Hometown Proud and Fun: Ellensburg - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Hometown Proud and Fun: Ellensburg

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ELLENSBURG, WA - Our Hometown Proud and Fun segment has allowed us to show you a number of towns' unique and fun locations in our areas around the Tri-Cities as well as Yakima. This Friday, sadly, is our last segment and our team has spent all day in Ellensburg.

We spent a ton of time at the Kittitas County Fair, and there was a lot happening there. The Ellensburg Rodeo was also there. Did you know the fair has been going on since 1885? That's 133 years! And over the years it's just gotten bigger and better.

While in Ellensburg, we also checked out the Iron Horse Brewery, and were able to see where all the brewing happens. Greg Parker, who is also the vice president of the brewery, tells us the company has been around since 2004. Parker and his dad took over the brewery in 2007 and it have kept it local in Ellensburg just like it started since day one.

Parker says currently they brew nine beers, with the In-Law IPA being one of their newest. He also says they like to be different with the beers they produce.

"As a brand we try to be interesting," Parker said. "We try to shy away from safe, normal, expected. In terms of beer we try to do a little bit of the same; you know Irish Death is our number one beer and it doesn't really fit a particular category."

The beer is brewed in Ellensburg and they also have a pub on Main Street. They will be changing locations around the middle of next year. to somewhere along Pearl Street, so keep an eye out for that because it sounds like that new location is going to offer a lot more.

And if you don't live in Ellensburg but want to try some Iron Horse beer, ask your local bar or restaurant because they are carried by over 6,000 different locations in five different states, and can be found in grocery stores. 

If it's too early for beer, D&M Coffee is a family-owned business that started in 1990, and a must-stop if you're in Ellensburg.

The couple that started the business wanted something that would make money and give them the opportunity to be creative. They never thought this would end up being their career, but when they decided they didn't like all the traveling they were doing with their mobile espresso... they decided to have a drive-thru espresso bar.

Now, they have five locations. 

"Every place that we've opened has been an event, and I think those are really good memories for us," said Donna Malek and Mark Holloway. "But we have a bunch of good memories, and some bad ones too; we haven't done everything right one-hundred percent."

Malek and Holloway tell us they thank the local community a lot for where they are now and they do love to help out as much as they are able; for example, they are helping sponsor this year's fair. 

If you're more hungry than thirsty, you're in luck. For many of the Central Washington University students living in Ellensburg, a far-favorite pasta place we've been recommended is the Ellensburg Pasta Company.

13 years ago current owner Bruce Harris talked his wife into buying Ellensburg Pasta Company from close friends of his. Things look a little different... now the restaurant has expanded and has setting outside as well as an adult setting.

Harris says he wants every person walking down the street to feel invited when they walk in the door.

"They are welcomed here... we want them here and it's a sense of community and breaking bread, and we strive to do that the best they can."

A neat aspect about this company is that around 75 percent of their employees are Central students... as they want to be able to support the college community that seeks a part-time job.

One of their most popular dishes is their fettuccine, to which people can add chicken or shrimp.

After visiting the Iron Horse Brewery, D&M Coffee, and the Ellensburg Pasta Company, we ended up finishing our last Hometown Proud and Fun day at the County Fair.

The Ellensburg Rodeo is also happening at the same location as the fair, and has actually been around since 1923 and is one of the top 10 rodeos in the country! 

We wanted to do something fun at the fair, and as we were looking at the program we saw 'Wool Busters' and decided to check that out.

So what exactly is wool bustin'? First off, it's also known as muttin bustin' and children 55 pounds and under get on top of a sheep that is let loose inside a gated arena.

The company Wool Busters that was at the fair says they do things a little different. They put a rope on the sheep to help the kids hold on, and the trick is to basically hold on tight and not fall. Some kids were able to stay on longer than others, and while some came out of the arena thrilled from that adrenaline - others... well, not so much.

We asked kids about the experience and got a few responses:

"I burned my hands a little but I stayed on."

"I liked going really fast!"

"My favorite part is seeing the kids who enjoy it," said Michael Pylican, an entertainer with Wool Busters. "So, like you mention bull riding; it's not the exact same but it kinda gets the concept."

The company Wool Busters is based out of Sweet Home, Oregon and aside from wool bustin' they also have a show where they ride longhorns and teach people about the animals. For fun they also have a mechanical bull that you can rent for whatever type of fun event you may have.

We loved bringing our NBC Right Now viewers another great summer of Hometown Proud activities, and we look forward to more hometown-themed segments next year!

Hometown Proud reporters: Briseida Holguin and Alanna Inzunza

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