Rodeo is a famous national sport, which is mainly popular in the western part of the United States of America and Canada. But rodeo events in countries like Australia, Mexico, Chile, Argentina and Brazil also attract a large audience.
Famous rodeo events
Famous events are Ponoka Stampede in Ponoka, Raymond Stampede in Raymond (both Canada), and Cheyenne Frontier Days, Pendleton Roundup and Prescott Frontier Days (all United States). The last event is the oldest rodeo in the world.
History of rodeo
The roots of this sport go back to the times that a part of the United States was under Spanish rule and the Spanish farmers, which were known as ‘vaqueros’ influenced the local cowboys with their habits, clothing, equipment and they way they worked with their livestock. Common activities of the vaqueros were roping, herding, branding and riding.
Nowadays, rodeos are popular sport events in a fenced indoor- or outdoor arena, which involves livestock, including horses. By becoming more popular, the rodeo sport also has seen a growth in the number of local and state associations. At most professional competitions, people are competing in the following events: tie down roping, team roping, steer wrestling, saddle bronc, bull riding, barrel racing and bareback riding. The rodeo events are segmented in judged events and timed events.
Although cowboys and cowgirls can win good money prizes, saddles, trailers or even cars, the most recognized prize a cowboy or –girl can win is the rodeo belt buckle.
People interested in becoming a rodeo cowboy or –cowgirl, should be healthy and in good shape, because this sport is demanding on your body. There are rodeo schools and rodeo clinics, where you can learn from experienced rodeo champions. Also make sure to get insurance, since the rodeo sport is obviously not without dangers, and become member of an association.
Rodeo is not without controversy. People from animal welfare organizations opposing against the sport say that these events are showing animal cruelty. Same states have banned rodeo events or have very strict regulation with regard to the equipment used. Internationally, the countries of The Netherlands and United Kingdom have banned rodeo.