PENDLETON - One new, larger, parking area will be available this week for Pendleton Round-Up contestants pulling trailers.
And a new overflow parking area also has been established, according to Kevin Hudson, Round-Up security director. The changes were necessary because construction of the West Pendleton overpass has occupied some former contestant parking areas, he said.
The largest contestant parking area includes 8 1/2 acres east of the Keystone RV Co. plant. Those who park there will have to walk or ride their horses along the Umatilla River levee, under the Union Pacific Railroad tracks to Westgate and east across the river to the Round-Up Grounds.
The larger area is a welcome addition for contestant parking, Hudson said, despite its distance from the action.
"We can't hold all the horses at the Round-Up Grounds," Hudson said. "We're setting up some stalls down there at Parking Lot No. 3. A lot of (contestants) will be saddling up their horses right there, then riding down to the Round-Up Grounds to compete."
Round-Up directors are expecting up to 700 contestants this week.
"We never have had adequate parking," said Hudson, who is in his fourth year as a Round-Up director and second year as security director. "And over the years, as the rodeo has grown, so have the contestants' trailers."
The Round-Up Association has arranged for an Oregon National Guard military police unit to provide security at Lot 3. It also has hired a private security firm from Western Oregon to help with security elsewhere.
Lot 1 on Fallen Field near the Round-Up Grounds is always the first to fill with contestants' vehicles and trailers, Hudson said. Lot 2, in the Pendleton Convention Center parking lot, is used for contestants without trailers, and for contestants who come only for Tuesday's slack events.
Hudson is hoping Lot 4 won't be needed, but if it is, Continental Mills has made space available for contestant parking near its plant farther out Westgate.
"Parking is a huge issue this year," Hudson said. "It'll never be the way it was - ever."