Rodeo
Overview
Rodeo is a competitive sport which arose out of the working practices of cattle herding in Spain, Mexico, and later the United States, Canada, South America and Australia. It was based on the skills required of the working vaquero
Cowboy
A cowboy is an animal herder who tends cattle on ranches in North America, traditionally on horseback, and often performs a multitude of other ranch-related tasks. The historic American cowboy of the late 19th century arose from the vaquero traditions of northern Mexico and became a figure of...

s and later, cowboy
Cowboy
A cowboy is an animal herder who tends cattle on ranches in North America, traditionally on horseback, and often performs a multitude of other ranch-related tasks. The historic American cowboy of the late 19th century arose from the vaquero traditions of northern Mexico and became a figure of...

s, in what today is the western United States, western Canada, and northern Mexico. Today it is a sporting event that consists of events that involve horse
Horse
The horse is one of two extant subspecies of Equus ferus, or the wild horse. It is a single-hooved mammal belonging to the taxonomic family Equidae. The horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million years from a small multi-toed creature into the large, single-toed animal of today...

s and other livestock
Livestock
Livestock refers to one or more domesticated animals raised in an agricultural setting to produce commodities such as food, fiber and labor. The term "livestock" as used in this article does not include poultry or farmed fish; however the inclusion of these, especially poultry, within the meaning...

, designed to test the skill and speed of the human cowboy
Cowboy
A cowboy is an animal herder who tends cattle on ranches in North America, traditionally on horseback, and often performs a multitude of other ranch-related tasks. The historic American cowboy of the late 19th century arose from the vaquero traditions of northern Mexico and became a figure of...

 and cowgirl athletes who participate.
Encyclopedia
Rodeo is a competitive sport which arose out of the working practices of cattle herding in Spain, Mexico, and later the United States, Canada, South America and Australia. It was based on the skills required of the working vaquero
Cowboy
A cowboy is an animal herder who tends cattle on ranches in North America, traditionally on horseback, and often performs a multitude of other ranch-related tasks. The historic American cowboy of the late 19th century arose from the vaquero traditions of northern Mexico and became a figure of...

s and later, cowboy
Cowboy
A cowboy is an animal herder who tends cattle on ranches in North America, traditionally on horseback, and often performs a multitude of other ranch-related tasks. The historic American cowboy of the late 19th century arose from the vaquero traditions of northern Mexico and became a figure of...

s, in what today is the western United States, western Canada, and northern Mexico. Today it is a sporting event that consists of events that involve horse
Horse
The horse is one of two extant subspecies of Equus ferus, or the wild horse. It is a single-hooved mammal belonging to the taxonomic family Equidae. The horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million years from a small multi-toed creature into the large, single-toed animal of today...

s and other livestock
Livestock
Livestock refers to one or more domesticated animals raised in an agricultural setting to produce commodities such as food, fiber and labor. The term "livestock" as used in this article does not include poultry or farmed fish; however the inclusion of these, especially poultry, within the meaning...

, designed to test the skill and speed of the human cowboy
Cowboy
A cowboy is an animal herder who tends cattle on ranches in North America, traditionally on horseback, and often performs a multitude of other ranch-related tasks. The historic American cowboy of the late 19th century arose from the vaquero traditions of northern Mexico and became a figure of...

 and cowgirl athletes who participate. Professional rodeos generally comprise the following events: Tie-down roping, Team Roping
Team roping
Team roping also known as heading and heeling is a rodeo event that features a steer and two mounted riders. The first roper is referred to as the "header," the person who ropes the front of the steer, usually around the horns, but it is also legal for the rope to go around the neck, or go around...

, Steer wrestling
Steer wrestling
Steer wrestling, also known as bulldogging, is a rodeo event in which a horse-mounted rider chases a steer, drops from the horse to the steer, then wrestles the steer to the ground by twisting its horns. Like all rodeo events, there are concerns from the animal rights community that the competition...

