Grand Marshal and Honorary Town Marshal
2018 Grand Marshal - Al O’Brien
Al O’Brien was born in Corvallis, OR. to Patricia and T.L. O’Brien while they were attending Oregon State University. After attaining a degree in engineering the O’Brien family moved often with jobs for Bechtel Corp. Refinery and Chemical projects. Al’s sister Janet was also born in Corvallis, his brothers Kevin and Don were born in Pocatello, ID. and his youngest brother Mike was born in Paducah, KY. Al’s younger years were also spent in; Metropolis, IL; Houston, TX; Port Huron, MI; Calgary, Alberta; Topsfield, Mass.; Stanton, DL; Harding Township, NJ; and Nitro, WV. Al’s father accepted a position at Bechtel’s World Headquarters in San Francisco assuring all the siblings could attend the same High School; Crestmoor High School in San Bruno.
Al played baseball and basketball, was in theater and Student Government holding SBA and class office positions as well as Chief Justice of the Student Court and graduation speaker. He went to UC Santa Barbara to play baseball and study History as a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. Just prior to his Senior year Al married Melissa Borders. Melissa and Al shared daughters Molly (1979) and Paige O’Brien (1981) who attended Twain Harte Elementary and Summerville High School. One month after the birth of Molly, Al was diagnosed with Cancer. He is a 40 year survivor.
Al founded a Chem Mark franchise in 1979 and later managed O’Brien’s Excelsior Supply providing various equipment and later opened a chain of six Take n Bake Pizza locations. Al coached High School football and baseball, was a substitute teacher, and he was a rock n roll bartender at several County hot spots.
In 1995 Al and his partner liquidated the pizza chain except for a store in Arnold, which moved into his final business start-up, Snowshoe Brewing Co., in partnership with Jeff and Jeannine Yarnell which is operating today. Al was active in Relay for Life, Junior Achievement, Tuolumne County Economic Development, Sierra Rep Theater, and daughters’ lives.
In 2001 Al was hired at Black Oak Casino Resort and held the position as Marketing and Entertainment Mgr. for 15 years leading the Casino Marketing Team, booking over 1,500 shows and winning many National Awards including the prestigious marketing award, and the Barona/VCAT Indian Gaming Casino of the Year.
In 2007 Al was blessed to meet, fall in love with and marry Kelli Noteman who is a county native and was instrumental in founding many of the special event programs in Columbia State Park. Kelli is a respected teacher at Sonora Elementary, an accomplished watercolorist, back country horsewoman, banjo player and vocalist, quilt and costume seamstress, and performer at Columbia’s premier event, Columbia Diggins.
Al joined the Sheriff’s Posse in May of 2001, became Round-up General Chair in 2002, and was Captain in 2010. Being a member of the Posse was a dream Al had as a spectator on the parade route with his kids all during the 80’s and 90’s. He believes that the Posse represents all that is good in the Ag tradition of our rural county and honors the men and women who have been presenting the Round-up the last sixty years. Al would also like to recognize his current and past parade horses Smokey Brandit, Dunny, and Skeeter.
Without the dedication of the many dedicated Posse members this event would not be what it is today. Al is humbled to be included in the long list of Grand Marshals of the Motherlode Round-up.
2018 Top Hand Award – Kelly Robinson
John Kelly Robinson IV is the son of Roderick (Bud) & Marlene Robinson of Fresno and brother to Kimberly Robinson Bloom of Pacific Palisades. Kelly was born and raised in Fresno and is named after his great-great-grandfather who patented the Diamond match. Kelly has been married to Kristi Robinson for 26 years and they have four grown daughters.
Kelly began his automotive career in San Jose in 1984 as a salesman. He relocated back to Fresno in 1985 and continued his automotive career. In 1994 Kelly was transferred to Modesto to oversee the Mercedes-Benz/Volvo store and in 2009 he added a Subaru franchise to the organization.
