Crooked River Roundup leaders ask city officials to proclaim 2020 the Year of the Cowboy in Prineville

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - The Year of the Cowboy is not only a celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Crooked River Roundup, but recognizes a way of life in the community.

It's the Year of the Cowboy!

In the lead-up to the Crooked River Roundup's 75th Anniversary Kickoff Gala next month and the Roundup this summer, event leaders are putting an emphasis on the cowboy. They asked the Prineville City Council to consider an official proclamation naming 2020 the Year of the Cowboy in the community, and they intend to continue celebrating that designation throughout the rest of the year.

Board member Steve Holliday said that he initially came up with the idea this past fall while he was reflecting on the 75th anniversary. He felt like the board needed to do something that would celebrate the milestone as well as the community and the Western heritage upon which Crook County is founded. And while he acknowledged that hats, boots, buckles and rodeo are a big part of being a cowboy, he feels there is more to it than that.

"It's a state of mind. It's a way of life," Holliday said. "It's coming up against a problem and finding a solution, not waiting for someone else to fix it for you."

Snider said the Year of the Cowboy is about identifying a pretty important role in this community and what the Crooked River Roundup has been for the past 75 years.

"Whether it be creating space for organizations to be involved and help get monies raised or what we have done as an organization to support various groups for causes, it is just kind of a spin on recognizing what we were trying to do and recognizing all things cowboy," he said.

Snider pointed out that there is already a national Day of the Cowboy, as well as a host of other proclaimed days throughout the country. He figures the Crooked River Roundup "might as well get in line and get our place." The Prineville City Council, which vets all of its proclamations requests prior to reading them, agreed and voted unanimously to present the proclamation at its next meeting. Snider said the Year of the Cowboy will be part of the big push leading up to the Gala on Feb. 8, an elegant event that will include a roundup queen coronation and introduction of the grand marshals, as well as a dinner and live and silent auctions.

"We are just gaining traction on extending an invitation and making folks aware and welcome to be there," Snider said, adding that "there are many, many people involved in making those decisions and putting their own personal spins on who it gets presented within the community."

While Roundup leaders decided to designate the 75th anniversary as the Year of the Cowboy, Snider acknowledges that a case could be made any year to make a similar designation for the days or weeks during the roundup, so the decision seems fitting. He notes that during that time of year, people don their hats and boots, and everybody gets ramped up for the big event.

"We encourage that," he said. "We are open to creating an opportunity for folks to have a great time." After the Gala, Roundup leaders will continue to promote the Year of the Cowboy, which Snider said will be one of many pieces they emphasize going into the event. He said they will promote it in the same way they have pushed Prineville being known as the Cowboy Capital of Oregon.

"Any kind of spotlight you can put on a cowboy in Crook County and Prineville always veers back to the Roundup," he said.

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