In the realm of American traditions, the Pendleton Round-Up rodeo is a vivid and enduring symbol of the untamed spirit of the American West, steeped in history and grit. Since its inception in 1910, this iconic rodeo event has carved its name deep into the history of Western heritage and tradition, capturing the very essence of cowboy culture and the American West.
Last week, we were privileged to partake in the 113th Pendleton Round-Up, an event that defies simple description due to its grandeur. Guided by the gracious hosts at Pendleton Whisky, our journey began with a visit to the Pendleton Hat Company, where we were fitted for our bespoke cowboy hats.
Alongside these cherished headpieces, we adorned ourselves with commemorative belt buckles and rugged boots, for we knew that to embrace the Round-Up truly, we had to embrace the cowboy spirit wholeheartedly.
A Rodeo for the Ages: The Pendleton Round-Up’s Enduring Legacy
Every September, the sleepy town of Pendleton awakens with a resounding roar, beckoning cowboys, cowgirls, and rodeo enthusiasts from far and wide. This is no ordinary rodeo; it’s the Pendleton Round-Up, where history and tradition meld seamlessly into the present, leaving a trail of dust and unforgettable memories.
The rodeo unfolds with an array of events that defy the limits of human endurance and showcase the bond between rider and horse. From the thunderous spectacle of bull riding to the graceful yet perilous dance of barrel racing, the Pendleton Round-Up showcases the best in rodeo competition. Saddle bronc riding, steer roping, and wild cow milking—all testaments to the skills and bravery of those who dare to step into the arena.
Unique to the Pendleton Round-Up is the gripping Indian Relay Races, where Native American bareback riders test their skills in an electrifying, edge-of-your-saddle race that honors their culture and heritage and showcases the true essence of the American West.
But it’s not just the events that make the Pendleton Round-Up unique. The ambiance, the atmosphere, and the palpable sense of camaraderie infuse every corner of the grounds. Here, the spirit of the West is not confined to the arena; it permeates every cowboy hat, every pair of boots, and every hearty “howdy” exchanged among the attendees. It’s a living, breathing embodiment of a bygone era that thrives in the hearts of modern-day cowboys and cowgirls.
A Spirited Partnership: Pendleton Whisky and the Pendleton Round-Up
Nestled in the heart of the West, Pendleton Whisky shares its roots with the very essence of this timeless tradition. Proudly entwined with the Pendleton Round-Up, Pendleton Whisky understands the resonance of the rodeo in the American soul. It’s a marriage of two legacies—a coming together that brings forth a tribute to those who partake in this noble event and a testament to the enduring spirit of the West.
Pendleton Whisky has recently unveiled the 2023 release of the Champions Edition, a limited-release bottle dedicated to the indomitable spirit of the Pendleton Round-Up in Pendleton, Oregon. This unique bottle, adorned with a bespoke label, is an ode to one of the oldest and most prestigious rodeos in the American West. The Champions Edition is only available in Oregon, so there’s added motivation to see the inspiration for the whisky’s tagline, “Let’er Buck.”
A Journey to the Heart of the West
The Pendleton Round-Up is not merely an event; it’s a tribute to a timeless culture. It’s a testament to the cowboys and cowgirls who continue to honor the traditions of the American West, and it’s an opportunity for cowboys and cowgirls of today to connect with a heritage that remains as rugged, resilient, and captivating as ever.
With Pendleton Whisky’s Champions Edition bottle, this journey becomes even more poignant—a journey that celebrates the enduring bond between the West, its people, and the spirit of the rodeo.
Photos courtesy of Steve Makowski.