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Buckle Bunnies and Back Numbers

I spent last week in an alternate universe known as the Pendleton Round Up. Even if you live in Pendleton, Oregon, it is another world. For six days, around sixty thousand people descend upon a town that only has an average population of twenty thousand. The streets are closed and filled with booths selling everything from yakisoba noodles to log beds. Beer flows faster than the Umatilla River that winds straight through the heart of town. You know that saying about what happens in Vegas? Double that for Round Up.

Pendleton is also the last of the big regular season pro rodeos, one last shot at enough money to jump into the golden top fifteen who qualify for the National Finals, and therefore a magnet for the top cowboys in the nation…and the women who would love to, um, love them.

May I introduce the American Buckle Bunny. She is the rodeo version of a sports groupie, clad in something very short and very tight with very high heels. Usually some kind of boots, but stilettos showed up with surprising frequency this year. At any large pro rodeo, she outnumbers the actual competitive cowboys approximately four to one.  Luckily, she doesn’t appear to be adverse to doubling up with one of her friends if the man in question is ranked high enough in the world standings.

The epicenter of debauchery at Pendleton is a bar underneath the south grandstand called the Let ‘er Buck Room. They serve whiskey. Period. Although you do have a choice between rotgut whiskey and the signature Pendleton Whisky. (That’s not a typo. There is no ‘e’.) Imagine Mardi Gras inside a concrete box. With spurs.  My husband was there long enough to take three sips from his drink before a girl walked up and showed him her boobs. It’s also a very hands on kind of place. Children have been conceived in the Let ‘er Buck Room.

One would think with the odds and the moral standards being what they are, just being upright and breathing would be enough for a cowboy to get lucky during Round Up week in Pendleton. One would be right…as long as the cowboy in question is competing in the Round Up.

Even buckle bunnies have standards, you know.

And that’s where the back numbers come in. Every contestant is issued one upon paying their entry fees. They are assigned alphabetically, A-Z. The rodeo program has a full reference list, also known as the Buckle Bunny Index of Who’s Who. If you’re not on the list, you’re not getting inside those Daisy Dukes, cowpoke. Which is why so many of the cowboys wear their back number to the bar. As chick magnets go, it’s better than a puppy, except for one minor detail.

You are getting drunk, stupid and nasty with your ID tattooed on your back, four inches high.

But these are men. As far as I can tell, they don’t perceive this as a problem until the cop comes knocking on their camper door, guided there by the sixteen witnesses who saw number 487 stagger past and knock down the gate to the bull pen on his way home from the Let ‘er Buck Room. Even then it might still be worth it, if the girl was hot enough.

And they wonder why we have trouble writing from the male point of view.

*I picked this number at random. I have no idea who #487 was at this year’s Round Up. I do know, however, who knocked down the gate to the bull pen because, yes, there were at least sixteen witnesses who got his number. Doh.

**For more photos and info on Round Up you can visit my personal blog at Montana for Real.

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9 Responses

  1. Wonderfully worded! I would love to be a fly on the wall in the Let ‘er Buck Room. What great fodder!

  2. Buckle bunnies! Too funny! 🙂 Just more proof that men are short a few marbles. LOL Loved your post!

  3. LOL KariLynn! I wonder how many of these BB’s end up as a Mrs after their attempts? I’m thinking few….

  4. Keri: Not sure how many BB’s end up as wives, but there are quite a few wives who end up as ex’s thanks to the BBs.

  5. Buckle Bunnies? LOL! And, geez, I’d love to visit a place called the Let ‘er Buck Room, just so I could work it into casual conversation.

  6. Linda: I’d love to show you pictures but for obvious reasons, cameras are not allowed inside the Let ‘er Buck Room.

  7. This is the 2nd occasion I have come across your blog post in the last couple weeks. Seems like I ought to take note of it.

  8. Appreciate you sharing, great blog article.Much thanks again. Fantastic.

  9. Major thanks for the article post. Really Great.

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