Molalla Buckeroo History

Historical picture of Molalla Buckeroo Rodeo
Molalla Buckeroo... as it was years gone by

 

America's rodeos are living legacies of the working cowboy and cowgirl. Since its early beginnings the Molalla Buckeroo has become a classic example. The Fourth of July holiday is know as Cowboy Christmas in rodeo circles. Molalla's Buckeroo is one of the many that cowboys and other competitors have to choose from as the nation celebrates its birthday each summer.

The large number of rodeos in the Pacific Northwest, including Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Northern California, offer many rodeos within easy traveling distance.

They provide the men and women who make rodeo a part of their lives the opportunity to rack up points and purse money in a very short time.

Today's rodeo contestants stay in town only long enough to complete their rides, and then they're off to the next town, the next rodeo, and the next purse.

It was in 1913 that Molalla became part of that Cowboy Christmas list--a list that was much shorter than it is today.

Molalla's crossroads were emerging--the town was growing and prospecting right along with its timber and farming industries.

As the town continued to grow, the town's people became more and more anxious for a railroad that would connect this area to the rest of the state and country.

Finally, On Sept. 9, 1913, the Portland, Eugene and Eastern Trailway came to Molalla and gave Molalla a vital link to the outside world.

The idea of a rodeo was born from the town's desire to celebrate the arrival of the train--making the Buckeroo Roundup, as it was known, the third established rodeo taking place in Oregon.

The buckeroo, which was originally held in fields near town, grew rapidly in its first few years, and the date was eventually changed to the first week of July to celebrate the birth of the nation.

Initially local firefighters sponsored the event as a way to raise funds for equipment needed to fight the town's fires. In 1923, the Molalla Buckeroo Association was formed and took over operation of the rodeo. The Buckeroo Association began construction of an arena soon after taking over the operation and in 1925 the rodeo had its first permanent home.

Each year, as the Buckeroo celebration and rodeo drew near, the town found itself in a spirited and festive mood, much as it does today.

The Fourth of July Parade, now known as the Giant Street parade, is also a traditional part of the celebration.

All of these years after its first rodeo, the Molalla Buckeroo is now firmly ensconced in its Shirley Street arena and continues to draw in competitors from the PRCA circuit.

- Story from the Molalla Pioneer