While the rodeo is the heart of the Round-Up week, the Round-Up refers to all of the excitement that draws thousands to Pendleton in the second full week in September each year. 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.
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 Round-Up 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.
Indians from around the West gather on Sunday to begin setting up the Teepee village, 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 morning, cowboys from across the country gather in the Round-Up arena for a chance to qualify for the rodeo during the Slack events. Slack is held Monday through Thursday mornings and is typically free or $2 for the public. On Monday and Tuesday night Professional Bull Riding
is held in the Happy Canyon arena.
Wednesday the Round-Up begins at 1:15 and continues through Saturday. 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.
Each night, after the Rodeo, the Happy Canyon Indian Pageant
is held in its own outdoor arena. 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. Pendleton’s main street is closed to motorized traffic and becomes a carnival grounds with vendors, rides and live music throughout the week.
Friday morning at 10:00 am the Westward Ho! 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.