Originally designed to showcase the bronco busting, Indian, military and cowboy spectacle that was the Wild West of old, the Pendleton Round-Up first kicked off it inaugural rodeo on September 29, 1910. The largest crowd in the small town of Pendleton’s history – over 7,000 – attended the first day’s events, leading the local newspaper to write, “The words ‘Pendleton’ and ‘Round-Up’ are on the lips of thousands and will continue to be for months and years to come…”
True to these words, the Round-Up continued to grow each year. By the 1930s, Pendleton’s rodeo would draw spectators from 36 states and at least eight foreign countries. With the exception of a brief two-year hiatus, held during the height of World War II, the Round-Up increased in attendance, drawing an average of 50,000 people to the four-day show.
One of the reasons why the Pendleton Round-Up has remained a fixture for over 100 years is the vast number of exhibits and exhibitions the event hosts every year. In addition to the rodeo, this year’s Round-Up – which is being held September 10-13 – will feature multiple parades, Hall of Fame banquet induction, memorial golf tournament, beauty pageant, concerts, dancing contests and barrel racing. The whole town of Pendleton comes alive during the Round-Up, transforming the streets of this normally sleepy, small town in northern Oregon into a lively, festive, and occasionally raucous place to enjoy.
Fearuring the country’s best cowboys and cowgirls
Of course, the main event of the Pendleton Round-Up doesn’t disappoint, either. The annual rodeo includes exhibitions and competitions featuring some of the country’s best cowboys and cowgirls. Barrel racing, cattle roping, and bronco and bull riding are all on display, and, with exception of the main rodeo, all events are open to the public at no charge.
For those looking to find a chance to see the rodeo stars of the future, Wednesday’s events includes a children’s rodeo, while Thursday’s main event offers a chance for spectators to show their support for Tough Enough to Wear Pink, a nationally-recognized non-profit campaign with the goal of bring the country’s rodeo community together in order to promote breast cancer awareness.
From Walla Walla to Malhuer Something for Everyone
For sightseers and nature lovers, Pendleton is located a short drive from Ochoco National Forest, Malheur National Forest and Wallow-Whitman National Forest. Near the Washington boarder, Pendleton is just south of Walla Walla, one the Pacific Northwest’s premiere wine growing regions.
Summer in Oregon is truly one of the best places to experience in the entire United States. So consider Pendleton one more place to add to any list of must see locations, and take the chance to travel back in time to see what the Wild West like by visiting this year’s Round-Up.
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