I have to admit this month’s blog is about one of the most memorable experiences of my life.
I currently have the pleasure of documenting the 100th Anniversary of the historic Pendleton Round-Up! It’s a rodeo, a big rodeo. Happening right now. And it’s more than a big deal, it’s Pendleton!
The Round-Up has long been associated with iconic western images ranging from parades and pageants to Indians and bronc busting. But for me, the two things that immediately stuck in my mind were the sheer size of the Round-Up “Let’er Buck” arena, with its unique 140-yard long grass infield and surrounding dirt track, and the overwhelming sense of history and tradition.
Historic in size and stature the Round-Up has played host to some of the biggest names in rodeo. Founded in 1910, the Round-Up originally served as a northwest championship. Today it’s one of the ten largest rodeos in the world and currently the largest four-day rodeo anywhere. In addition to the seven PRCA sanctioned events (Bareback, Tie-Down Roping, Saddle Bronc, Team Roping, Steer Wrestling, Barrel Racing, and Bull Riding) Pendleton features Steer Roping and a handful of crowd pleasing “throwback” events like wild horse races and classic saddle bronc riding.
Just in case you’re not familiar with classic saddle bronc riding there are no chutes, just a cowboy and a blindfolded horse, which is held steady by two or three of his closest pals in the middle of the arena. When rider is ready, the horse’s blindfold is removed and things get very interesting, rather quickly.
Obviously I was luckier than most, as a producer/cameraman I was able to record every exciting moment. I was given an all-access arena pass that allowed me to maneuver through gates, around barriers, and behind the chutes; fun but dirty work often requiring the television crew to move quickly from one event to the next.
This type of fast-paced work often requires a certain level of disregard for your personal gear. You’re going to get hot, sweaty, and dirty, which is never a problem at rodeos because of the dress code – hats, long-sleeved shirts, jeans, and boots are required. And it’s never been a problem for this Oklahoma State boy. But, since I wasn’t real excited about getting my new Nocona OSU full-quill ostrich boots dirty I decided to pull on my tough green-topped Chippewa Arroyos – a boot series built for abuse. The same abuse routinely handed out on farms, ranches, and rodeos across this great country. Constructed out of heavy-duty oiled leather and long-lasting Vibram soles they’re the perfect western work boots. And in my opinion, especially suited for the rigors of the “Let’er Buck” arena. If you were not familiar with the Pendleton Round-Up or rodeo in general I would encourage you to check it out. There are few places keeping the cowboy spirit alive like Pendleton!0 Comments