September 26, 2014

9/10/14 - Pendleton Round-Up

Can you believe?  George had never gone to a rodeo! When I found out that the dates for the RWSP association annual meeting synced up with those of the Pendleton Round-Up, I suggested that it be included as a special activity. I would have even coordinated it and booked the tickets for everyone...

No one seemed interested, but I still was.  (After all, George had never gone to a rodeo.)  Their meeting started on Thursday, so I made reservations to arrive at the RV resort on Monday. Wednesday was the first day of the Round-Up--and also Seniors' Day--so I got discounted tickets for two to the rodeo and the BBQ.  

So, as they say at the Round-Up... 
The Pendleton Round-Up is one of the 10 biggest rodeos in the world.  The arena isn't dirt like most rodeos, but grass.  And it's huge--longer than the length of a football field! It makes it a little more interesting (and whole lot less dusty!)  We sat directly across from the Bucking Chutes and watched the count-down on the scoreboard.
The Round-Up starts with a run in on horseback by the flag bearers, and then the Round-Up Queen and her Court charge in, make two jumps, then race around the track. Talk about making an entrance!
They started off with bareback bronc event.  These horses were scary, and the riders never stopped flopping.  After 8 seconds of the wildest ride I've ever seen, if the rider's not bucked off, pickup cowboys have to make sure he gets off safely.  Sometimes that's a bit tricky.  Even after the rider is off, they have to chase down the horse to get him out of the way.  (The brown horse in the last photo didn't fall; he made a really fast turn in the grass and then launched himself.)
The Indian Relay was run in two heats.  There were three teams of young Indians and nine horses. Saddles aren't included.  They start standing next to a horse, jump up on it and race around the track. When they get around the track once, they jump off and attempt to jump onto the second horse. By this time, that horse is all excited from the noise, so he's jumping around too.  IF the rider gets up, he has to race around again, then swap horses once more. One horse ran across the infield, but I don't think shortcuts are allowed.  
Next event was steer wrestling.  Not only does the cowboy have to chase down a steer, but then he has to jump off his horse and flip that critter to the ground and tie him so he can't get up.  Not everyone succeeded.  Those who did were able to do it in less than 10 seconds!
I'd never seen team roping before.  Two cowboys race off after a steer.  One ropes his head and the other somehow manages to rope his back feet.  I think it sounds really hard, and it looks even worse. Only a couple of teams even managed to do it.  (And these are professional rodeo cowboys!)
Then it was time for the bull-riding event.  Scary animals, these bulls.  And they don't like anyone on their backs, even for a measly 8 seconds.  They made the area smaller so the bulls couldn't run all over the whole arena.  I'd never have believed that PVC pipe would have kept a bull contained. Obviously the cowboys sitting next to the fence trust it.  The guys inside with the bull have to jump out of the way.
The Indian Show not only had a dance competition but also a Parade of the Chiefs, all in full regalia. The young men were a constant motion during the dance.  The women and younger kids sort of stayed out of their way while they moved gracefully around a big circle.  A good time was had by all.
Steer roping is similar to team roping, except it's just one cowboy.  He has to chase the steer, rope him, trip him, then tie him.  His horse has to keep the rope taut once the steer is roped.  In the top photo, the steer has been roped, and the cowboy is getting ready to put the slack in the rope around the steer's hips to unbalance him and make him fall down.
Barrel Racing is a women-only event.  They have to race around 3 barrels in a cloverleaf pattern. At most rodeos they do this in the center of the arena, but here they place the barrels on the track, one on each side of the mid-point of the long section, and one at the far end.  They really fly as they race across the big infield.  Wow!
The last event was the Wild Cow Milking Contest.  Two cowboys vs. one cow.  One guy roped it, then tried to hold it while the other tried to milk it.  I don't think they had to get enough for a bowl of cereal, and to be honest, I never did see anyone actually do it. It was pretty chaotic.
After the crowd cleared, they set up the BBQ down on the grass.  You just needed to be a bit careful about where you walked. There's more than one reason cowboys wear boots!  I think George enjoyed it--I know I did.  It would be nice if they'd include it in the itinerary for the meeting next year.  (My offer to organize it still holds, guys.)

Click the link for more pictures of Pendleton Round-Up

Post a comment.

  1. These are wonderful! I wish that I would have known about you then, maybe next year?

    Kathy M.

  2. Crikey ..... Mum and Dad have been on holidays and I've been in gaol. I've missed reading about your adventures but I'm catching up now. I'm glad you had a good time at the rodeo. It looks like fun but I really worry about those poor animals. They do some awful things to them to make them buck here in Australia. Maybe it's different over there but I don't like rodeos. I don't like bull fights either. Maybe I'm weird but I think they are cruel too. Surely there are other ways for farmers to show their horse handling skills.

  3. Wau rodeo. I have only see it by pictures, but maybe on someday I will catch up the plaine and go see it myself :)


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