Lee Taramarcaz, 2016 Parade Marshal
Born to ranching parents east of Gunnison, Lee Taramarcaz still starts and ends his days in the ranching business. He’s been in this valley his entire life, a third generation of ranchers after his grandfather immigrated to the U.S. from Switzerland in the early 1900s.
Lee attended school in Parlin and Gunnison, all the while helping with calving, haying (at the tender age of six, he was leading the stacker horse pulling a wagon of loose hay), feeding by horse and sleigh and hauling water to the house from a nearby well. He remembers Mondays as particularly strenuous since that was laundry day. As an adult, he served his country with the U.S. Army in the early 1950s during Cold War tensions between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. When Lee returned to the Gunnison Valley, he resumed what he knows best: ranching the family operation.
Besides helping out with the Cattlemen’s Days rodeo in the past, he’s served on the Farm Bureau and Gunnison Conservation District, but most of his time has been spent on the ranch. He’s had a few close calls, not unusual for the agricultural industry. At one point, Lee hurriedly held up a ton of stacked of hay that fell on another worker, helping him crawl to safety. This past fall, an angry mama cow ran over him, an accident that sent him to the hospital.
Every three years, he still spends two months a Tin Cup cow camp watching the herd. That, of course, requires some horseback finesse, but more recently, Lee has made the transition from saddle to 4-wheeler because “they’re a lot easier to get on.”
Paul Sammons, Parade Marshal
The Sammons family boasts a long history in the Gunnison Country. Paul’s grandfather migrated to the area in 1876 – first to Lake City and later to Powderhorn, where he began ranching. Eventually, Paul’s father, Alva, purchased one of the family ranches, set up a household and raised his children. It was here that Paul grew up, developing a strong love and respect for the lifestyle. He attended Powderhorn and Gunnison schools, becoming involved with 4-H and Future Farmers of America. He later attended the Community College of Denver.
After a four-year stint in the U.S. Army, career choices took him to the east side of the state where he operated a welding and machine shop and served as a volunteer fire fighter and as chief of the department for three years. Paul was Brighton’s first Fire Marshal. But he and his family missed Gunnison and, after 16 years, they moved back and purchased a local auto parts chain. He owned the store for 20 years, during which time he sat on the Gunnison City Council. Additionally, he served on the board of the Gunnison Valley Health Senior Care Center and later managed the nursery at a Gunnison hardware store.
He’s retired now, but not exactly taking it easy. His love for restoring old tractors (see photo) is evident in the fact that he has seven of them parked in his yard. And so far, according to Paul, “the neighbors haven’t complained.”
In the summertime, visitors and residents can find him volunteering at the Gunnison Pioneer Museum. On off hours, Paul likes to fish, ride all-terrain vehicles and spend time with his family. Lucky for him all three of his children live in the state. He also has six grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.
As one of the Cattlemen’s Days Parade Marshals, Paul looks forward to this year’s 116th rodeo, an event he has enjoyed attending and supporting for many years.