Step back in time features community news items from The Daily Star 25 and 50 years ago.

25 years ago

Sept. 22, 1986

COBLESKILL _ George Blair had a personal interest in bringing his rodeo troupe of 50 cowboys and cowgirls to Cobleskill on Saturday.

The Black World Championship Rodeo put on two shows at the county fairgrounds to benefit the Schoharie County unit of the American Cancer Society.

"I decided to put on the benefit shows for the American Cancer Society because my brother died from cancer," he said. "It is our way to be good neighbors."

Marilyn Barnes of the American Cancer Society said it was the first time they have had a rodeo show in Cobleskill to raise money. She said she wouldn't know until today how much money was raised.

"Although we had our 'parade' rained on Saturday, people still turned out and we had fun," she said. "It was fun to watch."

Formed three years ago, the group put on its first show in a Harlem street in New York City. Blair said he decided to form the rodeo because cowboys are an important part of Black culture.

Born into a seventh generation rodeo family, Blair said he used to perform as a calf-roper, stopping only because of age.

"We've been in the business for a long time," he said. "Blacks were the original cowboys in the country. That's a little-known fact. People would call the slaves who watched cows, boys. So they were called cowboys." Besides it being a family tradition, Blair said he became involved with rodeos because it is the last sport in America that is an original individual sport.

"It's us against the animals," said Blair, who is director of operations for the State University of New York. "Sometimes we win, and sometimes we lose. You have to have a lot of courage to go out and face the bulls. It is the most dangerous sport in America today. And it draws more spectators than baseball, football and basketball put together."

Although it rained most of the time on Saturday, he said quite a few people turned out for the two shows.

He said he intends on having his rodeo perform a benefit show annually to help raise money for the American Cancer Society

50 years ago

Sept. 22, 1961

The Oneonta Triangle Shoe Store was the winner of a 29 week company wide contest involving 129 stores on the eastern seaboard.

The Oneonta branch of Triangle Shoe Company with Don Searfoss as manager, placed first on the list with the most sales.

Mrs. and Mrs. Searfoss will be given a ten-day vacation in the first part of November in Nassau, in the Bahamas.

The store workers, Marie Cole, Elaine Loucks, Mrs. Searfoss, Dick Avery, Lucille Fink and Beth Thorington, will receive a week-long, all-expense-paid vacation in Atlantic City, N.J., next summer.

Mr. Searfoss has been manager of the Oneonta Triangle Shoe Store for 16 years.

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