Let’er Buck! (or, how I spent the day with rednecks)

Yesterday I spent the day at the Pendleton Roundup, one of the largest rodeos in the country. This was a company offsite adventure. We always start these adventures with cocktails, regardless of the time of day, as my boss seems to think that coworkers spending the day together need some social lubricant. I feel he has a point as I have almost nothing in common with my officemates, beyond the ability to make silly conversation when drunk.

Upon our arrival at the rodeo grounds (via a 45 minute ride in my boss’ jet, which is pretty much exactly as cool as it sounds) we immediately hit the Let’er Buck room. The Let’er Buck room is located beneath the South Grandstand. Interestingly, if you go to the official Web site there’s nothing mentioned about this room. Apparently, they like to keep it a well-known secret. Inside the room, you can buy two different types of drink tokens. The cheap plastic tokens will get you a well drink. The cool bronze fancy tokens will get you Pendleton Whisky, which is a very nice blended Canadian whisky.

The crowd was a mix of real cowboys, wannabe cowboys who clearly bought their hats from one of the vendors outside, and odd spectators like ourselves. As the day progressed, the scene turned more and more into a sort of cowboy mardigras, complete with beaded necklaces. One guy, an HR administrator for Coldwater Creek in Idaho, had an electric readerboard on his hat that scrolled the words, “Let’er Buck…Show me your tits!”

Another guy, who fell into the real cowboy category, was successfully reeling in young women wearing low-cut tops. His purpose in reeling them in (he was very smooth with the arm around the shoulder maneuver, gently pulling them closer as his friends closed in to block any chance of escape), was to give the girls fake tatoos of the rodeo logo.

This was accomplished by first licking the top of the girl’s breast (often for a good 5-10 minutes) to make sure the tatoo would stick. Then he had to carefully rub the tatoo paper onto the wet spot, holding the breast still with his other hand so it wouldn’t smudge. I tell you, this guy was a master!

The girls all had this vague deer-in-headlights look, like they couldn’t quite believe they were letting a complete stranger in a cowboy hat lick them, but couldn’t think of what to do about it. They all stood verrryyy still, even the ones that giggled. It was sort of like watching a train wreck and I wouldn’t be surprised if those girls occasionally wake up in the morning, in some guy’s bed, with no clear idea of how they got there.
Having been to the rodeo last year, and having experienced some groping of our own, my female coworker and I wore tops with no cleavage, stayed mostly in one spot, and kept our backs to the wall. To give you another idea of the scene, last year one of my male coworkers found himself suddenly surrounded by 4 women, one of whom said, “Hi there, you’re new here aren’t you?” At which point, he ran away to find us, and told us rather indignantly that he “felt like a piece of meat!”

The rodeo itself was interesting to watch. Having had 3 drinks in 45 minutes, my take on it was perhaps a little skewed, but these were my thoughts at the time.

“Bronco riding = get the fuck off my back!”

“Run little calf, run! No! Don’t stop for a snack!”

“Steer wrestling is not unlike pug wrestling”

“Boy, that had to hurt”

And finally,

“Bareback riding in a loin cloth seems like a bad idea.”

It was fun to watch the animals run away when they’d beat the cowboy. I was happy to see that when one of the cowboys incorrectly roped a calf, they let go of the rope rather than risk injury to it.

The steer wrestling was completely insane. Imagine racing on a horse at 30 mph, jumping off the still running horse onto a running 600 pound beast with really big horns, grabbing the beast by the horns as your heels skid for 50 feet through the dirt until you finally come to a stop, at which point you lever the beast (600pounds!) onto its side before it succeeds in goring you, which it clearly would like to do as being grabbed by the horns really pissed it off.

That in a big nutshell, is how I spent a fun day with rednecks.



  1. Jeff Said:

    As a tot growing up in Idaho, one of the annual rituals was going to the Snake River Stampede (aka Pendletown Roundup East). I was spared the spectacles you describe, but I did like me the roe-day-oh. (Actually, calling the rodeo roe-day-oh would probably have gotten me killed.) The best was bull riding, which all enthusiasts know is for lunatics only. Plus they have clowns.

  2. technogrrrl Said:

    Speaking of clowns, a retired clown I chatted with in the Let’er Buck Room said the only other rodeo he’d been to with a scene like that one was the St. Paul rodeo. Apparently, there’s a St. Paul, Oregon. Who knew?!

    I’m sitting here enjoying the vision in my head of you standing in the Let’er Buck Room with a cup o’whisky, talking about the roe-day-ohs of your youth. Hah! That would be fun. πŸ˜‰Β  Maybe I can smuggle you along next year!

