Former rodeo bull riding champion of the 1930s and 1940s Smokey Snyder collected a number of photographs that were also printed alongside feature stories about the Pendleton Round-Up in The Oregonian. These photographs, with their newspaper clipping bylines taped or glued on the reverse side, feature events of the round-up from 1937-1953.
Albert Edward “Smokey” Snyder was born June 1, 1908, in Cripple Creek, Colorado. When he was a small boy, his family moved to Washington state and then to Alberta, Canada. He saw his first rodeo at Curlew, Washington, and soon after began his rodeo career at the age of fifteen at a rodeo in Hussar, Alberta, Canada.
Snyder competed in roughstock events – saddle bronc, bareback, and bull riding – but won most recognition in his bull riding competitions in the 1930s and 1940s. Snyder’s career brought him seven world championships. He won his first national title in bull riding in 1931 when he was just 23 years old. He then tied for crown in 1932, and won bareback bronc riding that same year. He went on to win bull riding championships in 1935, 1936, and 1937, including a bareback bronc riding title in 1936. Snyder competed and collected trophies for both bull and bareback bronc riding in the rodeo produced by Verne Elliott in London, England, in 1934. He also won the Canadian all-around cowboy title in 1934, and in that same year won the Bareback Riding Championship in Sidney, Australia, at the Easter Royal. It was in 1946 when his rodeo career as a rider ended when he broke his back while bull riding in Reno, Nevada. The name of the last bull he ever rode is not known.
Smokey was one of the leaders in organizing rodeo cowboys for their mutual benefit and protection, and helped raise the standards of rodeo when he was one of the founders of the Cowboys Turtle Association in 1936. He was elected to the Turtle’s board of directors several years.
He was employed by the Kern County Land and Cattle Company when he died in an automobile wreck on October 24, 1965, in Kern County, California. He was returning from a rodeo in Taft when the accident occurred.
“Famous Old Timer Killed in Wreck.” Rodeo Sports News, November 1, 1965. Vol. 13, No. 23.
See Also: Smokey Snyder file in Rodeo Honorees Vertical Files. The file includes correspondence, articles, and photocopied pictures.
The Pendleton Round-Up is meant to be “a frontier exhibition of picturesque pastimes, Indian and military spectacles, cowboy racing and bronco busting for the championship of the Northwest.” Participation of Native American tribes in the area has been a strong attraction in the Round-Up arena, at Happy Canyon, in the Indian Village and in the Westward Ho! Parade. Women have been active at the Round-Up as well; Cowgirls in the early days of the Round-Up could be as tough as men. Midway through the Round-Up’s colorful history, a Eugene newspaper summed it up with a characterization that remains applicable today:
“In good times and bad, Pendleton has gone on with the Round-Up. People over on the Umatilla have always been willing to take a chance. Maybe that’s the real cowboy spirit. Maybe it’s a little bit tougher brand of civic spirit. Anyhow, in Pendleton, the show goes on.”
“History of the Round-Up.” Pendleton Round-Up Official Website. http://pendletonroundup.com/about/history/
Scope & Content Note
This collection contains fourteen photographs of the Pendleton Round-Up collected by Smokey Snyder. It includes photographs of parades, Native Americans, and specialty acts. Newspaper by-lines are attached to the back of each photograph, and most photos were taken by staff photographer for The Oregonian, Frank Sterrett. Two photographs are missing
Snyder, Smokey, 1908-1965
Indian dance–North America
A scope and content note was written by librarian Karen Spilman in February 2003. The current finding aid was written and posted online in October 2009 by archivist/librarian Laura Anne Heller.
The Smokey Snyder Collection of Pendleton Round-Up Photographs is the property of the Donald C. & Elizabeth M. Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Literary right, including copyright, belongs to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, with the exception of copyrighted artwork images and published literary works, which are the property of the respective copyright holders. It is the responsibility of the researcher, and his/her publisher, to obtain publishing permission from individuals pictured, relevant copyright holders, and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.
Restrictions on Access
The collection is open for research. It is advisable for researchers to discuss their proposed research with staff prior to visiting the Center.
