Let ‘er buck! That’s the phrase that rings throughout the small town of Pendleton, Oregon during the second full week of September where over 50,000 people descend to watch or participate in the Pendleton Round Up Rodeo. This rodeo is unique in that since its inception in 1910 it has included a large Native American presence. Over 300 tee pees are set up on the rodeo grounds where members of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla gather to visit with one another and participate in displays of their culture. One of my favorite events was the Indian Relay race where members of several tribes compete in a bareback horse race around the track. It’s mind blowing to think that these athletes are able to ride at tremendous speed without the need for saddles, spurs or any of the other trappings of horse racing to which I am accustomed. On the Saturday morning of the big rodeo weekend, the tribes invite the public to come down to the grass field of the stadium and watch as the tribal dance competitions take place. There is drumming, singing and dancing where contestants are divided up by age and gender, then judged on their dancing skills. Below are some of my favorite images from the 4 days that I covered just last weekend. Enjoy and let ‘er buck!
It is with a heavy heart that I write this post. MIX Magazine, a food magazine published by the Oregonian, is publishing its final issue this month and they chose one of my images for the cover. MIX was so much fun to work for, not only because the assignments always focused on my favorite subject, food, but also because of the great editorial staff with which I had the pleasure of working. The photo editor I worked with on my projects was the illustrious Mike Davis, now the Alexia Foundation Chair for Documentary Photography at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. He gave me complete freedom of approach to every story and also followed up with terrific feedback. The writer I most often worked with was Martha Holmberg, former food editor for The Oregonian, who is now busy writing cookbooks, teaching, giving talks and continuing to pursue all things food. Martha and I worked on several stories together, including one about Nick’s Italian Cafe in McMinnville, as well as another about how to make your own Nocino with green walnuts from the back yard, (and throw a neighborhood party in the process). “Hope springs eternal,” I often hear, so my hope is that I not only get to continue to work with Mike and Martha on other projects in the future, but that another food magazine based in my hometown of Portland, Oregon will spring forth in the near future.
I raise a glass to the fine people at the Oregonian and MIX! May our paths cross again in the very near future. Cheers!!!