Because girls shouldn't be left out of the fun, barrel racing is something for the ladies to do. On horseback, each rider threads as quickly as possible through the barrels positioned around the arena in a cloverleaf pattern. This event is about precision and speed.
Poor bulls. Ever since they were invented, men have tried to prove their worth by fighting, riding or running with them. Bull riding is certainly the most intimate of these sports and, while it's not necessary to understand the rules to enjoy the spectacle of grown men tossed like rag dolls on the back of 2000 pounds of muscle, it does help: Riders must only hold with one hand, and must stay mounted for eight seconds. There are additional nuances about style and scoring, but that covers the basics. This year, Xtreme Bulls, a national promotional event on par with NASCAR, returns to Sisters for a second time.
Not a traditional on-the-field cowboy activity, steer wrestling was a favorite in Wild West shows. Also known as "bulldogging" and something akin to Greco- Roman wrestling a Mack Truck, two cowboys ride along a charging steer before the "bulldogger" leaps off his horse and crashes the steer to the ground. It is a lightning-fast event, and possibly the most dangerous—to steer and human.
A favorite with PETA, tie-down roping is the most traditional event: A calf is given a slight head start and a single cowboy chases it down. Once lassoed, the calf is held in place by a trained horse while the cowboy sprints to the calf to tie up three legs. Once finished, he tosses both arms in the air. To qualify as a legit run, the calf must remain roped for six seconds.
Bobby Mote is the hometown hero. From Culver, a chicken-scratch town between Madras and Redmond, Mote is a four-time world champion bareback rider. As in bull riding, the rider must stay on the animal's for at least eight seconds. The sport is more elegant than bull riding; bareback riders also are judged on foot placement and their general fluidity.
A recent addition to rodeos and the most important event—and a favorite of Child & Welfare Services. Five-and 6-year-old children cling for their lives as woolly sheep gallop forward. No spurs allowed, no saddles; just an ability to hold on tight. It is equally hilarious and horrifying to watch. Judged by distance ridden.
A summer full of Oregon rodeos
Your guide to the rodeo season
Eastern Oregon Livestock Show June 3-9, Union Boots, chaps and cowboy hats is the theme of the 105th Eastern Oregon Livestock Show, one of the biggest stock shows in the Northwest that also offers pari-mutuel horse racing.
Sisters Rodeo June 5 - 9, Sisters, Oregon Dubbed the "Biggest Little Show in the World," the 73rd Annual Sisters Rodeo features Xtreme Bulls, Team Bronc Riding, steer wrestling and a buckaroo breakfast that originally featured fried bread and wild buffalo meat, but now serves mostly eggs and bacon.
South Douglas Rodeo
June 10 – 11, Myrtle Creek
Wrestle a steer to the ground, ride a bucking bull and then show your softer side by entering the cowboy poetry contest.
Crooked River Roundup
June 28 – 30, Prineville
Check out the new chuck wagon races at the Crooked River Roundup. Facebook is sponsoring Saturday night's activities, so hit the "share" and "like" button, grab your cowboy hat and head to Prineville.
Molalla Buckeroo PRCA Rodeo
July 3 - 6, Molalla
Celebrate all things American at the 90th Annual Molalla Rodeo with bareback riding, tie-down roping, carnival rides, line dancing and fireworks.
Eugene Pro Rodeo
July 3 – 6, Eugene
The Eugene Pro Rodeo has added a little more horsepower to their event by inviting the daredevils at Metal Mulisha to perform X-treme motorcyle stunts daily.
St. Paul Rodeo
July 4, St. Paul
The St. Paul Rodeo is on the Wrangler Million Dollar Tour circuit and pays out almost $500,000 in prize monies to top competitors from around the world.
Elgin Stampede July 11 – 14, Elgin The highlights of this rodeo is the suicide race, a cross-country endurance horse race follows a two-mile course complete with a hazardous river crossing and a dramatic finish right smack dab in the middle of the Stampede arena.
Chief Joseph Days Rodeo
July 23 – 28, Joseph
Get the best of both worlds at Chief Joseph Days, where you can get your cowboy on and then watch a traditional Native American dance contest.
Farm City Pro Rodeo
Aug. 6 -10, Hermiston
One of the newest rodeos to join the circuit, the FCPR features top-ranked talent hell-bent on qualifying for the big show, the National Finals Rodeo held in Las Vegas.
Klamath Falls Rodeo
Aug. 9 -10, Klamath Falls
Go for the barrel racing and team roping. stay for the Daredevil Sweethearts, a trick- riding troupe performing (among others) the Cossack Death Drag and the Hippodrome Stand for your pleasure and amazement.
Sept. 11-14, Pendleton
With the tag line "Let 'Er Buck," the Pendleton Roundup got its start in 1910 and now draws roughly 50,000 spectators to each year.