By DAX KELLER
Ron Keller was named the 2012 Grand Marshal of That Famous Preston Night Rodeo Parade last week by the rodeo committee.
Ron was born in Preston in 1939 and raised in Mink Creek. He had the gift of talking at a young age, Oscar Wilde, who hired him to work, actually gave him a bonus for not talking. That gift helped him to build a business, serve in the community and gather a very large amount of friends.
Ron will be the first to say his life has been happy and productive, only because of the numerous individuals who have helped him along the way. Ron’s father died when Ron was eight years old. When Ron was 11, he contracted rheumatic fever and was in Primary Children’s Hospital.
LDS President George Albert Smith visited one day and gave Ron a nickel and said that if he kept that nickel he would never be broke. Ron to this day still has that nickel.
The most important person in his life is his wife, Sharon, whom he married in 1956 at the age of 17. Ron and his wife started business in 1958 recapping tires after several years of working for Leness and Gae Keller . Ron was only 19 years old.
The stories are told of him walking up and down main street looking at the tires on vehicles parked along the road and finding the owners of those that needed tires and making them a deal that they could not refuse. He loved a deal and was known to buy loads of tires far and wide just to make sure he had a great price for his customers.
He could hardly resist a trade, whatever it may be, for those that needed tires but just didn’t have the cash. In 1969, Ron bought the old Craney Chevrolet building, which is where the business remains to this day.
His long time friend, Blane Schvaneveldt, helped him to get into quarter-horse racing in 1962. Ron has been known for many great running horses since that time. He loved the competition of chariot racing and did that for many years. Wendell and Wavel Smith, a couple Ron loved, approached him about buying their herd of Hereford cows and they set terms that made it possible. Since that day, Ron and Sharon have always owned cattle.
Ron has been known in the community for supporting events, fundraisers and to give out thousands of hats, coats and candy bars. He introduced and sponsored Mutton Bustin’ to That Famous Preston Night Rodeo after he had seen it done at another rodeo.
He gave trophies to those four-six year olds that were taller than them because he loved to see the gleam in their eyes when they saw that huge trophy.
He has supported the FFA/4-H animal auction even buying all three grand champions in a single year.
He and Sharon have raised seven children. Ron is one of the most the fun and interesting individuals ever to talk to. He is quick to add that the people of this county have been so good to him in his life.
However, this community is a better place because of the generous ways and words of Ron Keller.
This story is sponsored by FCMC Stork Support.
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