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Our History

(Picture From The First Pioneer Picnic 1911)

History of Alder Creek Pioneer Association 1911 to current

Alder Creek Pioneer Association was formed May 27, 1911 as reported the following article taken from The Bickleton News dated June 2, 1911: “The Alder Creek Pioneer Association was formed last Saturday for the purpose of making arrangements for holding a reunion at Cleveland on June 14. A. J. Spoon was made president, E. Y. Stone vice-president, and R. H. Buckley, secretary.

“The following invitation has been issued and is being mailed to the known addresses of pioneers, but no one need wait for a bid, for everyone will be made welcome. The exercises will begin at 10 o’clock. This is the printed invitation:

“’You are cordially invited to attend the reunion of the Alder Creek Pioneer Association to be held at Cleveland, Klickitat County, Washington on the 14th day of June, 1911. Yours very truly, W. L. Lewis, J. E. Story, C. M. Wherry, C. Larsen, E. L. Mace, and R. H. Buckley, secretary.’”

The first few Association picnics were local affairs with mostly all local people as they did not travel as far away from home in those days, but with the men barbecuing meat over a pit and the ladies bringing contributions from home, a bountiful picnic was held. The entertainment in those days was more on the local level, with foot races, sack races, ball games, local saddle horse races, and if some farmer had a horse he thought could buck he might talk some young daredevil into trying his luck. Now Alder Creek Pioneer Association puts on a two-day Northwest Professional Rodeo Association sanctioned rodeo with riders and ropers, who follow the rodeo circuit, coming from all of the West and Canada to compete. Events include saddle bronc, bare-back riding, calf roping, barrel racing, bull riding and more.

The morning program consists of the president’s welcome to the crowd, a speaker, music and a memorial program in honor of all pioneers that have passed away since the last picnic. People whose roots were once in this part of Klickitat County come on this day to renew old acquaintances and to visit with friends and relatives from near and far.

In 1929, the Association purchased a carousel from Oak Park, Oregon for $500.00. This carousel is one of Bickleton’s treasures. It is a Herschell-Spillman track carousel circa 1905 and is one of only a few of its kind still in existence. In 2007, ACPA opened a Carousel Museum in Bickleton in which the horses and carriages from our carousel are housed and displayed along with much history of Eastern Klickitat County. The museum is open from the first part of April through the end of September, Friday through Sunday.

In 2010, we celebrated our Centennial which is a huge accomplishment—especially for a town of 90 people. The locals have worked hard over the past 100 years to keep this wonderful gathering going strong. The picnic used to be held on Flag Day, June 14th, but it is now held on the second weekend in June. People come by the hundreds in cars, campers, trailers and motor homes to spend the weekend in our beautiful pine forest. 

Besides the rodeo and the morning program, we have an outdoor dance on Saturday night, vendors, food booths and homemade pies.

The picnic/rodeo grounds are located 4 miles west of Bickleton.

We welcome you to join us on June 8 & 9, 2024.

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