Kelly and Kristi wanted to raise their girls in a great community and moved to Sonora in 1995. Part of the attraction to the area was the Sierra Waldorf School. Kristi is a graduate of a Waldorf school and prior to having children they knew their children would be attending a Waldorf School due to its teaching philosophies and Kristi is now a teacher at the Sierra Waldorf School.
Kelly and Kristi enjoy spending time with their daughters; Christine 33 (San Diego), Nicole 24 (Sonora), Courtney 23 (Chico) and Breann 22 (San Jose) who all graduated from Summerville High School. The girls were involved in 4H, softball and volleyball and weekends often consisted of tournaments or other sporting events. Courtney went on to play volleyball at Butte Junior College and Breann received a 4-year full scholarship at San Jose State for volleyball.
Kelly’s personal interests include hunting, fishing, golf and spending time with family. Kelly began golfing at the age of 6 and continued playing for Bullard High School as well as Fresno City College and is a current member at Greenhorn Creek.
Kelly has been a consistent supporter of community activities and sponsorships in both Tuolumne and Calaveras County since moving to Sonora. Kelly is a staunch believer in supporting local businesses, activities, clubs, organizations and the local schools.
In 2012 Kelly was given the opportunity of a lifetime when Manuel & Mona Prieto purchased Hammond Ford and asked him to run the day-to-day operations. Kelly and Manuel worked for the same owner in the past with Manuel running a Honda store in Clovis and Kelly running the Mercedes-Benz/Volvo/Subaru store in Modesto. In March of 2017 the Subaru franchise was acquired by Prieto Automotive and relocated to the Ford location, where there are now two great brands in one location.. Kelly’s office is on the showroom floor and his door is always open!
The Tuolumne county Sheriff’s Posse is pleased to select Kelly Robinson as the 2018 Top Hand Award winner for his continuing support of not only the Motherlode Round-up but many Tuolumne County non-profit efforts.
2016 Grand Marshal - Vern Gerdau
The Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Posse is please to honor Vern Gerdau the 2016 Honorary Town Marshal. Vern has remained a valuable hard working, active member for all 22 years of his membership.
Vern Gerdau was born in San Francisco on March 27, 1945 to Vern and Francis Gerdau. Vern also has a sister Barbara and a brother Ken who currently lives in Southern California. Vern went to San Carlos High School and married his wife Debie in 1977. Vern and Debie have a son, Bryan, who lives in Sonora with his wife Jenna. They are expecting their first son to be born in August.
Vern’s worked as a Sales Associate for Sears Roebuck in Mountain View for 24 years prior to moving to Tuolumne County. While living in Tuolumne County he worked in auto sales with Motherlode Motors retiring after a 17 year career with them.
Vern and Debie have always enjoyed their horses, spending many years riding the back country trails, camping, showing in halter, western pleasure and winning buckles in trail trials. Vern worked many ranches doing gathering and branding. He also enjoyed competing in team penning and sorting.
In 1994 Vern became a member of the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Posse. During his years as a member he has held most offices and was Captain in 2001. Vern’s mother Frances was Round-up Mother of the Year in 2002.
During his 22 years with the Posse Vern has been a driving force in developing critical corporate and business partnerships with the Posse sponsors as well as always being there to answer the call anytime help was needed. He also established the cherished Sweet Heart of the Posse Award honoring the women of the Posse. His trusty horse Blue made countless Round-Up grand entry flag runs and has carried Vern thousands of miles on the trail.
2015 Grand Marshal - Michael Shaffer
Michael Shaffer was born in Grand Island, Nebraska on October 22, 1945, the youngest child of Hershel and Dorothy Shaffer. His sister Carol arrived seven minutes earlier. Yes, a set of twins! Carol passed away in 1986. Mike has a foster brother, Felix, of Yuma, Arizona. Mike says he is blessed to have two daughters, Tricia and Jennifer, and a blended family of four step-children and eight grandchildren. He credits his partner, Chris Walpole, for holding it all together.
