written by Bronte Dod | photo courtesy of Chief Joseph Days Rodeo
Rodeos have a long history in Oregon. Beginning in the early twentieth century, small communities came together to compete—often for small cash prizes. Since then, Oregon’s rodeos have expanded into events that draw thousands to rural parts of the state to experience a piece of the Old West. Here are five rodeos not to miss this summer.
Held in the Central Oregon small town of Sisters, the annual Sisters Rodeo is a popular destination each summer. The rodeo draws crowds and competitors from around the country, in part because of the big winnings, but also because of the idyllic, Old Western charm of Sisters.
June 9-11 | sistersrodeo.com
If you go, here’s how to spend the rest of your weekend Sisters.
St. Paul Rodeo
St. Paul is a 20-square-mile historic farming community in the Willamette Valley with a population of less than 500 people. The annual rodeo draws large crowds, leading up to the popular parade on the Fourth of July. Since it was founded in 1936, the rodeo has added an art show, featuring western-themed art and regional artists.
June 30-July 4 | stpaulrodeo.com
If you go, St. Paul is 20 miles from Salem, and close to the epicenter of Willamette Valley wine country.
The Elgin Stampede started in 1946 and has grown into a four-day event. The Stampede features classic rodeo shows as well as dances and parades throughout the weekend. Elgin is a small town in the Northeastern corner of the state at the base of the Blue Mountains.
July 5-8 | elginstampede.com
If you go, Elgin is close to La Grande, another Eastern Oregon town with a lot to explore.
Chief Joseph Days
Thousands of people from around the country pour into a small town in Eastern Oregon for the Chief Joseph Days Rodeo during the last weekend in July. Held annually in Joseph since 1946, the rodeo features classic western competitions including barrel racing, bull riding and bareback riding. Don’t miss the mutton busting competition, where kids try their hand at rodeoing by riding sheep.
July 25-30 | chiefjosephdays.com
If you go, here’s our guide for how to spend a weekend exploring Wallowa County.
The Pendleton Roundup is one of the oldest rodeos in the state. Started in 1910, the Roundup has a history of showcasing the best rodeo competitors in the West. While the rodeo is the main attraction, throughout the week in downtown Pendleton, there are vendors, live music performances and parades.
If you go, here’s our guide to Pendleton when everyone leaves town after the rodeo.
September 13-16 | pendletonroundup.com
Wow – no mention of the Heart of the Country rodeo in Helix Memorial Weekend Saturday or Haines rodeo over July 4th; 2 of my favorites!