Saturday, September 16, 2006

Round-Up parting shots

Well, the Pendleton Round-Up is done for another year. The rodeo anyway. The revelry and celebration will continue well into tomorrow morning and for many the hangover will linger far longer than that.

So with this year's Round-Up done, and before I decide if I'm going to go out and tie one on fan-style, I thought I'd share a few observation from the final day in Pendleton.


First of all, I want to do a little bragging. I want it recognized that I predicted way back on Thursday that Joe Beaver was likely to be the all-around champion. OK, to be completely accurate, I couched my prediction in some wishy-washy language. Here's what I wrote in Thursday night's results post:

"Former world champion all around cowboy Joe Beaver also sits on top of the team roping standings, which may make him the early favorite for the all around title at the Pendleton Round-Up this year."

Next time I need to show more courage in my convictions.


And one other little bit of bragging, if you'll allow me the indulgance. I can't say for sure, because I haven't been searching every website on the planet, but I think it is fairly safe to say that over the last three days we have offered some of the fastest and most complete Round-Up results of any website anywhere. Part of that is do to the assistance of Jodi on Butch Thurman's media staff in the media office (thanks Jodi, we owe you big time). I don't think the world has been holding its collective breath waiting to find out who's leading what events which day, but I take some pride in the fact that surfers of the blogosphere have had the ability to keep up on what's happening with the rodeo pretty well for the last three days of the run. The only ways to have gotten the information faster would have been to actually be at the rodeo, listen to the radio broadcast on the local Pendleton station, or have someone who was there relay the data to you.

So, thanks for reading, and thanks to the media relations folks at the grounds for their help.


Today, I had not planned to go "cover" the Round-Up. My original plan was to go and "enjoy" the Round-Up. In fact I didn't take the laptop or my camera. I did, however, take a pen and my notebook, just in case I decided to take some notes for posting on the blog later. I'm glad I took them, because my plan fell apart.

Specifically, my plan was to go check out the Let 'er Buck Room and see if it is as wild and rowdy as everyone says. My history with the Round-Up goes back to when I was a kid and going to the rodeo and affiliated events with my family. As a young adult, I started working at the Round-Up as a photographer for the East Oregonian. So I was always either too young or too busy during Round-Up to go. So this year, which has been my second year covering the event for the Capital Press, I decided I was going to take off Saturday and go find out if the truth can live up to the legends.

There were a couple of flaws to that plan.

First of all, I needed to bring along a runnin' buddy, or a wingman. I did not have a wingman. Venturing into the Let 'er Buck Room at the Pendleton Round-Up is probably not a good idea.

Secondly, it was Saturday and there were massive number of people everywhere, in the grandstands and on the grounds. I don't know when it started, but there was a long line out the door of the Let 'er Buck Room already at 12:30 this afternoon. So, I decided to go enjoy some of the rodeo and come back. It was even worse later. Needless to say, the Let 'er Buck Room is still largely a mystery to me.

Note to self: Next year go to the Let 'er Buck Room earlier in the week and find a wingman!


Depending on what spectator you asked in attendance at today's Round-Up, you might get a lot of different descriptions of what the highlight of the day would be. Some might say it was Mike Moore's 92-point ride in the bull riding. Some might say it was seeing Linzie Walker make the fastest run of the week in the barrel racing. Others might say Joe Beaver winning two events and the all-around title would top their list. I don't know what the folks inside, or waiting in line for the Let 'er Buck Room would say was the highlight, but you can bet in would have nothing to do with the rodeo events.

But I think you would find almost universal agreement among those in the arena who would say one of the highlights of the day had to be the military flyover at the start of the rodeo.

At precisely 1:15 p.m., two F-15 Eagle fighter jets from the Oregon Air Guard's 142nd Fighter Wing flew over the arena coming in from out of the west. And it was hard to tell which was louder, the roar of those jet engines overhead of the roar of the crowd. But that wasn't then end. As the flags of the United States, Oregon and Canada were being brought into the arena on horseback, the fighters came back for another pass, this time from east to west. If anything, they were even lower, loader and faster on the second pass, and the crowd got louder and wilder too.


If any of you have Round-Up stories you'd like to share, feel free to add them onto the comments. And if you have photos you'd like to share, we'd love to look at those too. So e-mail them to me at via e-mail. You never know, we may even post some of them here, or on the Capital Press main website.

That's all for this 2006 installment of Round-Up coverage (unless I think of something else I forgot to add later). Until next year, Let 'er Buck rodeo fans.


jim hecker said...

great reading, that fly-over was incredible!!! Has anyone sent you the footage on video, or know where to see it again? I would love to see it again. Thanks.

Gary L. West said...

I haven't seen any video footage of that. But if I do, and we can get permission to post it, we'll try to post it on our website, or let you know where you can find it.

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