The Nine Man Board will ride this year with an empty saddle.
Each year, board members lead a riderless horse mounted with the commemorative saddle through the parade. In its leather is carved the brands of former board members now deceased. This year, the saddle will be displayed in memory of Mike Skinner of Jolly. Skinner, 51, died in June while serving on the Nine Man Board.
Michael Sanderson of Henrietta was chosen to fulfill Skinner’s three-year term on the board. Other board members in the first year of their term are E.C. Crump of Bluegrove and Jeff Jordan of Petrolia.
Second year members are Doug Vicars of Bellevue, Ross Cantrell of Vashti and Trey Mobley of Dean.
Leonard Phillips of Bluegrove serves as chairman of the 81st Pioneer Reunion and Rodeo. Brad Davidson of Byers is vice-chairman and Zach Parker of Benvanue is arena director.
The Nine Man Board is the working arm of the Clay County Pioneer Association, charged with maintaining Tex Rickard Arena and surrounding facilities.