  3. CowDiva Said:

    Ah…. Pendleton. The best place on the planet…. if you want to be treated like a piece of meat… or treat others that way and get away with it. Everyone MUST go the Let ‘er Buck Room just ONCE in their life… numerous times if you like it. (wink wink) Personal suggestion… don’t wear your good boots (or shoes or sandals, or whatever) because they will NOT survive the 1/2″ of whiskey on the floor. Spend the $12.00 (no sales tax in Oregon) on a pair of rubber boots at PGG and enjoy! Also, the cowboys are real polite about “watching the door” when a girl just can’t wait in the ladies’ room line. Another suggestion… take a picture BEFORE you go in and then (if you can even find your camera) take an AFTER shot of you and your posse. Two kinds of people exit “the room”… 1) the kind with a smile from ear to ear and different clothes than they entered the room with; and 2) the kind that can look back in and say “Oh, hell no! Never again!” Me… I fall into the first category.

    LET ‘ER BUCK!!! Ah… Pendleton!

  4. technogrrrl Said:

    That’s about as true as anything I’ve ever heard! πŸ˜€ I’m not going to the rodeo this year but I’ll be thinking of you!

  5. Let'er Buck Said:

    I just wanted to clear something up. First of all any tattoo master knows that you need a dry surface to get the tattoo to stick. The only way that a master would try licking the breast first would be because his spotter had allowed him to over indulge in the Pendleton Whisky. Which by the way is very easy to do in there.

    I have never, I mean he will never place a tatto without permission from the canvas first. Besides they usually come back the next year asking for another one. They have even been known to bring new friends.

    Cowdiva gives great advice about the boots. So if your not to scared then drop by and say hello!

    Let’er Buck!!!

    See you there next year Cowdiva,

  6. somethingfromhottie Said:

    Hey there-
    I have been to the let’er buck room now for oh man 15 years. Its all what you make of it or want.
    I can go into the let’er buck room and leave with no tatoos, no stickers and have a pocket of tokens.
    Or I can go into the let’er buck room and leave with as many tatoo’s and stickers as I can get…. just looking like a billboard.

    And hey by the way, was that real cowboy bald or really tall.
    Sorry we want be seeing you there this year. Maybe you should try to make it for the 100th year… 2010!!!!

  7. WhiskyGirl Said:

    I just came across your blog by googling “Pendleton Round-Up”, because I know I’ll find things like these when I do! πŸ™‚ To the gal that sits in the corner with no cleavage showing… that’s what my girlfriends and I tried doing. Being one just out of a divorce and me knowing what I’m like when I’ve had too much to drink and the other married. But it didn’t last 2 seconds! We were pulled in the middle of a group of men with one ripping my shirt (Gap favorite T) because it was “too high” and I needed to show my “boobies”! Thank God for the tank on under or I would have had to use all those stickers I got to sew up my shirt! Pendelton is a great time and great place to go and forget about anything and everything in your life! πŸ™‚

  8. roundupinmyblood Said:

    Great blog and I am glad you like the whisky!! After the “Let er Buck Room”, walk around the back of the grounds an get a glimpse of the action..you won t be disappointed. If you see one of the Directors, tell him where you are from and he will probably buy you a drink! 2010 is going to rock so get the jet fired up and “Let Er Buck”!

  9. Let er buck wanna be Said:

    I think the guy who is Let Er buck is my brother he is tall hot, dark ….he is a master at this

  10. Let er buck wanna be Said:

    sorry i am back. yes i checked the family photo album and Let Er Buck is forsure my little baby bro. He was a bit cuter when he was younger, but still a ladies man.

    He can easily be identified by a small freckle located on his donkey…..ya follow me?

    He’s a joy, and we as his family as grateful he’s out of prison and has grown out the god awful mullet.

    Love ya TN

  11. Jeff Said:

    I have tended bar in the Let’er buck room for now 20 years. I enjoy it and have meet many good friends throught the year. This year is the 100th aniversary. It is going to be a blow out. Let’er Buck.

  12. Always fun to read this blog. A native New Yorker, I’ve never been to a rodeo, and I have to admit, the idea of some strange guy ripping my shirt is the kind of thing we call the cops for around here, or why we carry mace. πŸ˜‰ You can tell I am from the northeast, I guess.

    You have plenty of book material here, though, that’s for sure. πŸ™‚


  13. Redneck Cowgirl Said:

    I just returned from 5 days at the Pendleton Round-up. I don’t know what Let R Buck room you were in, (and by the way, it closes at 6 p.m.), but if you are going to write a book, it had better be fiction. The alcohol monitors were in full force; saw two girls ejected for just hanging onto each other. But then, of course, the crowded, but boring, Let R Buck room I attended wouldn’t be so interesting. Too bad your life is so dull you have to make it up-I guess the cowboy way of life is ripe for picking on-honest, hard working, family values, etc., and enough real excitement to be a satisfying way of life. Oh, well, good luck New York, in getting a life!!!

    • Oregonian Said:

      Sorry to burst your bubble, but I have worked for the Oregon Liquor Control Comission for over 15 years. Oregon has some of the most strict and conservative (outdated) liquor laws in the country. Hard to believe, in fact I don’t.

  14. Oregonian Said:

    Sorry, the floor was dry, photos are not allowed to be taken because of the museum quality artifacts on the walls, and there were no stickers or tattoos to be had.

  15. Robert Moore Said:

    let her buck from pendteton oregon, what is the value?

  16. […] How I spent the day with Rednecks […]

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