Travis Whiteside of Turner Valley, Alberta, Canada, rides Copen Heckle in the 1998 Pendleton Round-Up Photo: Don Cresswell, East Oregonian
In the fall of 1910, a group of ranchers and
cowboys decided to celebrate the harvest and show off their
skills. All the town's stores closed, and the largest crowd in
Pendleton's history then showed up to enjoy the first
Pendleton "Round-Up," a rip-roaring Western rodeo. The
Round-Up has since become a week-long celebration of the
cowboy way of life. Fueled by the unbridled energy of hundreds
of volunteers, the Round-Up is a true case of how community
pride and spirit can be funneled into an outstanding
Entrenched in the second full week of September, the
Pendleton Round-Up attracts crowds of more than 50,000, causing the
city to nearly triple in size. Sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo
Cowboy's Association (PRCA), the rodeo offers itself as a
traditional test of skills for the world's best cowboy athletes,
who participate in saddle bronc riding, bull dogging, steer roping,
calf roping, team roping, bull riding, and bareback riding. In
1997, the Pendleton Round-Up was inducted into the Oregon Sports
Hall of Fame.
What makes the rodeo unique is its special
entertainment which accompanies each afternoon's performance-relay
races for Indians and non-Indians performers, wild cow milking,
clown and specialty acts, stage coach races, tribal dancing, and
the wild horse race. About 200 non-Indian and 300 Indian performers
participate in a historical night pageant, Happy Canyon,
which traces development of the West, including the arrival of
Lewis and Clark, miners, and the battles between white settlers and
Native Americans. Some roles in the pageant, which began in 1914,
have been handed down from one generation to the next.
During the Round-Up, Indians from the region and the
Southwest meet in Roy Roely Park and display and sell their crafts,
which include quality quill and beadwork, baskets, dolls, silver
jewelry, woven rugs, sand painting, and clay pottery. They also
participate in the Pow Wow Dance competition on Saturday evening.
No motorized vehicles are allowed in Pendleton's "history rich"
parade, Westward Ho, which features mules, oxen-drawn covered
wagons, Mormon carts, buggies, surreys, riding groups, marching
bands, and Indians dressed in their tribal regalia.
Documentation includes 1999 official and souvenir
programs, 26 photos, a brochure and video.
Originally submitted by: Gordon Smith, Senator.
The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.