, Saddle bronc riding, Bareback Bronc-Riding, Bull riding
Bull riding
Bull riding refers to rodeo sports that involve a rider getting on a large bull and attempting to stay mounted while the animal attempts to buck off the rider....

 and Barrel racing
Barrel racing
Barrel racing is a rodeo event in which a horse and rider attempt to complete a clover-leaf pattern around preset barrels in the fastest time. Though both boys and girls compete at the youth level and men compete in some amateur venues, in collegiate and professional ranks, it is primarily a rodeo...

. The events are divided into two basic categories: the rough stock events and the timed events. Depending on sanctioning organization and region, other events such as breakaway roping, goat tying, or pole bending
Pole bending
Pole bending is timed event that features a horse and one mounted rider, running a weaving or serpentine path around six poles arranged in a line...

 may also be a part of some rodeos.

Rodeo, particularly popular today within the Canadian province of Alberta
Alberta
Alberta is a province of Canada. It had an estimated population of 3.7 million in 2010 making it the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces...

 and throughout the western United States, is the official state sport of Wyoming
Wyoming
Wyoming is a state in the mountain region of the Western United States. The western two thirds of the state is covered mostly with the mountain ranges and rangelands in the foothills of the Eastern Rocky Mountains, while the eastern third of the state is high elevation prairie known as the High...

, South Dakota
South Dakota
South Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States. It is named after the Lakota and Dakota Sioux American Indian tribes. Once a part of Dakota Territory, South Dakota became a state on November 2, 1889. The state has an area of and an estimated population of just over...

, and Texas. The iconic silhouette image of a "Bucking Horse and Rider" is a federal and state-registered trademark
Trademark
A trademark, trade mark, or trade-mark is a distinctive sign or indicator used by an individual, business organization, or other legal entity to identify that the products or services to consumers with which the trademark appears originate from a unique source, and to distinguish its products or...

 of the State of Wyoming. The Legislative Assembly of Alberta
Legislative Assembly of Alberta
The Legislative Assembly of Alberta is one of two components of the Legislature of Alberta, the other being the Queen, represented by the Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta. The Alberta legislature meets in the Alberta Legislature Building in the provincial capital, Edmonton...

 has considered making rodeo the official sport of that province; however, enabling legislation has yet to be passed.

In North America, professional rodeos are governed and sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association
Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association
The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association is an organization whose members compete in rodeos throughout North America, primarily in the United States. The PRCA sanctions rodeo venues and events through the PRCA Circuit System. Its championship event is the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo...

 (PRCA) and Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA), while other associations govern children's, high school, collegiate, and senior rodeos. Associations also exist for Native Americans and other minority groups. The traditional season for competitive rodeo runs from spring through fall, while the modern professional rodeo circuit runs longer, and concludes with the PRCA National Finals Rodeo
National Finals Rodeo
The National Finals Rodeo, organized by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, is the premier championship rodeo event in the United States. Wrangler Jeans is the title sponsor for the 10-day event, commonly just called the National Finals or NFR, which is also sometimes referred to as the...

 (NFR) in Las Vegas
Las Vegas metropolitan area
The Las Vegas Valley is the heart of the Las Vegas-Paradise, NV MSA also known as the Las Vegas–Paradise–Henderson MSA which includes all of Clark County, Nevada, and is a metropolitan area in the southern part of the U.S. state of Nevada. The Valley is defined by the Las Vegas Valley landform, a ...

, Nevada
Nevada
Nevada is a state in the western, mountain west, and southwestern regions of the United States. With an area of and a population of about 2.7 million, it is the 7th-largest and 35th-most populous state. Over two-thirds of Nevada's people live in the Las Vegas metropolitan area, which contains its...

, now held in December.

Rodeo has provoked opposition from animal rights
Animal rights
Animal rights, also known as animal liberation, is the idea that the most basic interests of non-human animals should be afforded the same consideration as the similar interests of human beings...

 and animal welfare
Animal welfare
Animal welfare is the physical and psychological well-being of animals.The term animal welfare can also mean human concern for animal welfare or a position in a debate on animal ethics and animal rights...

 advocates, who argue that various competitions constitute animal cruelty. The American rodeo industry has made progress in improving the welfare of rodeo animals, with specific requirements for veterinary care and other regulations that protect rodeo animals. However rodeo is opposed by a number of animal welfare organizations in the United States and Canada. Some local and state governments in North America have banned or restricted rodeos, certain rodeo events, or types of equipment. Internationally, rodeo is banned in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, with other European nations placing restrictions on certain practices.

