Bryson Liberty: Riding in Happy Canyon

Bryson Liberty talks about his role in the Happy Canyon rodeo.

Bio: Bryson Liberty is a tribal elder of the CTUIR. Liberty has a military background and is a published author, as well as working as a health administrator and actor. His article about fishing at Celilo titled “On the Rock” was published in Cowboys and Indians magazine in 2011. He was on “The Cellar,” “Northern Exposure,” and “Little House on the Prairie”.


Philip Bill used to ride the horse and he rode it I think since Happy Canyon started. But ol’ Philip he did a super job. He’d get on that sport horse, you have to gallop up bareback, clear up this cliff, come clear over there, up a little higher ledge, gallop all the way back down into the arena and you know somebody takes your horse. When he did that he was a pretty old guy. Finally he decided he’d had it. So ol’ Doc Cook, he was a Doctor from Pilot Rock, he was in charge of Indians. He had to get somebody as a replacement. I don’t know how Doc got my name but anyway he came out and got me and yeah he knew I could ride pretty good because I was roping, you know. I was roping in the round-up. So he said you want to do that? And I said yeah okay I’ll do it. So they’re kind of in a hurry, running around, they got me, put me on the horse and this spotted horse been doing it so long, all you had to get on and hang on. And he got on him and boy we were running around up there and I was in jeans — and I rode him all the way up and they said ‘okay you’ve got to gallop all the way up here and stop on top.’ And you talk to this Chief. And then gallop all the way back. You’re telling this chief that the covered wagons are coming. A lot of people coming. So I go down and he tells me, get rid of all of them. So I go down and gallop all the way down and then all the people come out and I don’t have my horse anymore, someone takes it. But that was a good job except when the Indian pageant was over I had to hang around another hour and half until the Western town part was over. So I did that. I did that for six or seven years.

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