Chamber picks Roblans of year

The Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce named two longtime residents with decades of local history as its 2011 Roblans of the Year.

Residents Wade Taylor and his aunt, the late Carol (Kester) Tucker, were selected for the award because of their dedication to community work, according to the chamber.

They will be honored at a gala at the Paso Robles Inn in January.

Taylor, Pioneer Day Committee chairman in 2010 and 2011, drove his first buggy in the city’s iconic parade at age 7. The 58-year-old has managed the parade’s wagons, horses and mules since the mid-1970s. Caring for them has led to some of his favorite memories, including the many renovations he’s overseen of the historic equipment.

“I’m hoping (this honor) is a community embracement of Pioneer Day,” Taylor told The Tribune. “Instead of it being all about me, it’s more of what we’ve done.”

Taylor grew up on a ranch in Parkfield that had been in his family since the 1870s.

The Paso Robles High School and Cal Poly graduate is now a 36-year veteran with the Paso Robles Trail Riders group and a 20-plus-year member of the Pioneer Day Committee.

In fact, Taylor has served as chairman and volunteered on numerous committees, including the Paso Robles Rotary Club and the Paso Robles Pioneer Museum.

Tucker, who died in September at the age of 89, also grew up in the North County. In 2002 she told The Tribune that she was inspired by past Pioneer Day queens, and always thought, “My, what a nice thing that would be to do.”

That year she was crowned 2002 Pioneer Day Queen and, according to the chamber, she said it was “the most enjoyable event of her life.”

Tucker is described as a community leader who participated in numerous groups such as the Paso Robles Grange, Templeton Women’s Club, and the Paso Robles and Templeton Historical Society. She also volunteered at the California Mid-State Fair.

Taylor said it was the community activism of his aunt and mother that inspired him to volunteer.

The chamber will honor Taylor and Tucker on Jan. 14 at the Paso Robles Inn Grand Ballroom. To reserve a spot for the event, call 238-0506. Tickets are $100 per person or $1,000 for a table of 10.