george fletcher pendleton oregon bronze trail

George Fletcher

George Fletcher, a competitor in the World Bronc Riding Championship in 1911, was the first African-American to compete in the Pendleton Round-Up. The judges determined competitor John Spain had drawn a tougher mount, but the crowd roared loudest for Fletcher. Though the prize of a $350 saddle went to John Spain, the Round-Up Director Sheriff Til Taylor took Fletcher’s black cowboy hat and cut it into small pieces. After selling them to the crowd, Taylor raised enough money for Fletcher to buy his own $350 saddle. He was by all accounts the “People’s Champion.”