You can tell by the smoldering sunset illuminating the pins on cowboy hats and hands carefully clasped around beer; it’s rodeo season.
More specifically, the Sisters Rodeo is back in town after a two year hiatus.
“Honestly, this has been one of my biggest dreams right here to work this rodeo,” said bullfighter Erick Schwindt.
Schwindt braves the cage, the horns, and all that comes with to keep riders safe.
“It’s more about protecting these bull riders and keeping them safe,” Schwindt said.
After volunteering for the rodeo for years, and waiting two more, Schwindt will be one of many Central Oregonians showing their passion on their sleeves.
It’s his first year working this rodeo.
“Huge excitement to strap the cleats on and step into this arena right here,” Schwindt said.
Schwindt isn’t the only Central Oregon resident ready for opening night.
“It gives me chills right here just talking about it and I’ve been doing it for 26 years,” said Jason Buchanan, the Music Director for the Sisters Rodeo.
Music Director Jason Buchanan got his big break at the Sisters Rodeo 19 years ago, and wouldn’t miss this chance to come back.
“Feels like being back home, man,” Buchanan said “Feels like getting on a bike again.”
“Basically, it’s a Central Oregon rodeo,” said Curt Kallberg, the president of the Sisters Rodeo.
The Central Oregon Rodeo by Central Oregonians, Just the slice of home Kallberg says, brings people back after the two year hiatus.
“People are coming from Europe, other states, and a lot of people coming out of the Willamette Valley,” Kallberg said.
About 30,000 people to be exact, bringing in an estimated $6.2 million back into the Sisters’ Community.
“We are ready and the community is ready,” Kallberg said.
Retiring from his position at the end of this rodeo, Kallberg says the three years of planning will buck visitors and locals alike.
“We’re probably going to have to put our feet up and probably have a cold beer and just breather,” Kallberg said.
For now, that beer has to wait, as the fish bowl fills, and the spotlights splash against bullhorns, leather saddles, and the essence of Central Oregon.
“I’ve heard the other day that there’s people walking around Sisters just waiting for this event to happen,” Schwindt said.