Getting your rodeo on in Sisters
Last updated 6/8/2022 at Noon
Rodeo doesn’t end when the last horse or bull is corralled. If the 80th Sisters Rodeo is anything like the previous 79, the good times will roll on at watering holes and eateries all over town.
Perhaps nothing more slakes rodeo thirst than the after parties at Hardtails Bar & Grill showcasing music by Redmond-based band Sleepless Truckers, June 9-11 on the patio stage. The Sleepless Truckers describe themselves as “[bringing]Outlaw Country, Americana, Southern Rock, and Red Dirt to the West, throwing in a Central Oregon Smoky twist for a redneck tilt-a-whirl experience you won’t soon forget.”
Up and down the avenues, barkeepers and food purveyors will either increase hours, add music or otherwise try and meet the merriment demands of fans and the 500-plus cowboys and cowgirls who will perform or work in the rodeo.
The only damper is staffing, a continuing and chronic issue affecting businesses nationwide. More so, area merchants say, as Sisters does not produce enough local workers, and it’s getting harder and harder with $5 gas discouraging workers from Bend and Redmond to commute to work here.
Sisters Saloon & Ranch Grill will host the Joe Slick Band for a party under the tent Thursday-Saturday, and rotate two bands indoors for their Rodeo after parties, local favorite Dry Canyon Stampede and The Woodsmen from Bend. Food will be limited as is the case with Hardtails, as each stashes tables to make room for larger numbers of rodeo afficionados and would-be cowboys and cowgirls mixed in among the genuine article.
The Gallery Restaurant & Bar say they’re already maxed out on how many they can accommodate as a result of worker shortages. They’re braced to receive an influx of rodeo fans with their outdoor tent for the overflow, but they won’t add any special rodeo-themed activities.
It’s the same story at The Barn, which is often at full capacity without Rodeo. The Ski Inn Taphouse will add two hours, maybe more if needed from the 8th to the 12th. Sisters Depot Kitchen & Cocktail Bar thinks they’re in pretty good shape and will feature area musicians Doc Ryan Trio & Friends Saturday night to celebrate Rodeo.
Steve Macey, who owns Hardtails, said, “We’re not sure what to expect after a two-year layoff. We’re ready for whatever comes our way and we know it will be good times even without our mechanical bull that we usually have in connection with rodeo week.”
The bull is currently in Florida, and the promoter has raised prices beyond Macey’s budget. Cowboys, real and imagined, will no doubt find other creative ways to impress cowgirls.
Kara Lappe, owner of The SweetEasy Co. and Sisters Cascade gift store, will see the sunrise side of rodeo and will open early on Saturday morning for the parade.
“They’ll smell our baking so we won’t need any signs. They’ll follow their noses,” she said.
It’s the same up and down the Cascade Avenue parade route, where stores will be trying to cash in on the hundreds of paradegoers. They will need to pull their sidewalk merchandise inside to make room for parade viewing.
Major national brands will be on hand in Sisters to promote goodwill among their customers and prospects. Crown Royal, the recognizable whiskey and official liquor of professional rodeo, will be working the streets with tastings at Sisters Liquor June 8-11
The iconic Crown Royal Girls will rotate between Hardtails and Sisters Saloon for photo ops and to introduce new flavored offerings. Pendleton Whisky, a popular libation of cowboys, is distilled in Canada but bottled in Hood River. It will be on sale during Rodeo week.
Coors, the official beer of professional rodeo, has their banners all over town and in-store promotions as they try to connect Western heritage to beer drinkers with price reductions. Not to be outdone, Angels & Cowboys, a hot Sonoma County, California vintner is promoting its red and rosé offerings in area stores.
The ongoing rodeo party continues Sunday morning at the rodeo grounds with the annual Kiwanis Buckaroo Breakfast. This is the 38th such event, an all-you-can-eat fundraiser that includes hotcakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, coffee, and juice. It’s open to everybody from 7 to 11 a.m. and is often a good opportunity to mingle with rodeo performers and stock handlers.
“Rodeo in Sisters is more than a rodeo. It’s a happening,” Johnny Morris of Madras said as he and wife, Trudy, were outfitting themselves at Dixie’s. “We’ve been coming about 30 years now and wouldn’t miss it.”