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Family feud over Oregon rodeo costume settled

Jul 23, 2014


By The Associated Press

PORTLAND — The dustup over a vintage costume from the state's biggest rodeo has finally ended after a yearslong battle in the courts.

The Oregonian newspaper reports that Joan Rice, 79, has the outfit after a settlement was reached last week.

Her mother-in-law, Lois McIntyre, was crowned queen of the 1930 Pendleton Round-Up while wearing the fringed leather skirt and vest. The outfit had been in the possession of Mary Rabb, the 1968 queen and a distant relative of McIntyre.

The newspaper reports that Rabb turned the outfit over to Rice in exchange for Rice dropping the lawsuit that went all the way to the Oregon Supreme Court before the justices sent it back to a lower court.

“I'm thrilled to death,” Rice told the newspaper. “It went clear through the court system, and I didn't lose faith.”

When McIntyre died in 1964, her son Jim Rice inherited the black-and-white vest and skirt. He and Joan Rice, his wife, loaned it to the Round-Up Hall of Fame for the public to see.

When her husband died in 1972, Joan Rice left the petite outfit in the museum. It stayed there until 2000, when Rabb told museum officials it rightfully belonged to her and took it home.

Rabb's grandmother was McIntyre's cousin, and she said that made her a blood relative. But Joan Rice disagreed and filed the lawsuit.

Now that she has the outfit back, Rice wants it displayed again. This week, it's already been at a bank branch in the eastern Oregon community of Athena, where she lives.

She said two places in Portland are interested in putting it on display. She won't say where, at least not yet.

“But it will be on display,” Rice said. “That's what we want is for people to see it.”

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Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com

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