This week marks the 100th anniversary of the legendary Pendleton Roundup. Pendleton's not the oldest rodeo, or the largest, but it takes its place at the top of the list in the real cowboys hearts, a place of tradition from Jackson Sundown to Casey Tibbs to Larry Mahan to Ty Murray and today's greats. The dirt track, the grass field, the wooden grandstands. Pendleton stays close to its roots.
Chris LeDoux loved Pendelton, and told a funny story of the time he and Mahan and JC Trujillo somehow ended up riding a burro into the Tapadero Motel in downtown Pendleton. Those fun-loving roughstock riders of the 70s where just as wild as the hard-drinking, hard riding cowboys of the 50s, who where just as salty as the cowboys of the 20s. The great thing is, you probably could have mixed any one of them from any generation, and they would have ridden together and raised hell together.
The Roundup isn't as rowdy as it once was. As money and sponsorship and tourism gets bigger, the times start to change. There are now signs posted in the Let 'er Buck room (the infamous bar beneath the grandstands) that prohibit public nudity. No pubic nudity? The Let 'er Buck room was once the cowboy Mardi Gras. Much of the glory days are now just memory. Although these images are not from the Roundup, I believe they are pretty accurate to what Larry Mahan and his pals called "Buckle Bunnies." Some classics never go out of style.