In the old west, a man’s handshake and his word were all that were needed to strike a deal.
Rodeo announcer Randy Corley, who has called the action at the Farm-City Pro Rodeo in Hermiston for 26 years, has never had a formal contract. He says he’ll be there, shakes board member David Bothum’s hand and, as promised, rolls into town the next August.
The board members at the Farm-City Pro Rodeo feel the same way, and they took that mantra with them as they set out to create a product beyond their successful rodeo. As a nonprofit organization, a few extra coins in their pocket can go a long way.
The end result: Chute Eight American Whiskey and Chute Eight American Vodka, unveiled Thursday at the FCPR sponsor and volunteer dinner at the National Guard Armory.
The label depicts two cowboys on horseback shaking hands. “Celebrating the Western Spirit” runs across the top of the label, and “The Handshake, Our Word, Our Bond” is below the black and white drawing.
“The handshake is at the heart of what we do,” said Carroll Unruh, who has worked with the FCPR since 1998. “It’s a simple gesture that is a binding contract. It speaks to what we feel — hard work and trust are the basis of what we have done.”
The two cowboys on the label are Bothum and Butch Knowles, renowned bronc riders in their day, and founders of the FCPR. Knowles qualified for the National Finals Rodeo four times and won the NFR average in 1987, while Bothum finished in the top 15 of the world standings nine times.
Once the FCPR board had a plan, they enlisted a marketing agent and joined forces with Indio Spirits of Portland to craft their spirits.
John Ufford, founder, CEO and master distiller, made a whiskey and a vodka, and president Bob Turner has been promoting the products over the last month. Both spirits are available in Hermiston and the Portland area in limited amounts, with plans to distribute nationally.