HOLTVILLE — Opal Immel was honored Saturday for her 90th birthday.
Born in Austin, Texas, she moved to the Imperial Valley with her family in 1916. She married the late Alvin Immel in 1934. The two owned a farm equipment store in Holtville for 27 years. During that time she worked as the business bookkeeper for both the store and her husband's farming operation.
Besides her family, the Barbara Worth Brigadettes have been a big part of her life. In 1993 she was honored for being the first woman to be with the Brigadettes for 50 years. Immel was a charter member of the club's Galloping Gossips square dance team.
When she joined the club she couldn't ride.
She quickly learned and performed in thousands of rodeos, parades and fairs, including an appearance at Brawley Cattle Call Arena before former President Ronald Reagan while he was governor of California. She and the former president are both 90 years old this year. She curtailed her riding activities with the club after a broken ankle grounded her in 1986. These days she spends much of her time researching her family's genealogy.