If you live or visit the West and Northwest, you will surely hear about a town rodeo. States such as Texas, New Mexico, Wyoming, and South Dakota have major rodeo events throughout the year, bringing in tens of thousands of fans. However, if you’ve never been to the rodeo, there is much to know about the event and ways to enjoy it. Use this beginner’s guide to the rodeo to find out everything you need to know for the time of your life.
A Brief History of the Rodeo
The rodeo grew from the practices of Spanish ranchers and Mexican ranch hands, including bullfighting and cattle rounding, which dated back to sixteenth-century Spain. In the early 1800s, the rodeo became an American tradition with informal events throughout the West with vaqueros and cowboys competing to determine who had the best skills. Today you can get tickets for the rodeo and to see the same competitions people have enjoyed for centuries.
Who is Buffalo Bill Cody?
The first Wild West show in Nebraska, officially putting rodeo on the American entertainment map, was created by William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody. He took the show on tour and created what is now known as the professional rodeo. By the late 1800s, women joined the Wild West contests, increasing participation in these exciting western events. As a result, the popularity of rodeos increased dramatically; now this competitive sport is in the US, Central and South America, Mexico, New Zealand, Canada, and Australia.
What is Roping?
Tie-down and team roping are two competitions frequently found at the rodeo. These techniques are used in working ranches in the West. The cowboy, or a team of cowboys, ride a horse and rope a calf into a looped rope called a pigging string. Team events are focused on roping the larger steer.
Wrestling the Steer
The excitement goes to the next level with steer wrestling, which is also referred to as bulldogging. A cowboy rides a horse into a barrier box, nods, and the gate is opened to release the steer. Once the steer reaches the end of the rope, the barrier comes down and the cowboy pursues the calf to get it on the ground.
A Day at the Races
Barrel racing is another rodeo event with racers on horses running around three barrels in a cloverleaf pattern. The riders must not knock over the barrels and must stick to the design. The event requires fast horses that can move easily around the barrels to win the race.
Going for a Ride
Riding is a popular event at rodeos, including saddle bronc riding, bareback riding and bull riding. All of these events require skill to stay safe and ensure an adrenaline rush for everyone involved and watching them. Many of the participating cowboys work on Western ranches, and some are professional rodeo performers who refine these skills to create the ultimate show. Either way, cowboys and ranch animals are the focus of a rodeo show.
There’s something for everyone who attends the rodeo, with exciting shows, incredible performances, and skillful events. Also, rodeos have plenty of delicious food and tasty beverages to enjoy while you watch the show. So now that you know what to expect, it’s time to get tickets to the next local rodeo and experience it yourself!