Ride ’Em, Cowgirl!
Summer is the season for barbeques, swimming, camping and … rodeos? Although it might not be the most popular sport in Eugene, summer is rodeo season in Oregon, and there are plenty of places across the state to see cowboys and girls riding broncs and bulls from June through September.
The Sisters Rodeo is June 11-13 this year in Sisters. Adult tickets are $12 per day and there are rodeo performances Friday evening, Saturday afternoon and evening and Sunday afternoon.
The St. Paul Rodeo, located an hour and a half from Eugene, is the premier Fourth of July rodeo in Oregon and runs July 1-4. It offers more than $500,000 in prize money and has almost 1,000 competitors, as well as an impressive fireworks show each night that there’s a performance. This year marks the rodeo’s 75th anniversary, and it has also been named a “gold tier” rodeo — one of only eight on the Wrangler Million Dollar Rodeo Tour.
If you’re out on the far east side of the state, the Chief Joseph Days Rodeo is July 21-24 in the small, scenic city of Joseph (about an hour and a half outside of La Grande). Started in 1946 to honor the Nez Perce chief, the rodeo swells the town of 1,000 to nearly 10 times its size. The week features parades, dances, a golf tournament and a spotlight on American West and Nez Perce culture.
The Clackamas County Fair and Canby Rodeo, Aug. 17-21, features not only traditional rodeo events, but also county fair rides, games and food. General admission tickets are only $6.
The summer’s last rodeo is the most important: the Pendleton Round-Up. First held in 1910 and rich with heritage, the Pendleton Round-Up is one of the West’s oldest and biggest rodeos. From Sept. 15-18, nearly 50,000 people flood into the Northeast Oregon town to watch the 10 rodeo events, parades and other festivities. Tickets are around $15-$20, but many sections are already sold out.
If you’re interested in rodeos, but don’t want to travel to one of the state’s major ones, Eugene’s Pro Rodeo takes place July 1-4. — Kate Loftesness