Mike was raised in Stockton, CA and graduated from Stagg High School in 1964. He attended San Joaquin Delta College before joining the California National Guard and going into active duty. In 1966, Mike went to work for Pacific Gas & Electric Company where he advanced to lineman and on to Senior Electric Engineering Estimator before completing his 41 year career. He holds a Lifetime Vocational Teaching Credential from the State of California and taught evening classes at Delta College for 18 years. He is also a graduate of the Western College of Auctioneering in Billings, Montana. Mike has been the auctioneer for many fundraisers throughout the county: 4-H, Meals on Wheels, the Watch Program, the Black Hat Foundation, Cub Scout Pack #71, and several senior project fundraisers. He has also been a member of the Sonora Elks Lodge for 29 years.
Mike joined the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Posse in 1988. He was voted in as captain in 1996 and his mom, Dorothy, was Mother of the Year. Over the years, Mike has served in all offices in the Posse and has chaired many committees. He is currently the Treasurer and the Queen Committee Chairman.
The Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Posse is proud to honor Mike Shaffer one of the hardest working members who is proud to be a 27 year member of the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Posse. He wishes everyone a wonderful Mother’s Day and welcomes one and all to the Mother Lode Round-Up Parade and Rodeo.
2015 Honorary Town Marshal - Edgar “Ed” Hope
Eighty-six year old Ed Hope’s family’s ancestors traveled by wagon train from Wisconsin and settled in Coulterville. Ed grew up in Mocassin, CA and in 1945 after developing an interest in cattle during his stint with the FFA, Ed started cattle ranching starting with a pair of heifers with his father Phil Hope. The ranch is still in operation today and brands their cattle with a branding iron forged by Ed’s grandfather Tom Hope who was a blacksmith by trade.
In addition to running his cattle business Ed also had a 39 year career with Pac Bell. He started with them in 1948 working his way up from lineman to maintenance foreman. Ed was drafted during the Korean War and completed a two year enlistment as a paratrooper.
Hope has been involved with many local organizations including the Sonora Moose Lodge, Elks Lodge, Tuolumne County Cattleman’s Assoc., and Tuolumne County Farm Bureau.
Hope now lives in Phoenix Lake with his wife of 51 years, Marilyn Hope. They have four children Phil, Lisa, Noelle, and Suzann as well as five grandchildren.
The Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Posse would like to congratulate Ed Hope, “a good friend to a lot of people and very kind to others” as paraphrased from his wife Marilyn’s statement to the Union Democrat.
2014 Grand Marshal - George Durnall
George Durnall was born in 1936 in Omaha, Nebraska to Alfrieda and George Durnall, Sr. George was the youngest of seven children. The family moved to Tuolumne County in 1937, then spent a couple of years in Angels Camp before returning to Tuolumne County. George attended Curtis Creek Elementary School, known then as Standard Elementary, and Sonora Elementary and graduated from Sonora High School. George married Joanne Wivell in 1954. They have three daughters, Bobbi, Lori, and Rabecca, who was Round-up Queen in 1978. Their family has grown to include eight grandchildren, five step great grandchildren, with another great grandson on the way. Their family is spread from California to Nevada, Idaho, and Minnesota. Their great grandson Jordan Selesia is a Lance Corporal with the Marine Military Police stationed in Okinawa, Japan. They lost their grandson, Robert, in an auto accident in 2003.
George was employed driving trucks for Tri Dam and Joe Martin logging but decided to move to Citrus Heights in 1959. The family lived in Citrus Heights for fourteen years where George drove truck for Hard Materials and Robert Powell Products. While living there George was active as a Little League baseball and girls softball coach. He was President of San Juan High School’s Football Booster Club and very active in Citrus Heights Elementary School functions.
After returning to Sonora George worked as a serviceman for Durnall and Campora Propane, a position he held for 26 years. In the late 1980’s he served as an Asst. Coach for Sonora High’s freshman football team.
In 1979 George Durnall joined the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Posse. He served as the Queen Chairman for 10 years, Round-up General Chairman for 6 years, Posse Campout Chair and Co-Chair for 5 years. George also served as the Club’s Secretary-treasurer for 6 years, and Building and Grounds Chairman for 5 years. George Durnall was the Captain of the Sheriff’s Posse in 1989.
