Let ‘Er Buck

Today kicks off a 107-year-old tradition — the Pendleton Round-Up.

This rodeo, held in the western town of Pendleton, Oregon, began when a group of community and area leaders developed the idea of an annual event. It all started, really, with a successful 4th of July celebration in 1909 that included bronc riding, horse races, Indian dances, foot races and fireworks.

The Pendleton Round-Up was incorporated as a non-profit organization at the end of July in 1910. The legal name was the “Northwestern Frontier Exhibition Association.” The group decided to stage the event in September to allow the grain farmers time to complete their harvest and the ranchers time to make a late summer check-up on their grazing cattle.

Image from the East Oregonian

The first Pendleton Round-Up was to be a frontier exhibition that brought the old west back to life and offered the crowd entertaining Indian, cowboy, and military spectacles, held in conjunction with the Eastern Oregon District Fair.

Image from the East Oregonian

People responded so enthusiastically to the idea, special trains ran from Portland to Pendleton to make sure the “city crowd” could witness the event.

The stores in town closed for the first performance. In fact, so many people showed up at that first performance, workers jumped in after the rodeo and added an additional 3,000 seats to accommodate the crowds the next day.  More than 7,000 people attended the first event (which far exceeded the number of people living in town at the time).

In just a few short years, the wooden grandstand and surrounding bleachers were completed, offering seating to more than 20,000 spectators.

Before women received the right to vote in Oregon, the Pendleton Round-Up gave them a chance to compete in a variety of events. In 1914, Bertha Blanchett came within a dozen points of winning the all-around title, right alongside the men.

Many famous names competed in the Round-Up arena including people like Slim Pickens, Hoot Gibson, Jackson Sundown, and Yakima Canutt (a stuntman who doubled for Clark Gable and John Wayne, to name a few).

Pendleton is home to the Umatilla Reservation and from that very first show in 1910, many Indians have participated in the event. There are Indian races at the rodeo, the special Happy Canyon pageant, and the Indian Village that is one of the largest in North America with more than 300 teepees set up annually.

Tribal members also ride into the arena before the Indian dancing at the rodeo (right before the bull riding) and wow spectators with their beautiful regalia, some that dates back more than a century.

There are unique facets to the Pendleton Round-Up that make it different from many rodeos. For one thing, the rodeo arena’s grass floor is one-of-a-kind in the world of rodeo, adding a unique challenge for competitors. It provides the largest barrel racing pattern on the professional rodeo circuit, too.

Also, the Pendleton Round-Up was the first rodeo to have rodeo royalty, beginning in 1910. Today, the queen and her court race into the arena, jumping over the fence surrounding the grassy expanse not once, but twice.

The first year of the rodeo also saw the introduction of the Westward Ho Parade, one of the longest non-motorized parades in the country.  The parade tradition carries on today with entries from all around the region.

Since 1910, the Pendleton Round-Up has been a popular event. Other than two years it was not held during World War II, it has run continuously each September. Today, more than 50,000 attendees fill the bleachers to watch the four-day long event.

And on their lips, you’ll hear them shout the slogan that was first used in 1910…

Let’ Er Buck!


 Dally  (Pendleton Petticoats, Book 8) is a sweet romance that encompasses the first year of the Pendleton Round-Up. In fact, the girl on the cover is one of the 2017 rodeo court.

I’m going to give three lucky winners a digital copy of  Dally .

To enter for a chance to win, all you have to do is answer this question:

What’s your favorite rodeo event or thing to see in a parade? 



Website | + posts

After spending her formative years on a farm in Eastern Oregon, hopeless romantic Shanna Hatfield turns her rural experiences into sweet historical and contemporary romances filled with sarcasm, humor, and hunky western heroes.
When this USA Today bestselling author isn’t writing or covertly hiding decadent chocolate from the other occupants of her home, Shanna hangs out with her beloved husband, Captain Cavedweller.

38 thoughts on “Let ‘Er Buck”

  1. My favorite things to see at a rodeo are the cowboys. 🙂 I also enjoy the bull riding and bronc riding. I’ve only been to one rodeo, years ago.

    Thank you for the interesting post and chance to win an e copy of your book.

    Cindy W.

  2. Shanna- loved your blog. I am a rodeo girl grew up in it all my life and my favorite event was a breakaway roping but I am definitely at Timed event girl. I love the tie down Calf roping, it is my favorite. Your Book looks amazing and I just downloaded one of your other books yesterday, Farm Girl. Can’t wait to dive into it you have a fabulous Wednesday. Love & hugs and have a great day.

    • Hi Tonya!
      So fun to see you here today! 🙂
      And yay for a rodeo girl! Tie-down calf roping is exciting to watch!
      And thank you so much for downloading Farm Girl. Hope it brings you a smile!
      Love and hugs to you!

  3. Loved this blog and learning rodeo history that I did not know. My favorite event to watch is bull riding!

  4. Loved this blog and learning rodeo history that I did not know. My favorite event to watch is bull riding! I grew up going to rodeos and one of my sister’s was a barrel races as were her two daughters. Her youngest daughter still rodeos and she is a Team Roper now. She often ropes with her husband. I love to watch kids at play days, it’s so cute and fun to watch the little ones! I’ve never read one of your books and would love to add you to my list of favorite authors!

    • That’s so fun about your sister and her daughters, Stephanie! And how awesome her youngest team ropes with her hubby! Cool! The little ones are such fun to watch!
      Thank you for stopping by today. I hope you’ll add my books to your TBR list! 🙂

  5. Hi Shanna I’ve never been to a live rodeo but I’ve always enjoyed watching the bull riders. They are finely trained athletes and I hold my breath!
    Thanks for sharing about the Pendleton Rodeo.

  6. Lived just six hours from Pendleton for many years, and never made it over for the rodeo. I love watching bull riding. And having a nonmotorized parade is always fun to watch.

  7. My step dad use to do team roping and we have been to the Pendleton redo! I use to love warming up the horses in the arena before the redo began. But I truly loved watching barrel racing! A woman could could be one with her horse if she rode properly! The horse on your book cover Dally, truly looked liked my horse Cady!

    • Hi Cori!
      That is so awesome you’ve been to Pendleton and your step dad competed there. It’s fun to watch everyon warm up before the rodeo. And that is so fun about the horse on the cover! (And I love the name Cady!)
      Thanks for reading the blog and leaving a comment today. So appreciated! 🙂

  8. I loved your post! Thank you for sharing! My favorite event is the bull riding. I am always sitting on the edge of my seat as the gate opens and that massive bull explodes out with a fearless cowboy holding on for dear life on his back. What great athletes, the Bulls and the Cowboys!

    • Hi Melanie!
      The bulls and cowboys are both incredible athletes. Bull riding is definitely a favorite event to watch. We always laughed at my mom during the bull riding because she’d get so worried about someone getting hurt. She’d gasp and cringe through every ride.
      Thank you so much for dropping in today! So appreciate it!

  9. Oh, wow, now I WANT TO GO!!! Looks like such a fun event. We will have to mark our calendars and plan a road trip for next year. My favorite event is the team roping. Thank you for the fun post full of fantastic information!

    • Oh, you really should, Stacey! It is truly such a unique and amazing event. People come from all over the world to watch it. And that’s fun you enjoy team roping the most!
      Thanks you for entering my giveaway and stopping by the blog today!
      Best wishes!

  10. I like the bronc riding (both bareback and saddle) and the calf roping. Local rodeos are the one I’ve frequented the most.

  11. Congrats to all the winner and Glenda and Stephanie are my friends and I told them you write great. I’m so exited for them alk.

Comments are closed.