announce that they have resolved their differences and have entered into a long term agreement providing a framework for their relationship going forward. The parties expect this resolution to allow for good relations between them for the next 100 years and beyond, and both look forward to enjoying the 103rd Pendleton Round-Up this week.

Shelby Spriet 2012 Top Hand

Shelby Spriet

Shelby Spriet 
SHELBY SPRIET is the 2012 Pendleton Round-Up Top Hand, an award presented annually to a youth volunteer for exceptional service. Shelby is the 15 year old daughter of J.J. and Terri Spriet and a sophomore at Pendleton High School. Her volunteer contributions include working as an office assistant during her last three summer vacations where she answers phones, sells tickets, helps customers, and also cashiers. During Round-Up week she helps in the store before heading to the stadium to usher, then returns to the store to work until closing. She also ushers for Happy Canyon Night Pageant, the PBR and Concert events. The Happy Canyon Association presented Shelby Spriet the 2012 Roy Raley Youth Volunteer Award for excellent volunteer service. Both organizations honored Shelby at their annual joint Minor’s Party at Rodeo Lanes, in Pendleton. Round-Up President Tim Hawkins and Happy Canyon Show Director Jason Hill each said Shelby was the “obvious choice” although neither group knew ahead of time of the others selection.