There are two seasons in Pendleton -- before Round-Up and After Round-Up.

This is the week is between those seasons. It's Round-Up.

From the Dress Up Parade yesterday 'til the last dog's hung Saturday, the calendars all around Eastern Oregon just say, "Round-Up."

Most say it with anticipation, some say it with dread. They all say it, though.

After Round-Up goes like this:

(telephone rings and is answered with a store's name....)

How can I help you?

Well, we just moved here, and our washing machine sprung a leak in the move. We need you to come up and see if you can fix it.

Well... we're pretty booked today and tomorrow, and then we'll be closed next week... we can set up an appointment for after Round-Up.

Well... we may need clean clothes between now and then, can you suggest anything?

No, I don't think so, but we'll be glad to help after Round-Up.

Before Round-Up went like this:

(telephone rings in the publisher's office...)

This is Dave.

Yah, I was hoping you could come out and speak to our youth group. Some of them have starting talking about maybe going into journalism after college, and I thought it would be good if they could hear from someone like you...

When did you have in mind?

Well, the quicker the better, you know. Before Round-Up, that's for sure.

Well... I don't know. Round-Up is next week.

I know, but they just started talking about this, and I want them to see just what a newspaper guy looks and sounds like before it's too late...

One of the features of the Dude's First Round-Up blog, which went public on Thursday at www.eastoregonian.com, is the ability for readers to interact with questions they'd like asked but have been to too many Round-Ups to get away with it.

A dude on his first Round-Up can ask any kind of question. Heck, everyone expects him to be city stupid anyway, so let him ask.

Readers can also provide answers that will help in the ultimate goal of the blog which is to provide a primer for other first-time Round-Up greenhorns.

Today's question: What's with the belt buckles? Do you have to do something to warrant wearing a belt buckle that's as big as your face or is it just a matter of style? And, can fat old publisher's get away with wearing a buckle hidden under his belly?

Today's vocabulary:

Slack (slak):

Webster's New World Dictionary 2004: (adj.) A part that hangs loose.

Talking Cowboy, Pendleton, since forever: (noun) Prelliminary rounds of all timed events in the rodeo. Entrants are assured of two tries to find out if they qualify for the competition. Synoym: Heats

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