Last Friday, we traveled to Pendleton for the world famous, Pendleton Round-Up. My mom lives there, so we always have a place to stay. What a blessing! We always start the Round Up with the "Westward Ho" parade. I believe it is the world's longest non-mechanized parade. There were over 600 horses in it this year. It is truly a "Cowboys and Indians" kind of parade. It always provides great discussions for our 365 days a year homeschool :o)
The parade started out with riders carrying 101 American flags, representing how many years the Round-Up had been going on. It seriously gives you chills when you watch them ride by.
Hailey waiting for the parade to start. She was all decked out in her pink cowgirl hat, boots, jeans and belt, with a little "Rodeo Princess" tiara on her hat.
Josiah waiting for the parade to start. He was giving me his best, "Howdy, M'am" look. Of course he had to be wearing his bright orange "OSU" handkerchief! Go Beavers!
They had rodeo royalty show up from all over, as far back east as Nebraska. I loved these gals' shirts.
As usual, Michael road with my grandpa who has the distinction of being the oldest teamster in the parade. Grandpa's wife, Regina, is riding alongside the chuck wagon on her saddle horse. My grandpa still farms with horses. Michael always has a great time hanging out with them.
This year we were blessed by extended family (thank you Phyllis and Uncle Kerry) who gave us a couple of extra tickets. It has been so long since Michael and I were actually able to attend the rodeo together. 21 years ago, Michael and I officially became and item at the Pendleton Round Up. It was the first time we ever held hands. It is a very unique place because the area is grassy with a plowed up track around it because Pendleton uses it as a field the rest of the year. That grass is hard and makes it even more challenging for competitors.
A new exhibition event they are doing is the reenactment of the most famous saddle bronc competition ever. For the reenactment, they don't use chutes, they bring the horses out blind-folded, mug them down, get the rider, then tighten the bucking strap and let 'er buck! The competition was between George Fletcher (African American), Jackson Sundown (Native American) and John Spain (white guy) back in 1910, the year the Pendleton Round Up began. George Fletcher should have won it, but of course they gave it to the white guy. Nobody ever forgot who the real winner was though and George became instantly famous. Sherriff Til Taylor cut up George's hat and sold the pieces to the dissatisfied crown. He made enough money to have another championship saddle made for George, just like the one that was awarded to John Spain. Love that story!
I couldn't believe how many people got hurt that day, especially in the all Indian Women's race. The gal shown in my picture won, but she and the girl behind her couldn't get their horses stopped after the race. One of them ended up going back the other way on the track and they collided. The woman in blue was taken away on a stretcher, I think the other girl walked away. I was praying she was OK. So sad. I must have counted 4 or 5 stretchers that day. That is the life of rodeo I guess. It is truly a tough sport.
Michael used to be a bull rider in high school. I was so glad when he quit. It is so scary to watch someone you love out there on one of those huge beasts. Almost all the cowboys are wear helmets now, which I think is so smart!
Native American dancers are very much part of the Round Up experience/tradition. Love watching the little ones especially. They can really rattle those bells!
I just had to throw in a picture of this poor steer wrestler. The back of his shirt was ripped off and he skinned his back up pretty bad. Ouch! That was one tough cowboy! I bet he was just glad he wasn't one of the people taken out on a stretcher.
After the rodeo, thanks to my mom and step-dad, we were able to mosey downtown without the kids and watch the entertainment and look at all the booths. We had the best smoked brisket ever! It had been months since we had been on a date, so this was just what we needed.