The crew at Clinkscales Portable Toilets grabs the reins and holds on for dear life to provide winning service to the Molalla Buckeroo Rodeo and Fourth of July festival.
Trent Clinkscales and his sister, Terry Shankle, own Clinkscales Portable Toilets & Septic Service in Molalla, Oregon, a town of 8,500, 35 miles south of Portland. About 70 percent of their work is portable restrooms, the rest septic pumping and inspections. Clinkscales works in the field, mostly on the septic side, filling in elsewhere as needed, while Shankle handles the office work. The whole team was on hand for the Fourth of July rodeo and parade — three portable restroom technicians, one septic driver, one yard person and one office assistant, along with one driver’s brother who helps every year.
The business — originally a septic company called Gary F. Clinkscales Septic Pump Service — was started in 1981 by the siblings’ parents, Gary and Marie Clinkscales. In 1992, the brother and sister teamed up and bought the company. They wanted to expand their offerings and considered some reasonable options — excavating, drain cleaning and portable restrooms. Not wanting to compete with some of their own customers, they chose portable sanitation and changed the name accordingly. It turned out to be a good choice. “Luckily, we filled a void here in our area that not a lot of companies wanted to serve at the time,” Clinkscales says.
Today, they’ve got 470 units, and in 2016 added three restroom trailers — two from Comforts of Home Services and one from ART Co. (A Restroom Trailer Co.). They work within a one-hour driving radius of Molalla.
The company has been involved in the rodeo and parade since 1996, when they were approached by one of their customers, the committee member in charge of sanitation for the rodeo. The committee felt they needed to find a new vendor. Clinkscales put in a bid and since then has worked hard to keep the account.
THE MAIN EVENT
The Molalla Buckeroo Rodeo started in 1913, when the residents of Molalla wanted to do something to celebrate the coming of the railroad to their town. It was originally sponsored by the local firefighters as a fundraiser. Today, it’s the town’s biggest event and attracts top talent from the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. 2016 festivities started the weekend before the Fourth of July with a Saturday kick-off concert and a Sunday trail ride. On Friday, July 1, after the kiddie parade, the serious rodeo competition began, continuing through the Fourth. Other activities included a steady stream of live music, dances, a carnival and lots of vendors. The Fourth of July was jam-packed — pancake breakfast, 5K run, the Giant Street Parade, an afternoon rodeo, and a final evening rodeo capped by fireworks.
On June 23, using two vacuum trucks pulling a 16-unit trailer from Peterkin Welding and a 12-unit trailer built by M.S. Metal Works, the company delivered 22 PolyJohn Enterprises silver PJN3s (all with hand sanitizer), four Satellite Industries ADA-compliant units, three 350-gallon Quadel Industries holding tanks, and one PolyJohn hand-wash station to the rodeo grounds. Seven were set up near the entryway, one outside the entry (“So people can’t just walk up and say they need to use the bathroom”), seven near the bucking chutes, two ADA-compliant units outside the permanent restrooms, and two units and the hand-wash station in the VIP area. The rest were scattered about for cowboys, clowns and directors. Holding tanks were for food vendors and livestock contractors.
On June 24, the company set up four units at the trail ride lunch stop area. Four days later, as they do every year, they brought in a two-stall shower trailer, rented from another PRO, for use by the rodeo contestants, clowns and entertainers who camp out for the duration of the event. On June 30, a last-minute request came in for six more units for the carnival area. And on July 1, four units — donated by the company — were provided for the kiddie parade.
Late July 3 and early July 4, they set up 30 units along the nearly 3-mile-long parade route. Those units were also donated by the company. “The Chamber of Commerce puts it on as a fundraiser,” explains Shankle, the Chamber’s current treasurer and past president. “We’ve been donating these units for 24 years, even before we had the rodeo.” In addition, the company auctions off the right to put advertising on the units during the parade, raising even more funds for the Chamber.
Parade units were picked up the same day, and everything else was slowly removed over the following week.
MANAGING THE PROCESS
Organization is the key to handling all the moving parts of this event, says Clinkscales. “We’ve developed a worksheet to keep track of who does what and to make sure everything gets taken care of.” They worked in teams of two per truck. Every driver got a worksheet and checked off exactly what he did. They also wrote down how many gallons were pumped out of the holding tanks to facilitate accurate billing.
The worksheet was also designed to make note of any extra services requested by the event organizers as well as instances of vandalism or over-full units — a rare occurrence, says Shankle. “Our rodeo association really has this down to a fine art,” she says. “They know exactly how many toilets they need and where they need them.”
KEEPING IT CLEAN
Daily servicing began Thursday, June 30. On Saturday they also fit in their regular Monday route work, since Monday was a holiday. Then the “absolute craziness” started Sunday, Clinkscales says, because in addition to servicing the rodeo they had three other events going on in neighboring towns.
The pace quickened again on the Fourth of July. The team started the day at 4:30 a.m. by taking advantage of the pancake breakfast before setting up the parade units. Then they headed over to the rodeo grounds to service those units, finishing up before the 8 a.m. street closures. They took a break and watched the parade, then around 1 p.m. picked those units up and took them to their yard before making a final service run at the rodeo grounds. “Then we’re done for the day — in more ways than one,” Clinkscales says. “After that we go home and sleep.”
Three vacuum trucks were used — a 2015 Dodge Ram with a 1997 slightly modified Keith Huber 500-gallon waste/200-gallon freshwater tank; a 2015 Dodge Ram with a 650-gallon waste/350-gallon freshwater flat tank built out by Lely Tank & Waste Solutions; a 2006 International 4300 with a 600-gallon waste/300-gallon freshwater flat tank; and their small septic truck, a 1999 International from Lely with a 1,700-gallon waste/300-gallon freshwater tank. All tanks are steel and pumps are Masport. The company uses Walex deodorant products. Waste was taken to their yard for temporary storage in one of their three 1,500-gallon holding tanks before being transferred to a nearby municipal treatment plant.
Clinkscales says the event is a lot of work, but it’s also fun, and everyone on the Clinkscales team is proud to be part of it. It’s the town’s highest-profile event and a real community celebration involving numerous volunteers. “The atmosphere in our tiny little town is just electric around the Fourth of July,” Clinkscales says. “You can just feel the excitement in the air. It’s a little bit like Christmas.”