If you’re heading to the Pendleton Round-Up, you will want to meet author Rick Steber. He will be signing copies of his book, Red White Black, at the Pendleton store in Pendleton, Oregon on Saturday, September 12th, 9 AM to 12 PM.
The story of the Pendleton Round-Up is inextricably linked to the story of Jackson Sundown, a rodeo champion from the Nez Perce tribe. Red White Black tells the story of the 1911 Pendleton Round-Up, when three men of different skin colors – Jackson Sundown, John Spain, and George Fletcher – competed in the finals of the Northwest Saddle Bronc Championship. What happened that September day, the judges’ decision and the reaction of the crowd in the aftermath, forever changed the sport of rodeo.
Rick Steber, who spent nearly four decades researching this story, has more than 30 titles under his belt and sales of over a million books. Rick is the only Oregon author to have won the prestigious Western Writers of America Spur Award – Best Western Novel. He is a keen observer of the changing American West and he articulates these changes in prose that are boldly descriptive, invigorating and creative. This is your chance to meet him and have him sign a piece of Round-Up history for you.
Bob Chenoweth, a curator, contacted us to see if he might acquire a Jackson Sundown Western shirt for some upcoming exhibits in Idaho. He also mentioned a tipi that had belonged to Mr. Sundown that he was hoping to include, as well.
The shirt in question was a special design we produced in 2009 based on a shirt worn by Mr. Sundown in one of the more iconic shots in Pendleton’s archives: Mr. Chenoweth found his Jackson Sundown shirt, and we also sent him a copy of the photo that inspired it.
He replied as follows:
I thought you might like to know that after comparing contemporary photos of the tipi from when we set it up a few years ago to the photo you sent, it is the same tipi.
This particular tipi was made in about 1878 for Corbet Lawyer to use when he went to Oklahoma to advocate and help the 1877 war prisoners that were taken there after Chief Joseph surrendered at Bear Paw, Montana.
The Pendleton Round-up is going on right now—an amazing rodeo adventure in Pendleton, Oregon, celebrating its 102nd year. Our designers travel there for inspiration, entertainment, and to watch our westernwear in action on rodeo competitors and fans. Oregon Public Broadcasting has a video titled “Pendleton Round-Up: The Wild West Way” that’s well worth watching, and Cowboys & Indians magazine has some great background.
Among the historic images, you’ll see this shot:
This is Roy Bishop and Jackson Sundown posing at the Pendleton Round-Up. This image actually made the fashion blogs in 2009, when recreations of Roy Bishop’s fringed coat and Jackson Sundown’s oval-print shirt were part of Pendleton’s Centennial offering. But the story is about more than fashion history. This photo is about rodeo history.