Pendleton in Umatilla County, Oregon — The American West (Northwest)
2nd Place World Bronc Riding Champion 1911
—October 3, 1890 - October 1, 1973 —
George Fletcher arrived in Pendleton around 1900 at the age of 10 with his mother and stepfather. His home life was unstable, and the hardships faced by African-Americans at that time were difficult to surmount. George was taken under the wing of a local minister, Reverend Cornelison at the Tutilla Presbyterian Church on the Umatilla Indian Reservation east of Pendleton. Friends from the tribes helped him learn how to manage, train, and work with horses. He was the only African-American to compete in the first Pendleton Round-Up in 1910.
George Fletcher was a competitor for the World Bronc Riding Championship in 1911 Round-Up completion. Although John Spain was declared the winner, many of the fans believed Fletcher should have won first place. The first-place price (sic) of a $350 saddle went to John Spain. Sheriff Til Taylor, a Round-Up director at the time, took Fletcher's black cowboy hat and cut it into small bits and sold them to the crowd. He raised enough money for Fletcher to by a $350 saddle
Fletcher competed in rodeos until the outbreak of World War I, when he was drafted into the service. He was sent to France as part of the SOS Unit of the 815 Pioneer Infantry. Following an injury during the war, he walked with a limp and retired from rodeo completion. Fletcher went to work for various ranches and was a familiar face in Pendleton for the rest of his life.
Erected by Pendleton Bronze Trail.
Location. 45° 40.329′ N, 118° 47.224′ W. Marker is in Pendleton, Oregon, in Umatilla County. Marker is on South Main Street near Southeast Dorion Avenue, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 230 South Main Street, Pendleton OR 97801, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Kathleen McClintock 1907-1998 (a few steps from this marker); Milarkey Building (within shouting distance of this marker); The Peoples Warehouse (within shouting distance of this marker); State Saloon (within shouting distance of this marker); R.F. Renn Building (within shouting distance of this marker); Judd Block DeSpain Block (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Milarkey-Murphy Bldg (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Pendleton.
Also see . . . Black Cowboys in Oregon - The Oregon Encyclopedia. The history of African American cowboys in Oregon begins well past the state’s frontier era. There were almost no black cowboys in Oregon during the nineteenth century and only a few during the twentieth century, when cowboys became entertainment figures. (Submitted on December 21, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.)
Categories. • African Americans • Sports •
Credits. This page was last revised on December 23, 2017. This page originally submitted on December 21, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 110 times since then and 10 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on December 21, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.