Smokey Snyder Collection of Pendleton Round-Up Photographs, Box ##, Folder ##, Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
|Series 1: Smokey Snyder Collection of Pendleton Round-Up Photographs|
|Box/Folder #||Accession #||Description|
|01/06||R.257.1||Pendleton Round-Up 1953. Sep. 12, 1953. Newspaper clipping glued to back of photograph: “Old Timer Prospector with his trail cart helps make Westward Ho parade at Round-Up authentic. Indian kids enjoy cart ride.” Photograph, b&w, 7.5 x 7.5 in.|
|R.257.2||Pendleton Round-Up 1951. Sep. 13, 1951. Newspaper clipping glued to back of photograph: “What’s New: Jim Looney of White Swan, Wash., a member of the Yakima tribe, glances through his copy of The Oregonian to brush up on world events before opening-day activities started in Round-Up arena.” Photograph, b&w, 6 x 7.5 in.|
|R.257.3||Pendleton Round-Up 1949. Aug. 26, 1949. Newspaper clipping glued to back of photograph: “The dust of the arena obscures the identity of this cowpoke who lost his duel with a bucking horse in the world’s bucking championships at the Pendleton Round-Up. Thursday was the second day of the four-day show. Among those who pulled leather was Gene Rambo (Frank Sterrett photo).” Photograph, b&w, 6 x 9.5 in.|
|R.257.4||Sep. 18, 1948. Newspaper clipping glued to back of photograph: “Round-Up: Despite occasional showers, more than 15,000 spectators crammed stands for Friday’s session of annual Pendleton Round-Up. Oregonian aerial photo by Hugh Ackroyd shows filled bowl, Indian village.” Photograph, b&w, 10.25 x 12 in.|
|R.257.5||Jan. 7, 1938. Newspaper clipping glued to back of photograph: “Pendleton, Jan. 6 (Special) – Here is ‘Jodo,’ placid ox added to the Pendleton Round-Up’s Westward Ho! Parade, with Marjorie Foster, seven-year-old Pendleton girl, showing her ability as rider. The name ‘Jodo’ won first prize for A.P. Knight of Pendleton in the ox-naming contest conducted by the Round-Up association.” Photograph, b&w, 8 x 8.5 in.|
|R.257.7||Pendleton Round-Up 1937. Dec. 26, 1937. Newspaper clipping glued to back of photograph: “The Old West with its gay cowhands, its Indians, its badmen and its stage coaches is reconstructed each year during the Pendleton Roundup with attendant thrills and spills. One of the most spectacular features is the annual stage coach race in coaches that are still used on such occasions in spite of the wear of time. Last year’s race provided an opportunity for the spectacular photograph of two coaches rounding the bend in the Roundup race track. Each coach has a driver and a full quota of passengers, who hang on as best as they can. (Photo by Frank Sterrett, staff photographer, The Oregonian).” Photograph, b&w, 9.25 x 14 in.|
|R.257.8||Pendleton Round-Up 1941. Aug. 24, 1941. Newspaper clipping glued to back of photograph: “Gathered in a circle on the Round-Up grounds, these squaws are watching the jerky, tiring movements of the dance which their men are performing. Both boys and men participate in the tribal dances, a type of entertainment available in few places except Pendleton.” The Sunday Oregonian, August 24, 1941, Photograph, b&w, 7 x 4.5 in.|
|R.257.9||Pendleton Round-Up 1948. Sep. 18, 1948. Newspaper clipping glued to back of photograph: “Westward-Ho: Twelve-mule team drawing close-coupled freight wagons of old days moves through streets in Westward-Ho parade, Pendleton Round-Up feature Thursday and Friday, driven by jerk-line. (Sterrett).” Photograph, b&w, 9.25 x 7.5 in.|
|R.257.10||Pendleton Round-Up 1950. Aug. 28, 1950. Newspaper clipping glued to back of photograph: “Dancers: Ceremonial dances of the Umatilla and Cayuse Indians, always an outstanding feature of the Pendleton Round-Up, gave the wild-west show its distinctive color again this year. One of the main dances is shown in progress. Wikiups of the Indians appear as conical clusters in the background. (Frank Sterrett).” Photograph, b&w, 6 x 7.5 in.|
|R.257.11||Pendleton Round-Up 1950. Aug. 27, 1950. Newspaper clipping glued to back of photograph: “The oxen shown above were among features of the annual Westward Ho! Parade at the Pendleton Round-Up Friday. More in tune with the time, however, was the Indian drum majorette (right) who led one marching unit. (Photos by Frank Sterrett, staff photographer).” Photograph, b&w, 8.5 x 13.25 in.|
|R.257.12||Pendleton Round-Up 1948. Sep. 17, 1948. Newspaper clipping glued to back of photograph: “Parade: Covered wagon days came to life again Thursday at Pendleton as Round-Up participants joined in the annual Westward Ho! Parade. A feature was this ten-ox-team drawing a double covered wagon. (Sterrett photo).” Photograph, b&w, 7 x 12 in.|
|R.257.14||Pendleton Round-Up 1948. Sep. 16, 1948. Newspaper clipping glued to back of photograph: “Tepee Town: One of the most colorful sights of Pendleton’s famed Round-Up is the Indian village on the Round-Up grounds, where Oregon’s first citizens made camp Wednesday for their part in festivities. (Sterrett).” Photograph, b&w, 8.25 x 11 in.|