Etymology

The American English word "rodeo" is taken directly from Spanish rodeo (roˈðe.o). The most common English translation is "round up."

The Spanish word is derived from the verb rodear, meaning "to surround" or "go around," used to refer to "a pen for cattle at a fair or market," derived from the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 rota or rotare, meaning to rotate or go around.

In Spanish America, the rodeo was the vaquero
Cowboy
A cowboy is an animal herder who tends cattle on ranches in North America, traditionally on horseback, and often performs a multitude of other ranch-related tasks. The historic American cowboy of the late 19th century arose from the vaquero traditions of northern Mexico and became a figure of...

s' process of gathering up cattle for various purposes, such as moving them to new pastures, separating the cattle owned by different ranchers, or gathering in preparation for slaughter (matanza). The term was also used to refer to exhibitions of skills used in the working rodeo. It was this latter usage which was adopted into the cowboy tradition of the United States and Canada.

The term rodeo was first used in English in approximately 1834 to refer to a cattle round-up. Today the word is used primarily to refer to a public exhibition of cowboy skills, usually in the form of a competitive event.

History of rodeo

Many rodeo events were based on the tasks required by cattle ranching. The working cowboy
Cowboy
A cowboy is an animal herder who tends cattle on ranches in North America, traditionally on horseback, and often performs a multitude of other ranch-related tasks. The historic American cowboy of the late 19th century arose from the vaquero traditions of northern Mexico and became a figure of...

 developed skills to fit the needs of the terrain and climate of the American west, and there were many regional variations. The skills required to manage cattle and horses date back to the Spanish traditions of the vaquero
Cowboy
A cowboy is an animal herder who tends cattle on ranches in North America, traditionally on horseback, and often performs a multitude of other ranch-related tasks. The historic American cowboy of the late 19th century arose from the vaquero traditions of northern Mexico and became a figure of...

.


Early rodeo-like affairs of the 1820s and 1830s were informal events in the western United States and northern Mexico with cowboys and vaquero
Cowboy
A cowboy is an animal herder who tends cattle on ranches in North America, traditionally on horseback, and often performs a multitude of other ranch-related tasks. The historic American cowboy of the late 19th century arose from the vaquero traditions of northern Mexico and became a figure of...

s
testing their work skills against one another. Following the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, rodeo competitions emerged, with the first held in Cheyenne, Wyoming
Cheyenne, Wyoming
Cheyenne is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Wyoming and the county seat of Laramie County. It is the principal city of the Cheyenne, Wyoming, Metropolitan Statistical Area which encompasses all of Laramie County. The population is 59,466 at the 2010 census. Cheyenne is the...

 in 1872. Prescott, Arizona
Prescott, Arizona
Prescott is a city in Yavapai County, Arizona, USA. It was designated "Arizona's Christmas City" by Arizona Governor Rose Mofford in the late 1980s....

 claimed the distinction of holding the first professional rodeo, as it charged admission and awarded trophies in 1888. Between 1890 and 1910, rodeos became public entertainment, sometimes combined Wild West Shows featuring individuals such as Buffalo Bill Cody, Annie Oakley
Annie Oakley
Annie Oakley , born Phoebe Ann Mosey, was an American sharpshooter and exhibition shooter. Oakley's amazing talent and timely rise to fame led to a starring role in Buffalo Bill's Wild West show, which propelled her to become the first American female superstar.Oakley's most famous trick is perhaps...

, and other charismatic stars. By 1910, several major rodeos were established in western North America, including the Calgary Stampede
Calgary Stampede
The Calgary Stampede is an annual rodeo, exhibition and festival held every July in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The ten-day event, which bills itself as "The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth", attracts over one million visitors per year and features one of the world's largest rodeos, a parade, midway,...

, the Pendleton Round-Up
Pendleton Round-Up
The Pendleton Round-Up is a rodeo held in Pendleton, Oregon, United States, during the second full week of September each year, since 1910. The rodeo brings roughly 50,000 people every year to the city of Pendleton...

