Oregon, Photography

Pendleton Round-Up Wagon Train: “Cookin’ Spoo Style”

Back in June when I was at home on vacation visiting my family in Oregon I had the opportunity to experience a few days at the annual Pendleton Round-Up Wagon Train. This week-long family event has been around since 1982 and is an opportunity for people to bring their horses and teams to experience a week in the beautiful Blue Mountains and recreate the wagon train experience that the pioneers had on the Oregon Trail. This is the second year that my parents have been the event’s official caterer. While I was there I was able to tag along on the morning route for two days before heading back to camp with my dad who met the wagons and riders out on the trail for lunch. This is an incredibly unique, fun event filled with history, beautiful animals and salt of the earth people. 

This part three of five posts. With so many pictures, I struggled with what was the best way to split them up across a few blog posts, but in the end I decided to organize them based on a few themes. So what you see is not in any type of chronological order and covers the two and a half days that I was there. Enjoy!

If you missed them you can view:
Part One “On the Trail” HERE
Part Two “Circling the Wagons” HERE
Part Four “All in the Family” HERE
Part Five “Horsemanship is in the Details” HERE


Today’s post veers off from the series of photos of the horses and people on the wagon train, and focuses on the whole reason why I was actually there… my family!

My Dad built his first BBQ with his students when he was teaching high school agriculture maybe 15 years ago or so (?) (now he’s a high school principal). They used that original BBQ for high school football concessions, offering tri-tip and pork loin sandwiches along with your typical hamburgers and hotdogs. But more and more people became interested in it that they started using it for fundraisers and my Dad really started to get into trying new things (he’s always loved cooking). Eventually my Dad built his own BBQ and started doing the meat catering for weddings, company parties, golf tournaments and other events. Now on his third BBQ (because he always has new ideas on ways to improve it), he stays pretty busy with his side business, Cookin’ Spoo Style. He mostly sticks to just catering the meat but sometimes branches out and will do the whole meal.

As I mentioned above, this was his second time as the official caterer for the wagon train event and this year it happened to fall on the same week that I was able to come home for a visit.  As the caterer he was responsible for all three meals Tuesday through Friday, plus a dinner on Monday night and breakfast on Saturday for approximately 150 people… all without running water and electricity. So this event was much bigger than anything else he’s ever done and took a full-time team of 6 (and a second BBQ) to pull off. For lunch, instead of having the wagons come back into camp or sending them out with a cold lunch, my Dad, Mel and Tim would meet them out on the trail with a hot lunch, while my Mom, Jerrie and Dave stayed back at camp to prep for the next meal.

I spent the first 2.5 days there helping out and spending time with my parents, and though they put me to work, I had so much fun. I didn’t have cell phone service the whole time I was there, which was honestly so refreshing. My Dad was meant to be an educator and anyone who has met him can see the passion he has for his profession, but I love that he also has other interests and passions that he pursues and shares with others.

Part four will be up on Wednesday!

7 thoughts on “Pendleton Round-Up Wagon Train: “Cookin’ Spoo Style””

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