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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award

Fall 2022

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Department or Program Affiliation


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Seltz, Jennifer, 1970-

Second Advisor

Stewart, Mart A.

Third Advisor

Price, Hunter


In Pendleton, Oregon in 1910, at a local Fourth of July celebration, cowboy Lee Caldwell’s brave bronc ride earned him a saddle and some local celebrity. Pendleton boosters, such as Roy Raley, saw an opportunity to host a frontier exhibition and the following year, Raley started the Pendleton Round-Up. The Round-Up grew to encompass three key events: the rodeo, the wild west show, and the parade. Each of these events offers a lens through which to examine shifting racial and gendered hierarchies of the 20th century. Rodeo at the Pendleton Round-up was a temporarily permeable space within which men and women of different races performed scripted and unscripted feat to assert themselves competitors, either in sport or in performance. The history of Happy Canyon Pageant and Wild West Show’s vaudeville-style production demonstrates how a combination of Indigenous agency and script revision combine to produce a refined, entertaining, and educational regional story. The parade’s ban on motorized vehicles serves as the thematic agent for Pendletonians’ assertion of identity through processional performance: as descendants of the Oregon Trail. The multitude of exclusively Indigenous spaces at the Round-Up reflects the long-standing relationship participating tribes have facilitated with non-native Pendleton. The Pendleton Round-Up offered limited but real opportunity to Indigenous men and women, Black men, and white women to exercise their agency and assert themselves as part of the region's history.




Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subjects – Names (LCNAF)

Pendleton Round-Up

Subject – LCSH

Race relations--20th century; Minorities in rodeos--Oregon--Pendleton--20th century; Indigenous peoples--Oregon--Pendleton--20th century; Pageants--Social aspects--Oregon--Pendleton--20th century

Geographic Coverage

Pendleton (Or.)--Social life and customs--20th century




masters theses




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