Red Bluff Round-Up Board Member Frank Moore
● By Melissa Mendonca
So Much Moore
By Melissa Mendonca
Photo by Jen Peterson
In 2013, the Red Bluff Round-Up dedicated its arena to Frank Moore, a great champion of the rodeo grounds over the last several decades. While Moore delights in the recognition, he’d like people to know he’s not dead yet. This wasn’t a memorial dedication. The 87-year-old is still very much alive and active on the Round-Up Committee and hopes more will join him in celebrating the 99th Red Bluff Round-Up from April 17-19.
Moore joined the rodeo committee in 1971, but he’s been tending the grounds since childhood. “My uncle ran the timed-event chutes back in the ‘40s and ‘50s,” he says. “I worked out there for my uncle when he was a director. Back in those days, the only lawnmowers they had were sheep.”
“I’ve heard the story many times that Frank started at 11 years old digging trenches for the latrines,” says John Trede, president of the Red Bluff Round-Up Committee. “He just does it. It’s in his DNA. If there’s a job, he’s going to get it done.”
“Just about everything you see at the Red Bluff Round-Up, I had something to do with on the rodeo grounds,” says Moore.
Trede breaks it down with specifics. Moore gathered volunteers and materials to build new grandstands, skybox seating areas, a hospitality area for sponsors, lighting and scoreboards. “Those projects probably comprise about 70 percent of our revenue,” says Trede. “We wouldn’t be anywhere near where we are at capacity if he hadn’t done what he’s done for us. He’s always working on the rodeo, even in the middle of the summer.”
It was a natural thing to try out rodeo as a contestant by the time he got to high school, but Moore says with a laugh, “You get on a bull, you get on a horse and you find out there are better things to do.” He’s dedicated his life to those better things in rodeo, including incorporating Round-Up promotion in his job as a sales manager.
Working for a Carlton, Ore.-based company that made gloves for mill workers and welders, Moore was strategic in the timing of his sales calls over his 34-year career. “I would make sure I had appointments in rodeo towns the weeks of their rodeos,” he says, noting that he always made sure to represent the Red Bluff Round-Up when he came to town. He stayed Red Bluff-based throughout his career, resisting a company plea to move to Carlton.
Also riding into the rodeo towns was John Growney of Growney Brothers Rodeo in Red Bluff, who brought his livestock to performances. “It seemed like no matter where I was, everybody knew Frank Moore,” Growney says. “As a committee member, he’s probably done more for the Red Bluff Round-Up than anybody. In all of my lifetime he’s probably the greatest committee member there’s been.”
Moore, Trede and Growney are all legacy promoters of the Red Bluff Round-Up, following in the footsteps of family members who came before them. All take pride in the reputation the rodeo has developed over the years. “Today, we’re probably one of the best rodeos in the U.S.,” says Moore. “The contestants are all more professional. A horse has to make a certain score or they don’t come to Red Bluff.” There are many rodeos a professional cowboy can enter in a season, but they make it a point to get to Red Bluff.
One reason is that the Red Bluff Round-Up has been open to new ideas and ways to support contestants. About 20 years ago, Moore, along with Cotton Rosser and George Growney, came up with the idea of the Wild Ride, a saddle bronc event in which contestants dress up in wild costumes and frequently fly out of the chute in a mist of baby powder. A volunteer would make the costumes, and cowboys could be seen in “fancy dresses and skirts,” says Moore. “Then the cowboys started bringing their own costumes.”
For cowboys, the Wild Ride is an additional chance to win money. For the audience, it’s a fun spectacle that brings whoops of laughter and fun. “We got some world champions to do it,” says Moore, noting that their quick buy-in has made it a much-anticipated event each year.
Today, Moore manages the skybox VIP area of the rodeo, a place that lets him survey his lifetime of work. “It’s part of my life,” he says of the Round-Up. “If you grow up in Red Bluff, it’s what you do.”
“If everybody were a committee member like Frank Moore,” says Growney, “they could probably take over the world.”
The Red Bluff Round-Up scheduled for April 17-19, 2020 has been postponed.