George is semi-retired and owns George Durnall’s Pool Services, but spends his winters in Southern California on the Baja border.
The Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Posse is please to honor thirty five year member George Durnall as the 2014 Grand Marshal of the Mother Lode Round-up an honor he deserves for his dedication to this great Tuolumne County organization and tradition.
2014 Honorary Town Marshal - Jeff Timm
The Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Posse and the Sonora Union Democrat are proud to honor Jeff Timm, as the duly elected honorary Town Marshal for the 57th annual Mother Lode Round-up. This election marks the end of this yearly honor that started with Edward “Wimpy” Jones in 2000.Jeff was born in Pomona, Ca to James Lee and Linda Lee Timms. His Grandfather was native Sonoran, Clifford O. Smith, who landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day. The Timms family moved to Sonora at the urging of Grandpa Smith many years ago.Jeff Timm is a former correctional officer retiring from the Dept. of Corrections in 1998. He worked for many years in residential construction for Coop Kessel and Rich Njrich among others. Jeff also served as a technical director for Sierra Repertory Theater.
Timm has also actively given his time as a volunteer with the Moose Lodge, offering his time and expertise to local projects.This honor has been continuing for the past 14 years and it is time to focus on our yearly selection of Grand Marshal as the honorary leader of the Round-up. The Sheriff’s Posse would like to thank all of the citizens of Tuolumne county that have voted and had fun with this election for the past many years. (Photo by Union Democrat)
2013 Grand Marshal - Patricia Brooks
Patricia’s family was one of the founding families of Sonora. Patty’s Great Great Grandfather, George McQuade Sr. built the Sonora Jail. Her grandfather Robert Lee Price was the first native-born Sheriff in Tuolumne County in 1896. Because a Sheriff at that time had to live in the jail with his family, Patty’s father, Louis Price was born in the jail. Louis was a past Captain for the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Posse in 1951 and one of the original members of the Sheriff’s Posse.
Patty was born to Louis and Melba Price in 1929 in Sonora. She attended Sonora Elementary and Sonora High School graduating in 1947. Following high school, Patty went on to UC Berkeley, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education. In 1951, Patty married Lt. William Mailloux. A plane accident in 1958 caused the end of Lt. Mailloux’s life leaving Patty with two children, Price Mailloux and Deniece Mailloux.
Patty moved to Sonora with her two children and then to Modesto. In 1962, Patty met cattleman Leonard Brooks and married him in Arizona. Leonard was born and raised in Tuolumne. Coincidentally, Patty and Leonard shared a dance during their high school years. In 1965, Patty and Leonard welcomed a son together, Lee Brooks. At this time, Leonard and Patty were living in Bakersfield. Louis Price asked Patty and Leonard to return to the family ranch in 1967 to take over the ranching business.
This ranch has been in the family for over one hundred years. Robert Lee Price and his brother Gabe used the gold they discovered in the Alaskan gold rush to purchase the Price Ranch, now also called the Brooks Ranch. The brothers also owned property in the mountains call Hull’s Meadows. Hull’s Meadows was used for summer pasture for the cattle. Patty, at a very young age accompanied the men and cattle on the 3-day cattle drive from the Price Ranch to Hull’s Meadows. While growing up, Patty lived in Sonora during week and spent the weekends on the Price Ranch. She grew up ranching.
Patty and Leonard took over the ranch in 1967. In the mid seventies, they had over 4,000 cow calf pairs and 135 broodmares. Even, by today’s standards, that was a sizable operation.
Patty and Leonard purchased a horse named Plumb Dry. In 1984, Plumb Dry became the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Champion. “Plumb” sired over 500 foals including Lee’s cutting horse Plumb’s Sensation with earnings of $80,000 plus. In 2007, Patty and Leonard purchased Tapgun, an own son of Playgun and out of Tap OLena. Tapgun has sired some very nice foals including Tapgun Double. Tapgun Double and Lee became NCHA Futurity Finalists in 2010.
