JOSEPH, ORE. -- It's been 65 years since famous stock contractor Harley Tucker and local ranchers joined together to put on the first Chief Joseph Days as both a celebration of ranching life and a nod to the famous Nez Perce leader.
With four nights of PRCA rodeo featuring world champions and a Nez Perce sponsored Friendship Feast, Chief Joseph Days draws roughly 10,000 people from all over the world to take part in an authentic western event in an authentic western town.
Joseph occupies the northeastern corner of the state known as the Wallowa Valley. Once the Nez Perce homeland, the tribe was forced out in the famous retreat of 1877, when Chief Joseph gained fame for both his military skills -- the press referred to him as "The Red Napolean" -- and his poetic surrender: "Hear me my chiefs, I am tired. My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever."
Kick off is Tuesday with a bucking horse stampede down Joseph's Main Street; the festivities end July 25, with a cowboy breakfast and church service.
Two-time Comedy Act of the Year winner The Wild Thang is the featured specialty act. The carnival is back, with Family Night Wednesday night. July 22 is Tough Enough to Wear Pink in support of cancer research. The nights of July 23 and 24 feature live music by Countrified and dances at the nearby Thunderroom after the rodeos. The all-you-can-eat cowboy breakfast kicks in at midnight on July 24. A special teen dance is back for the third year in a row, with a professional DJ at the nearby Joseph Community Center, on the evenings of July 23 and 24.
For more information, visit www.chiefjosephdays.com, or call the Joseph Chamber of Commerce at 541-432-1015, or the Wallowa County Chamber at 541-426-4622.