PENDLETON ROUND-UP AT 100 “PINK” DAY
In 2006, Pendleton Round-Up added to its long list of traditions by introducing “Tough Enough to Wear Pink”Day on Thursday of Round-Up week. Funds raised by the event help Pendleton-area patients during and after treatment for breast cancer. “Pink” Day has been a tremendous success, as cowgirls, cowboys, fans, merchants, and the general public have joined forces to support the fight against breast cancer. “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” Day came about when breast cancer survivor Terry Wheatley, mother of professional
Keith Isley entertains the crowd on “Pink” Day, 2007. By Jim Whiting. Isley takes cover in his pink padded barrel as “Little Johnny” gives him a rolling during the 2007 bull riding. EO Archive.
[The clown’s refuge] is just a reinforced barrel with padding. You take a good pounding when a bull knocks it around. —Flint Rasmussen, 2006
roper Wade Wheatley, asked her son if he would wear a pink shirt to help raise awareness of the deadly disease at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas in 2005. Wheatley enlisted the support of his colleagues, and all but two cowboys competing that year wore pastel pink shirts. Now rodeos all over the country feature “Tough Enough to Wear Pink” events. At the Round-Up, the royal court sports pink outfits on
Thursday. All the directors wear pink shirts, as well as most of the cowboys, the rodeo clown (even his barrel is wrapped in pink), and many of the fans. Pink souvenirs are available for purchase, and all proceeds go to the cause. As bareback rider Silas Richards put it to the East
Oregonian in 2007, “It’s a great cause.We cowboys are pretty tough, but there are people out there that go through a lot tougher things.”
On Wednesday of each Round-Up, just before the first day’s rodeo action begins, forty to forty-five children ages five through nine have a chance to be cowboys and cowgirls in the famous arena. The children have disabilities ranging from autism and Down syndrome to cerebral palsy and visual and hearing impairments. They delight in the opportunity to participate in activities such as barrel racing (with a stick horse), steer roping (lassoing a make-believe
Exceptional rodeo in its early years, ca. 1985. Howdyshell Collection. Six-year-old Braden Linnell of Heppner, Oregon, ropes a steer with the help of John Trumbo, Umatilla County sheriff, 2007. EO Archive.
steer), bull riding (riding a hand-rocked bull), riding in a horse-drawn buggy, and riding a real horse with a genuine cowboy or a member of the Round-Up court. Each partici- pant receives a shirt, hat, and scarf, a lariat, a trophy, and an autographed picture taken with a cowboy. The events are non-competitive, and the children look forward to coming back from year to year, as long as their age is appropriate.
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