While the rodeo is the heart of the Pendleton Round-Up Rodeo week, the Round-Up refers to all of the excitement that draws thousands to Pendleton in the second full week in September each year. Pendleton’s Main Street is closed to motorized traffic and becomes a carnival grounds with vendors and live music throughout the week. Whether it’s the Happy Canyon Night Show Pageant, the Indian Pow-Wows and vendor booths, the Westward-Ho! Parade or the nightly shows on Main Street, the whole town transforms into a fun-filled festival with something for everyone.
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The whole week begins with the Dress-Up Parade held on the Saturday before Round-Up week. Anyone may enter the parade and dress up or enter a float or car. The parade goes through downtown Pendleton Saturday morning at 10:00 am and ends at the Pendleton Round-Up Rodeo grounds. On Saturday evening an Outdoor Kick-off Concert is held in the Happy Canyon Arena. In the past, acts have included Reba McEntire, Brooks and Dunn, George Strait, Rascal Flatts and Scotty McCreery.
Each night, after the Rodeo, the Happy Canyon Indian Pageant is held in its own outdoor arena starting at 7:45 pm. 2017 is the centennial year for the Happy Canyon. It features a theatrical performance portraying the Native People who inhabited the area, followed by the Emigrants who came through the area on the Oregon Trail and then a portrayal of Pendleton’s Wild Frontier Days. This event provides a fun-filled evening for a person of any age. For the 21 and over crowd, check out “Goldie’s Bar” after the pageant!
Native Americans from around the West gather on Sunday to begin setting up the Teepee Village, located just north of the rodeo grounds. This is a tradition that dates back to the first Round-Up held in 1910. Not long after, Roy Raley Park becomes a hub for Indian dancing competitions, Indian craft good vendors and the Junior Indian Beauty Pageant.
On Monday and Tuesday night Professional Bull Riding is held in the Happy Canyon arena and begins at 8:00 pm. Bull Riding is a sport where the rider’s goal is to stay atop a bucking bull for a full eight seconds, which counts as a qualifying ride. Professional Bull Riding is a fast-paced event full of pulsating music, explosive pyrotechnics and provides lots of fun for a person of any age.
The Pendleton Round-Up Rodeo runs Wednesday through Saturday and begins at 1:15 pm each day. This year’s rodeo starts on Wednesday, September 14, 2016, and goes through Saturday, September 17, 2016. The main events in the Round-Up are Bareback Bronc Riding, Saddle Bronc Riding, Bull Riding, Steer Roping, Steer Wrestling, Team Roping and Tie-Down Roping. The All-Around Cowboy award goes to the competitor who earns the most prize money in more than one event. Other events include women’s Barrel Racing, Indian Relay Racing, Wild Cow Milking and Indian dancing.
Friday morning at 10:00 am the Westward Ho! The parade marches through Pendleton. The Parade is unique in that no motorized vehicles are allowed and features covered wagons, Indians in full regalia and marching bands.