PENDLETON — A week ahead of the 2019 Pendleton Round-Up, those looking for a deeper dive into the region’s biggest annual event can tune into RFD-TV’s “Special Cowboy Moments” on Wednesday night.
“What an amazing opportunity to share about Pendleton Round-Up and what we do for our community,” Round-Up President Dave O’Neill said.
“Special Cowboy Moments” is a 30-minute weekly show that goes behind the scenes of the country’s rodeos and the sport’s most prominent figures. Episodes include interviews with cowboys and cowgirls to go along with photography and other documented history.
The show airs Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. PDT on RFD-TV, which is owned by Rural Media Group and dedicates its programming to rural stories and issues.
Kevin Holten, the show’s executive producer, said they’ve featured a number of other episodes related to Round-Up or with interviews conducted there in the past.
“It’s the most unique rodeo in the world and probably the coolest rodeo in the world,” he said. “It’s one of those rodeos nobody cares how long it lasts.”
The goal of Wednesday’s episode was to show where the Pendleton Round-Up organization was at prior to next week’s rodeo and features an interview with O’Neill.
“No better person to talk to then the guy running the show,” Holten said.
O’Neill said RFD-TV is “definitely a favorite” channel and he was excited to share more about the event and the work of this year’s board of directors. But as much as the episode is about Round-Up, it also goes into the personal story of its president.
“I don’t put a lot of stock into my position and don’t reflect a lot about my own place,” O’Neill said. “But that was a lot of fun to relive that journey.”
According to Holten, viewers can expect an honest reflection on it too.
“Dave O’Neill is a very sincere person,” he said. “And the camera picks up on sincerity.”
In the grand scheme of the “Special Cowboy Moment” series, the episode adds to its chronicling of rodeos and their organizers, who Holten calls “the preservers of Western heritage.”
“Round-Up is a very important cog in rodeo history and rodeo is a very important cog in American history,” he said.
Beyond Wednesday’s episode, Holten is also in the midst of producing a 13-part series on the area. While the series will still feature the Round-Up, it will also peel back the veil on the rest of the community and every element that makes Pendleton so special during that week.
Holten said the series will showcase stories, such as the various saddle, boot and hatmakers that line the city’s downtown blocks or the Pendleton Underground Tours that provide another look at the area’s history and culture.
Next week’s Round-Up will be Holten’s third year in a row making the trip to Pendleton. But it obviously won’t be his last.
“We feel there’s a much bigger story there,” he said of the city. “It’s a beautiful canvas to paint on.”