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Brooks Library Research Guides: Ellensburg Rodeo
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Brooks Library Research Guides: Ellensburg Rodeo

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The Ellensburg Rodeo first took place in 1923. Locals competed in 18 events with winners earning $900 in prizes. Since then, the rodeo has grown to be one of the top professional rodeos in North America, hosting 600 contestants and offering $400,000 in prize money. The rodeo takes place every year in September. Rodeo events include bare-back riding, team roping, saddle bronc riding, barrel racing, bull riding, and steer wrestling. To learn more about the Ellensburg Rodeo, see the following resources.

Ellensburg Daily Record. September 3, 1938. See Box 43, Folder 16, Frederick Krueger Collection. CWU Archives and Special Collections, Brooks Library, Central Washington University.
Archival collections
The following collections may be found on the fourth floor of Brooks Library. Please contact the Archives for further assistance. The following guides provide descriptions of collections in the Archives--each contains information about the Ellensburg Rodeo.

Each of the following may be found on the third and fourth floors of Brooks Library. LC call numbers A-J can be found on the third floor while call numbers K-Z and special collections materials may be found on the fourth floor. Please ask a librarian if you need help.

  • Michael Allen. Rodeo Cowboys in the North American Imagination. Reno, NV: University of Nevada Press, 1998. Call number: GV1834.A55 1998.
  • John Bennett. Rodeo Town: Stories of the Kittitas Valley. Ellensburg, WA: Vagabond Press, 1997. Call number: Special Collections, F899.E4 B462 1997.
  • Daily Record. Kittitas County Memories. Vancouver, WA: Pediment Publications, 2003. Call number: F897.K53 K499 2003.
  • Herbert Clay Fish. Selected Writings of Herbert Clay Fish, 1875-1934. Ellensburg, WA: Central Washington College of Education Library, 1952. Call number: Special Collections, F891.6.F5.
  • Kristine Fredriksson. American Rodeo: From Buffalo Bill to Big Business. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 1985. Call number: GV1834.55.W47 F74 1985.
  • Renee M. Laegried. Riding Pretty: Rodeo Royalty in the American West. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2006. Call number: GV1833.5.L34 2006.
  • Mary Lou LeCompte. Cowgirls of the Rodeo: Pioneer Professional Athletes. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1993. Call number: GV1834.55.W47 L43 1993.
  • John Ludtka. The Tradition Lives: A 75-Year History of the Ellensburg Rodeo. Ellensburg, WA: Ellensburg Rodeo Association, 1997. Call number: GV1834.55.W22 E43 1997.
  • Larry Pointer. Rodeo Champions: Eight Memorable Moments of Riding, Wrestling, and Roping. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 1985. Call number: GV1833.5.P64 1985.
  • Wayne S. Wooden and Gavin Ehringer. Rodeo in America: Wranglers, Roughstock, and Paydirt. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 1996. Call number: GV1834.5.W66 1996.

Footage of the Ellensburg Rodeo can be found in the Brooks Library media collection and in the CWU Archives. Media materials may be checked out while archival materials may only be used in the library.

Media materials may be checked out on the first floor of the library:

  • Ellensburg Rodeo Parade [videorecording]. Call number: VT-3488.
  • Ellensburg Rodeo, 1923-1927 [videorecording]. Call number: FM-21.
  • Ellensburg's First 1923 Fair and Rodeo [videorecording]. Call number: VT-4294.

Archival materials may be found on the fourth floor of the library. Please examine the following collection guides to discover the footage of interest to you, and contact the Archives for further information:

Newspaper articles
"Old Timer Sez." Ellensburg Daily Record. August 17, 1946.

"Ellensburg Rodeo Through the Years." Ellensburg Daily Record. September 4, 2004.
Ellensburg Rodeo Official Website. This website summarizes the yearly schedule of activities at the Ellensburg Rodeo.

Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame. The Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame Association (ERHOF) was founded in 1997 to preserve the history and traditions of the Ellensburg Rodeo. The ERHOF along with Top Hands, the Ellensburg Rodeo Posse, the Past Rodeo Royalty, the Gold Buckle Club, Rotary, and others assist the Ellensburg Rodeo Board in conducting the annual rodeo.

Ellensburg Heritage. Olympia, WA: Washington State Library, 2008. Ellensburg Public Library's Rodeo Photograph Collection contains 170 photographs dating from the early 1920s to the mid 1960s, showcasing all aspects of rodeo life.
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