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The Sanpete Messenger

Three honored for their service at Fairview Pioneer Day Celebration

marcy curtis / messenger photo
Bill Keller led his father’s beloved calf roping horse named Kinoke while his deceased father, Cliff Keller, was honored at the Fairview Pioneer Days Rodeo.

FAIRVIEW—During Fairview’s Pioneer Days celebration, the rodeo and derby committees took some time away from the actual event to honor three special people who had a large impact on these events and the community.

Friday night’s rodeo began by honoring all those who had served in the armed forces with special mention of Harold “Blackie” Blackburn.

Blackie was born on February 11, 1926 and passed away on November 25, 2020 in his home at the age of 94.

In 1943 at the age of 17 Blackie joined the United States Marine Corps and fought as a sniper and scout in the Pacific Theatre through the end of World War II. Upon his return in 1946, he married Edythe Bergera and they moved to Fairview in 1960.

Blackie worked for the Division of Wildlife Resources as a conservation officer. He also raised and trained racehorses, farmed and helped many in the area care for sick and injured horses. He nursed many of them back to health.

If one knew Blackie, they knew of his love for family, of the great outdoors, of animals and of freedom. Towards the end of his life, if you had time to sit with him he began to share those stories of his life. They are stories to never be forgotten.

Before the roping event of the rodeo started, Cliff Keller was remembered.

Cliff was born in 1949 to Bill and Margaret Keller. He lost a courageous battle to cancer this last February.

Cliff spent his childhood roping with his dad and many friends. He and his wife Jackie moved to Fairview and raised two children there. He was a part of the Fairview celebration for over 40 years.

Cliff was in charge of the first rodeo in Fairview in 1979. After the Pioneer Day celebration grew and grew, he designed and built the new arena where the celebrations are held today.

He and his wife continued to be in charge of the rodeo for the next 39 plus years.

Cliff was always thinking and he wanted to have something for the kids to do. He designated a night during the celebration for a kid’s rodeo. This included farm scrambles, greased pigs, steer riding, mutton bustin’, barrel racing, money calf’s and stick horse races to name a few. Every year he would send his family and anyone willing to help in search of farm animals for the farm scramble. He would gather up sheep for the mutton bustin’ and use his steers and calves for the rodeo as well.

He loved the City and Fairview celebration and was always working to make it a better place inside the arena and out.

In 2019 this arena was named after Keller and his loving wife for all their dedication and support over the years.

The community dearly misses Cliff as does the rodeo world, but the mark he has left will live on forever.

MARCY CURTIS / MESSENGER PHOTO
The late Jim Cheney’s family was escorted to the arena by Fairview Police prior to the Demolition Derby, where he was honored for his service in Fairview.

Saturday night at the always popular Demolition Derby, another Fairview great was honored.

Jim Cheney was taken way too soon on Monday, November 23, 2020. He was born and raised in Fairview.

Jim was married to Diane and they raised their family in Fairview. Jim was blessed with six kids, 17 grandkids and three great grandkids.

In 1977 Jim started with Fairview City as a handyman. He then moved into the water department, from there, to the power department. He then decided to attend the Utah Police Academy and was certified in November 1984. Later on he became Fairview’s Police Chief. He really was the kind of police officer that everyone loved.

He retired from Fairview City on March 30, 2007. He served the community of Fairview in one form or another for over 30 years. In addition to his work; he was on the fire department, search and rescue and was a volunteer EMT.

Councilman Brad Welch was happy with the whole celebration of Pioneer Days. Honoring these three great men was just the icing on the cake. He mentioned that even though the kid’s rodeo was rained out by some very much needed moisture, the rest of the events had record attendance.