Friday Field of Dreams: Football in a rodeo ring? It’s not Texas, it’s Oregon

Cameron Smith

The Pendleton Round-up is almost certainly the nation's only rodeo and football dual-use facility — GreenworksPC

There are a number of fantastic dual use prep football stadiums across the country. Some host both football and baseball, others are the home of even more sports, like lacrosse and field hockey. None have a more unique primary function than the one in Pendleton, Oregon, where horses typically take the headlines.

The Buckaroos enter the field through a rodeo gate — Buckaroo Football

If football and rodeo are what you’re into, the Pendleton Round-up is the stadium for you. The rodeo-built facility features round stadium seating with a large dirt track surrounding an oval infield, almost like a smaller thoroughbred racetrack.

During the summer rodeo sessions, the track surface and infield get an equal amount of attention, with cattle ropers and riders exciting fans in the stands. During the fall the oval is transformed into a prep football field, where it hosts the Pendleton High (Pendleton, Ore.) Buckaroos.

There are few fields that feature a more unique seating set up than the Round-up. The stadium features a horseshoe-shaped stand formation, which means that teams are moving toward an enclosed, sound-capturing end in one quarter and then an open, fan-less side the next.

The Pendleton Buckaroos are believed to be the only team in the nation to play in a rodeo arena — Buckaroo Football

The Pendleton Round-up in its more famous use — Wikipedia

According to MaxPreps, home fans sit in the stadium’s larger south grandstand while visiting fans are left to sit directly above the bucking chutes used in the rodeo.

That can make a big difference in a game, though the sound issues may be mitigated somewhat by the dirt track that rings the field, keeping fans farther from the field than in your traditional park and decreasing some of the decibels of cheering (or booing) fans.

The quirks are all part of playing in one of the nation’s oldest football facilities, which was first opened in 1910. More than 100 years later, it still stands as one of the most unique settings in all of high school sports, as you can see in from the action video above.

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The exterior of the Pendleton Round-up from a distance — Pendleton Chamber of Commerce