No prettier place in the solar system . . .

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Made a wide swing through Eastern Oregon and once again realized there is no prettier place in the solar system than Eastern Oregon in late fall.

The draws are outlined by red willows and golden aspen and cottonwood. The delicate needles of tamarack trees stand out like sentinels of burnished copper against the deep green of the forest.

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On the swing I visited schools and impressed on the students the importance of reading, writing and saving our history for future generations to explore and enjoy.

I signed books at independent bookstores, but mostly I just enjoyed the traveling and sightseeing before a winter of holing up in my cabin and writing another  book.

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Rick Steber is an award winning writer of contemporary western stories. To find out more about his books, including non-fiction biographies and novels, audio books and DVDs, visit his website:  Writing the West http://ricksteber.com

To purchase a copy of Rick Steber’s latest release: Red White Black: A True Story of Race and Rodeo visit: http://ricksteber.com/newreleases.html

 

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Shanghaiing at Oregon ports

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A scene from Astoria during the golden age of shanghiing

Portland and Astoria were infamous ports for shanghaiing sailors.

Men known as “crimps” used knockout drops, alcohol and other means to obtain crews for sailing ship captains. Once the bodies were delivered on board ship and the crimp was paid the ship set sail.

At the height of the shanghaiing days crimps charged as much as $135 per man and stories were told of dead men, and even a cigar store wooden Indian, having been taken aboard by gullible captains. As steamships became more popular, the sailing era began to fade and large crews were no longer necessary.

In time the Portland and Astoria waterfront became relatively safe places, where a man no longer needed to worry about waking up with a hangover and being a hundred miles out to sea.

Rick Steber is an award winning writer of contemporary western stories. To find out more about his books, including non-fiction biographies and novels, audio books and DVDs, visit his website:  Writing the West http://ricksteber.com

To purchase a copy of Rick Steber’s latest release: Red White Black: A True Story of Race and Rodeo visit: http://ricksteber.com/newreleases.html

Race, rodeo and discrimination

Rick Steber and Leon Ransom

Rick Steber and Leon Ransom

While in Pendleton at the Pendleton Round-Up, I had dinner with Leon Ransom. Leon’s wife, Georgia, fixed a wonderful salmon dinner that included a dessert of blueberry pie fixed from scratch.

Leon contributed to my research for Red White Black: A True Story of Race and Rodeo and was friends with one of the principal characters in the book, George Fletcher. We talked about race and rodeo, and how discrimination still remains woven into the fabric of America.

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To purchase your copy of Rick Steber’s book: Red White Black: A True Story of Race and Rodeo visit: http://ricksteber.com/newreleases.html

Rick Steber is an award winning writer of contemporary western stories. To find out more about his books, including non-fiction biographies and novels, audio books and DVDs visit his website:  Writing the West http://ricksteber.com

2013 Pendleton Round-Up a big success!

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Survived the 2013 Round-Up, that  time of year when the town of Pendleton swells to three times its normal size  and begins to burst at the seams.

round-up 040I did what seemed to be endless rounds of book  signings for “Red White Black” at  Hamley’s Western Store, Armchair Books, Round-Up Hall of Fame and Pendleton  Woolen Mills. Customers were excited about the new release and sales were brisk. I met a lot of loyal readers who have read and collected most, if not all, of my  books.

That always makes a fellow feel rewarded. Thanks everyone for making this Round-Up such a success!

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To purchase your copy of Rick Steber’s book: Red White Black: A True Story of Race and Rodeo visit: http://ricksteber.com/newreleases.html

Rick Steber is an award winning writer of contemporary western stories. To find out more about his books, including non-fiction biographies and novels, audio books and DVDs visit his website:  Writing the West http://ricksteber.com

The First Pendleton Round-Up

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The idea for the Pendleton Round-Up originated in 1910 when a group of men from Umatilla County were gathered in Portland for the Rose Festival.

It was proposed that Pendleton should hold a community event and that a western show was the answer. The men formed a company, sold stock, and that September the first Round-Up was held.

It was so popular the City of Pendleton purchased the company stock and made the Round-Up a civic event complete with cowboy and cowgirl competitions and entertainment depicting what life was like in the days of the Wild West.

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Each September since, the call goes out, “Let ’er Buck,” and the Pendleton Round-Up kicks off.

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Red White Black: A True Story of Race and Rodeo The 2013 Pendleton Round-Up takes place September 11th – 14th. Rick Steber will be in various locations in Pendleton, Oregon, September 10th – 14th, signing copies of his new book: Red White Black: A True Story of Race and Rodeo. View his book signing schedule here: http://ricksteber.com/book-sign-schedule.html 

Red Black White tells the true story of the 1911 Pendleton Round-Up. Three men of different skin colors – Jackson Sundown, John Spain, and George Fletcher – are brought together during 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, and the way the emerging West was to look at itself.about the 1911 Pendleton Roundup and how it forever changed the sport of rodeo, and the way the emerging West was to look at itself.

You can purchase of Red Black White online at: http://ricksteber.com/newreleases.html

 

Bobbie, The Oregon Wonder Dog!

Bobbie, The Wonder Dog

In August 1923 Silverton residents Frank and Elizabeth Brazier and their daughters Nova and Leona, embarked on a cross-country trip in their Overland Red Bird automobile. The Braziers dog, a bob-tailed Scotch collie and shepherd mix named Bobbie, rode outside on the luggage rack.

On the ninth day of their vacation, in the town of Walcott, Indiana, Bobbie ran away. Six months later Bobbie appeared back in  Silverton.

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Practically every newspaper in the United States ran a story about Bobbie’s amazing 3,000-mile journey home. Robert Ripley’s “Believe It or Not” radio show featured Bobbie; a book was written, and Bobbie even starred in his own movie, “Bobbie, The Wonder Dog”.

Bobbie, The Wonder Dog!

Bobbie, The Wonder Dog!

Rick Steber is an award winning writer of contemporary western stories. To find out more about his books, including non-fiction biographies and novels, audio books and DVDs visit his website:  Writing the West http://ricksteber.com

Oregon Hops, 1865: A Superior Flavor for Beer

Hop Field, ca. 1900, Willamette Valley

Hop Field, ca. 1900, Willamette Valley

The first hops, used to provide flavor in the making of beer, were planted in the Willamette Valley in 1865. When the hops were harvested brewers raved about the quality, claiming the hops grown in the rich soil and under the sunny skies of Oregon, had a superior flavor.

Hop Harvesting 1940

Hop Harvesting 1940

Oregon hops were sought after on the world market. But growing hops was labor-intensive and farmers sought any able-bodied worker to work in the harvest. Many homesteaders left their farms and worked and camped in the hop fields.

Oregon children harvesting hops, 1915

Oregon children harvesting hops, 1915

Entire families, from the oldest to the youngest, picked hops for curing and gingerly
packed the fragile flower cone buds for shipment to distant ports. By 1910 Oregon had
become the leading producer of hops in the United States.