, and the Cheyenne Frontier Days.

Rodeo-type events also became popular for a time in the big cities of the Eastern United States, with large venues such as Madison Square Garden
Madison Square Garden
Madison Square Garden, often abbreviated as MSG and known colloquially as The Garden, is a multi-purpose indoor arena in the New York City borough of Manhattan and located at 8th Avenue, between 31st and 33rd Streets, situated on top of Pennsylvania Station.Opened on February 11, 1968, it is the...

 playing a part in popularizing them for new crowds. There was no standardization of events for a rodeo competition until 1929, when associations began forming.

In the 1970s, rodeo saw unprecedented growth. Contestants referred to as "the new breed" brought rodeo increasing media attention. These contestants were young, often from an urban background, and chose rodeo for its athletic rewards. By 1985, one third of PRCA members had a college education and one half of the competitors had never worked on a cattle ranch. Today, some professional rodeos are staged in large, air-conditioned arenas; offer large purses, and are often telecast. Many other professional rodeos are held outside, under the same conditions of heat, cold, dust or mud as were the original events.

Women

Historically, women have long participated in rodeo. "Prairie Rose" Henderson debuted at the Cheyenne rodeo in 1901, and, by 1920, women were competing in rough stock events, relay races and trick riding. But after Bonnie McCarrol died in the Pendleton Round-Up in 1929 and Marie Gibson died in a horse wreck in 1933, women's competitive participation was curbed. Rodeo women organized into various associations and staged their own rodeos. Today, women's barrel racing is included as a competitive event in professional rodeo, with breakaway roping and goat tying added at collegiate and lower levels. They compete equally with men in team roping, sometimes in mixed-sex teams. Women also compete in traditional roping and rough stock events at women-only rodeos.

Competitive events

Professional rodeos in the United States and Canada usually incorporate both timed events and "rough stock" events, most commonly calf roping
Calf roping
Calf roping, also known as tie-down roping, is a rodeo event that features a calf and a rider mounted on a horse. The goal of this timed event is for the rider to catch the calf by throwing a loop of rope from a lariat around its neck, dismount from the horse, run to the calf, and restrain it by...

, team roping
Team roping
Team roping also known as heading and heeling is a rodeo event that features a steer and two mounted riders. The first roper is referred to as the "header," the person who ropes the front of the steer, usually around the horns, but it is also legal for the rope to go around the neck, or go around...

, steer wrestling
Steer wrestling
Steer wrestling, also known as bulldogging, is a rodeo event in which a horse-mounted rider chases a steer, drops from the horse to the steer, then wrestles the steer to the ground by twisting its horns. Like all rodeo events, there are concerns from the animal rights community that the competition...

, saddle bronc and bareback bronc riding
Saddle bronc and bareback riding
Bronc riding, either saddle bronc or bareback bronc competition, is a rodeo event that involves a rodeo participant riding on a horse , that attempts to throw or buck off the rider...

, bull riding
Bull riding
Bull riding refers to rodeo sports that involve a rider getting on a large bull and attempting to stay mounted while the animal attempts to buck off the rider....

, and barrel racing
Barrel racing
Barrel racing is a rodeo event in which a horse and rider attempt to complete a clover-leaf pattern around preset barrels in the fastest time. Though both boys and girls compete at the youth level and men compete in some amateur venues, in collegiate and professional ranks, it is primarily a rodeo...

. Additional events may be included at the collegiate and high school level, including breakaway roping
Breakaway roping
Breakaway roping is a variation of calf roping where a calf is roped, but not thrown and tied. It is a rodeo event that features a calf and one mounted rider. The calves are moved one at a time through narrow runs leading to a chute with spring-loaded doors. The horse and rider wait in a box next...

 and goat tying
Goat tying
Goat tying is a fast-paced rodeo event that is typically seen in junior/wrangler, high school and college rodeos. The object is to race to the end of the rodeo arena to where a goat is staked out on a 10' rope...

. Some events are based on traditional ranch practices; others are modern developments and have no counterpart in ranch practice.

Rodeos may also offer western-themed entertainment at intermission, including music and novelty acts, such as trick riding.

