|Connell's whimsical sidewalk art|
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Thursday, September 13, 2012
|Statue at Round-Up arena entrance|
I grew up going to rodeos. We almost always went to the St. Paul, Oregon, rodeo over the Fourth of July with its awesome fireworks after each night's performance. When we didn't spend July 4 at St. Paul, we spent it at the Mollala Buckaroo where organizers brought in stars from top television Westerns to entertain. I remember one year that I was close enough to touch Annie Oakley's horse as it walked by. Of course, Annie was really the actress Gail Davis, but it still was an awesome experience for a kid.
Yesterday, we attended the Pendleton Round-Up, one of the top rodeos in the West. In a couple of events, the animals bested the cowboys, though they didn't get points for doing this. Everyone laughed as one winning steer left the cowboy in the lurch then ambled off to nibble grass on the grassy oval in the middle of the arena as he wasn't in any hurry to go back to the pen. The round-up arena doubles as the high school football field.
It was a nice rodeo, but not that all exciting. For us, the highlight of the day was the Happy Canyon pageant, put on by Native American plateau tribes. More than 400 people participated in the pageant which began with explanations of Indian traditions and their way of life. It progressed with the coming of the white man to the West and how this movement changed their way of life. The finale was absolutely stunning, as a brave astride a magnificent paint horse rode to an upper stage holding the U.S. flag as the audience sang the national anthem. This was especially moving as just yesterday morning it was announced the ambassador to Libya had been killed when terrorists attacked the embassy there.
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Country Mercantile started out as a small one-room produce stand in the 1990s, but has expanded greatly over the years. Fresh fruits and veggies still star here, but homemade candies, ice cream and salsas share the stage along with other gourmet goodies and gift items.
Their salsas are the best for miles around. They come in a multitude of flavors - my favorite is the roasted garlic and olive, and they've got a suicide salsa for folks who like it fiery hot. Mangoes, peaches, pineapple, avocados and asparagus are some of the other flavors. Sometimes they have a cherry salsa that is almost sweet enough to use as a topping on ice cream.
The store has a huge parking lot, and it's needed, especially on summer weekends, to handle all the RVs that stop. A harvest festival in the fall draws thousands of people over several weeks to pick pumpkins and navigate a corn maze.