First let me state that there are few, if any times that I have ever even come close to agreeing with the editorial board’s comments in the East Oregonian.
The EO appears to have taken upon themselves to touch the surface of issues between the Pendleton Round-Up board, the stockholders and many of the vast number of volunteers who are the real reason the Round-Up survived for years — especially before the large payments received from the sales of Pendleton Whisky.
Any time someone starts off with a statement such as that of a past president — “Trust us” — I immediately think: Here comes the spin and cover-ups. “Trust us” was the same statement made by the head of Pendleton Grain Growers (Tim Hawkins), followed by its collapse.
Years ago the Round-Up was completely run by volunteers, mostly behind the scenes. But over time some of the board members and presidents have decided the hard-working volunteers were no longer needed. Many were replaced by commercial vendors, paid friends or family members. Many volunteers lost their job simply because some on the board, or past presidents, had personal issues with the volunteers totally unrelated to the operations of the Round-Up.
Surely many, including myself, are upset with no financial openness in the last few years. But that is not the only issue facing the Round-Up situation. Many times there has been a belief by many of the vast number of volunteers, both current and past, that they are only given lip service and that they are not truly appreciated for the years they have taken time to make the Round-Up a success.
The current board has stated that all the budgets and financial issues will be made available to all very soon. That is a good step forward. Director Rob Collins said: “Come talk to us and tell us what we are doing wrong or what you think will improve relations.” I say give the current board a chance and if they fail the stockholders or volunteers, hold them accountable at the proper time.
The Round-Up is growing, and an important part of the success of the local area. I hope that with the elections over, issues exposed and all having a say, that unlike in the political world everyone can put aside their anger and accept that we all need to work together to make it continue as a big success.