Patty and Leonard lived most of their life together (51 years) on the ranch that Patty grew up on. Patty lost Leonard in December of 2011. Patty continues to live on the ranch to this day. An early member of Mountain Spring Golf Club, she has enjoyed playing golf for many years with Leonard and still enjoys playing every Tuesday. In addition to her three children, Patty also has two grandsons William and Hunter.
2013 Honorary Town Marshal - Slim Edwards
The Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Posse congratulates newly elected 56th Anniversary 2013 Round-up Honorary Town Marshal Slim Edwards. Slim Edwards was born eighty four years ago in Big Fork, Arkansas the youngest of seven siblings to M.H Edwards and Leona Edwards Clayton. Slim got the call to head west and worked his way through Wisconsin, New Mexico and other stops before ending up in Tuolumne County where he met his wife of 64 years Yolanda Edwards. Slim and Yolanda have one daughter, Candace Kushar, of Paradise, CA and two grand-daughters and three great grand-daughters.
Slim has been a heavy equipment operator most all of his life and continuing pain from a broken neck in 1954 has limited his ability to work but he is due to receive his gold watch for 50 years in the Union later this year. In addition he recently received the Masonic Hyram award, the highest honor given to Masons. If you are out Campo Seco way and give Slim Edwards a chance to tell you about his life you will hear many stories about Tuolumne County and his many close friends and his countless land moving projects that impacted the development of this County. Slim provided his time and equipment to the Sheriff’s Posse and helped turn swampy land into the Posse grounds as it exists today. He was and is a close friend to many longtime Posse members who appreciated the effort he put into making the Posse grounds a reality. All of the Posse members past and present owe a debt of gratitude to Slim Edwards and hearty congratulations on the honor the voters bestowed upon him as the 2013 Round-up Honorary Town Marshal.
2012 Grand Marshal - Bill Sanquinetti
Bill (Ray W.) Sanguinetti was born in the summer of 1951 to Ray & Lee Sanguinetti at the old Columbia Way Hospital in Sonora. He was the second born and the only son of Ray & Lee’s family of 4 children and is a fourth Tuolumne County generation of the David Sanquinetti family. David was Bill’s great grandfather who moved here around 1870 from the mountain area of Fontanabuona Valley above the Chravari Sea Portin Italy and became a cattle rancher, sold vegetables from his large garden and was also known to have sold some “grappa” to the railroad workers.
Bill attended Sonora Elementary and graduated from Sonora High School in 1969 where he played football and was in FFA. While in high school, he had part time jobs at several local gas stations as well as always helping his family with the cattle at home and on the Cooper Meadow range. He started working his 41 year career at Anderson & Lehman in 1970. When the owners separated the concrete and hardware business, Bill stayed with the concrete side and worked for A & L Ready Mix until 2011. He and a friend also owned and operated a concrete pump truck during 1977-1979. He has 2 sons, Matt & Danny, and his 4 grandsons, Bryce, Coleton, Brayden & Cooper, are part of the 6th generation of theTuolumne County Sanguinetti family.
His great grandfather David, helped Father Guerin & others with cattle on the Cooper Meadow range and took over the permit in 1912. This year will mark the 100th anniversary of it being in and worked by members of the Sanguinetti family. Bill started going to Cooper Meadow when he was about 6 yr. old. For his 7th birthday he was surprised by his grandpa Henry Sr. who gave him his first horse at the stables that his grandpa and dad owned in the meadow where the Twain Harte Elementary School is now located. When Bill was about 9 yr. old, he was excited that he got to stay most of the summer at the Leland Meadow, Bert Reed cabin and Cooper Meadow cow camp sites. In the early 1960’s before they started trucking the cattle, he was on the last few cattle drives from Keystone to Herring Creek that took 5 days.
His summer months were spent in Cooper Meadow not missing a year until the mid 1990’s when someone was hired for a few years to work the family’s cattle.
Bill felt strongly enough about helping his family with their cattle operation that he decided not to attend Modesto JC right out of high school but did attend Columbia Jr. College the following year.
