Cowboys and cologne: Rodeo hauled into court

AP News
Posted: Jun 17, 2011 8:40 PM
Cowboys and cologne: Rodeo hauled into court

Oregon's famous Pendleton Round-Up has been hauled into court over an aroma you don't normally associate with a rodeo grounds, bucking broncs and steer wrestling: cologne.

The rodeo organization is marketing its official fragrance, called "Let `er Buck," the rodeo's slogan. It promises "citrus top notes with alluring spices and warm, soft woods." A 3.4-ounce bottle goes for $69.

Pendleton Woolen Mills, known for colorful blankets and Western apparel, says the rodeo is horning in on its Pendleton trademark by using it in a way that could confuse consumers.

The dust-up pits two institutions allied since the beginning of the 100-year-old rodeo that celebrates the buckaroo heritage of the two-thirds of Oregon east of the Cascade Range.

It draws an estimated 50,000 people to a town of 17,000. It runs four days in September and ends more than a week of partying and related events such as parades, a concert, professional bull riding and mock battles between a white cavalry and Native Americans.

Among writer Ken Kesey's final work is a novel about the rodeo, "Last Go Round."

The association's website says the cologne is available online and at some local outlets, including Pendleton Mixer and Cigar. The operator of the liquor store, Greg Roland, says he's moved two to three dozen in the last year.

"It's more gals who buy it for a present," he said. "It's just impulse. Nobody goes to a liquor store to buy cologne."

Both sides have issued statements saying they regret they couldn't resolve their dispute short of the suit filed last month in federal court in Portland. It seeks an injunction and damages.

Pendleton civic leaders say the dispute shouldn't have an impact on the rodeo, and getting it to court would clear the air between the company and the rodeo organization.

"Those two groups have been so intertwined over the years," said Kevin Hale, real estate broker and leader of the Round-Up City Development Corporation. "Those ground rules need to be defined, and the court will do that. This is just a small bump in the road for what has been a long and beneficial relationship."