George Fletcher Statue
228 S Main Street, Pendleton, OR
Bronze sculpture of rodeo rider George Fletcher by Gary Werner
Photo taken by Richard Doody in February 2016
George Fletcher (1890-1973), Fletcher moved to Pendleton as a child and learned to ride broncs on the Umatilla Indian Reservation. A competitor in the World Bronc Riding Championship in 1911, he 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.” Although Fletcher never competed again because of an injury sustained in World War I, he lived in Pendleton until his death in 1973.
- January 25, 2019: New photos from Richard Doody
- January 25, 2019: Added by Richard Doody