As the last horse trailer hauled out of town early this morning, the 94th annual Pendleton Round-Up is complete. There are few physical signs left that the annual festival was more than a pleasant dream, but the memories of thousands are indelibly etched for a lifetime.

Before we start planning for next year, it is appropriate to take a moment to reflect on the one fact that separates Round-Up from many other events - the tradition of volunteerism that permeates every moment of the second full week of September in Pendleton.

That spirit is reflected throughout the year in Eastern Oregon, but in Pendleton observers note that it begins at the earliest ages and lasts for decades. It's a way of life born of this event.

There are young cow hands who were working in the mud on Monday to ensure the range calves brought in for the show would be worthy of the best ropers in the land.

There were the businessmen and women who worked the booths to raise money for charities and projects.

There were car parking projects, ushering staff, workers on the fields, driving teams in the parades and untold other activities behind the scenes.

The Pendleton Round-Up is the largest volunteer-run rodeo in America.

The tradition of volunteering carries over into United Way campaigns, 2A Basketball tournaments, youth sports, cleaning up the river - there's just no end to the impact this spirit has on the quality of life we all take for granted.

We also owe a debt to those whose jobs last week were to make it fun for the rest of us. Sure, they got paid, but their devotion to their individual craft - from fire and safety to shuttle bus drivers to ambulance crews, even press photographers and reporters - all worked to make the week more enjoyable to the rest.

Take a minute today and every day to thank someone who made Pendleton's signature week just another great week to live, work and play here.

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