Pendleton, Oregon sits in the eastern part of the state and is south of the Columbia River and the border with Washington. It’s famous for the Pendleton Round Up, a major annual rodeo which brings approximately 50,000 people into the city each September. Pendleton is also home to the nearby Wild Horse Casino which is another popular draw to the area. The Old Town section of Pendleton is listed as a Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places and is an interesting part of town to visit.
Pendleton can be a fun weekend destination or a great place to stop on the way east or west through the region. Here is a look at five fun facts about Pendleton, Oregon should you be heading that way.
The Pendleton Round Up
The Pendleton Round Up began in 1910 and is a member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and in 2008 it was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame. The ten events held there include bareback riding, barrel racing, saddle bronc riding, steer roping, calf roping, Brahma bull riding, team roping, indian relay races, steer wrestling, and wild cow milking.
What’s In A Name?
The city of Pendleton was named for Senator George H. Pendleton of Ohio. He was the 1864 vice presidential candidate, who along with presidential candidate George B. McClellan, lost the election to Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson.
Part of downtown Pendleton features underground tunnels and basements that were once part of the community’s “red light district”. Today, there is a popular tourist attraction that takes travelers on tours of these underground spaces.
Training World War II Heroes
Jimmy Dolittle’s Raiders, the World War II squadron that bombed Japan from a great distance away, did some of their training at Pendleton’s airport.
Famous Sports Names
Before having a 16 year Major League Baseball career that included appearances in three All-Star Games, slugger Dave Kingman was born in Pendleton. Pendleton was also briefly the home to Pro Football Hall of Fame member, and Dallas Cowboys star, Bob Lilly who had relocated there from Texas for his senior year of high school.