Bill grew up around the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Posse with his dad being one of 1948’s original Posse members. He joined the Posse in 1975 and started out and continues to help in the arena by pulling gates and helping with all other rodeo events. He learned the arena from and worked alongside another Posse member, the late Cisco May. Bill was Captain in 1984, honored as a “Life Member” in 2010,is in his 37th year with the Posse and feels very honored to have been chosen as this year’s Grand Marshal following in the footsteps of both his father, Ray, in 1982, his grandfather, Henry Sr., in 1968 and also an uncle, Marion, in 1998. He would like to take this opportunity to thank the Sheriff’s Posse for this honor and to wish his mother, Lee, as well as all the mothers, a Happy Mother’s Day and hopes everyone will enjoy this year’s parade and rodeos.
2012 Honorary Town Marshal - Joseph Perez
The Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Posse and the Sonora Union Democrat would like to congratulate 2012 Honorary Town Marshal Joseph Perez. Perez won the popular vote distancing seven other candidates for the honorary title.
Joseph Perez is well known in Sonora as the sacristan of St. Patrick’s Church for the last 48 years. Joseph was baptized at St. Patrick’s when he was two months old and just celebrated his 72nd birthday. He became the church sacristan in 1975 after he was laid off at the Louisiana-Pacific box factory where he had worked for twenty years.
Joseph is well known in Sonora also for his daily walks through town from one end to the other including jaunts to Wal-Mart and Save Mart if he has the time.
Perez will be awarded a badge for his honorary position by the Sheriff’s Posse and will ride in the Round-up Parade as the 2012 Mother Lode Round-up Honorary Town Marshall.
2011 Grand Marshal - Joe Phillips
The Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Posse is proud to have Joe Phillips as the 2011 Mother Lode Round-Up Grand Marshal.
Joe was born in 1931 to a farm family in East Prairie, Missouri. Joe moved away from home at the age of 16. He went to work anywhere he could to support himself. Some of the places he worked were Chevrolet Motor Company and AC Spark Plug Company.
In 1951, Joe joined the Army and was in for two years. He achieved the rank of sergeant. Joe moved to California in 1971 where he met and married Dorothy, his wife of over 25 years. Dorothy passed away in 1992. In 1998, Joe married Ana and they have three children, Jesus, Myra and Carlos.
In 1996, Joe joined the Sheriff’s Posse. In the years with the Posse, Joe worked on countless projects, including being General Chairman of the Mother Lode Round-Up in 1994. The Posse can never repay Joe for all the hard work he has done for us.
Joe would like to the wish all the Mothers here today a Happy Mother’s Day!
2011 Honorary Town Marshal - Joseph ``Pepi`` Stoiber
The Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Posse is honored to recognize Joseph “Pepi” Stoiber as the 54th Annual Mother Lode Round-up’s Honorary Town Marshal. Joseph Stoiber is a 35 year resident of Tuolumne County who has worked as a building contractor for most of those years. He is widely known as the founder of the Edelweiss Club which consists of Germans and friend of Germans but he say you don’t have to be German to join. The Edelweiss Club has about 80 members of every nation from Tuolumne and Calaveras Counties and is primarily a social club with lots of good food, music, and dancing. Pepi Stoiber’s wife Anne died about 12 years ago but he has a daughter and son-in-law Ted and Monika Riedel, and three grandchildren Karl Reidel, Bethanni Reidel, and Katrina Reidel all of Murphys.
Pepi Stoiber last had a horse when he was 12-14 years old in his native Germany and has not been on one since but has been a longtime fan of the Mother Lode Round-up. Pepi Stoiber joins a long list of past Honorary Town Marshals including the last three John Cavaiani and Bobby Rapp, Renee Paulson, and Larry Rotelli.
The Tuolumne Co. Sheriff’s Posse and the Sonora Union Democrat congratulate Joseph “Pepi” Stoiber the 2011 Mother Lode Round-up Honorary Town Marshal.
People That Make It Happen: Grand Marshal and Honorary Town Marshal Awards 2010 – 2003