For one week out of the year, Pendleton is the center of Oregon’s attention.
The Pendleton Round-Up is a cultural phenomenon that brings international tourists, politicians, filmmakers, university presidents, party seekers and, of course, rodeo fans to town for a week of Western fun.
While rodeo might not be everyone’s favorite pastime, Round-Up week offers cultural, culinary and curious delights that require no previous experience with bucking broncs or cattle roping. Just try walking from downtown to the Round-Up Stadium without having your attention pulled in by a display of fine bead work, the smells of roasting tri-tip or a cowboy riding down the street on his horse, getting ready to compete in front of an audience of thousands.
So much of the week is driven by volunteers, from the rodeo itself to the Happy Canyon Night Show to the Main Street Cowboys and Sidesaddlers to the local service clubs that put their time and energy into putting on an event everyone can enjoy. But whether you’re a volunteer or not, we’re all part of the welcome committee.
Sure, there are some bothersome things about having tens of thousands of people come visit for a week. Streets become packed with transportation, both automotive and equine. Police work long hours helping draw the line between a good time and a bad one. Daily routines are dismantled.
But we’d argue it’s more than worth the overtime budget, delayed commute and reworked schedules.
This week is our chance to show the rest of the state what Pendleton does best.
We can treat the new faces as strangers or friends.
A stranger might drop a few dollars into the local economy and be on their way with a few fun memories about their time in Pendleton, but a friend will become an evangelist for the city, spreading the tales of their time here with anyone who will listen. In the best cases, they won’t even be able to wait until next September to come visit again and will bring a truckload of their friends when they come back for more.
It’s shaping up to be a great week. The forecast is nearly ideal for an afternoon rodeo (if the rain could hold off one more week, we sure wouldn’t mind), the hotels are filling up fast and newcomers are getting out their bucket lists to check off the Pendleton Round-Up.
Let’s make sure it’s a week they’ll always remember, and one they won’t want to miss again.