Timed events

Roping

Roping competitions are based on the tasks of a working cowboy, who often had to capture calves and adult cattle for branding, medical treatment and other purposes. The cowboy must throw a type of rope with a loop, known as a lariat
Lariat
Lariat can refer to:*A rope in the form of a lasso*Lariat chain, a science demonstration*A professional wrestling move, a variation of a clothesline*A genetic structure in Splicing *Double Lariat, a popular song sung by Luka Megurine...

, riata or reata, or lasso, over the head of a calf or onto the horns and around the hind legs of adult cattle, and secure the animal in a fashion dictated by its size and age.
  • Calf Roping
    Calf roping
    Calf roping, also known as tie-down roping, is a rodeo event that features a calf and a rider mounted on a horse. The goal of this timed event is for the rider to catch the calf by throwing a loop of rope from a lariat around its neck, dismount from the horse, run to the calf, and restrain it by...

    , also called Tie-down roping, is based on ranch work in which calves are roped for branding, medical treatment, or other purposes. It is the oldest of rodeo's timed events. The cowboy ropes a running calf around the neck with a lariat, and his horse stops and sets back on the rope while the cowboy dismounts, runs to the calf, throws it to the ground and ties three feet together. (If the calf falls when roped, the cowboy must lose time waiting for the calf to get back to its feet so that the cowboy can do the work. The job of the horse is to hold the calf steady on the rope. A well-trained calf-roping horse will slowly back up while the cowboy ties the calf, to help keep the lariat snug.
  • Breakaway roping
    Breakaway roping
    Breakaway roping is a variation of calf roping where a calf is roped, but not thrown and tied. It is a rodeo event that features a calf and one mounted rider. The calves are moved one at a time through narrow runs leading to a chute with spring-loaded doors. The horse and rider wait in a box next...

     - a form of calf roping where a very short lariat is used, tied lightly to the saddle horn with string and a flag. When the calf is roped about the neck, the horse stops, the flagged rope breaks free of the saddle, and the calf runs on without being thrown or tied. In most of the United States, this event is primarily for women of all ages and boys under 12. In some nations and states where traditional "tie-down" calf roping is not allowed, riders of both genders compete.
  • Team roping
    Team roping
    Team roping also known as heading and heeling is a rodeo event that features a steer and two mounted riders. The first roper is referred to as the "header," the person who ropes the front of the steer, usually around the horns, but it is also legal for the rope to go around the neck, or go around...

    , also called "heading and heeling," is the only rodeo event where men and women riders compete together. Two people capture and restrain a full-grown steer. One horse and rider, the "header," lassos a running steer's horns, while the other horse and rider, the "heeler," lassos the steer's two hind legs. Once the animal is captured, the riders face each other and lightly pull the steer between them, so that it loses its balance and lies down. This technique originated from methods of capture and restraint for treatment used on a ranch.

Other timed events

  • Barrel racing
    Barrel racing
    Barrel racing is a rodeo event in which a horse and rider attempt to complete a clover-leaf pattern around preset barrels in the fastest time. Though both boys and girls compete at the youth level and men compete in some amateur venues, in collegiate and professional ranks, it is primarily a rodeo...

     - is a timed speed and agility event. In barrel racing, horse and rider gallop around a cloverleaf pattern of barrels, making agile turns without knocking the barrels over. In professional, collegiate and high school rodeo, barrel racing is an exclusively women's sport, though men and boys occasionally compete at local O-Mok-See
    Gymkhana (equestrian)
    Gymkhana is a term used in the United Kingdom, east coast of the United States, and other English-speaking nations to describe an equestrian event consisting of speed pattern racing and timed games for riders on horses...

     competition.

  • Steer wrestling
    Steer wrestling
    Steer wrestling, also known as bulldogging, is a rodeo event in which a horse-mounted rider chases a steer, drops from the horse to the steer, then wrestles the steer to the ground by twisting its horns. Like all rodeo events, there are concerns from the animal rights community that the competition...

     - Also known as "Bulldogging," is a rodeo event where the rider jumps off his horse onto a Corriente
    Corriente cattle
    Corriente cattle are a breed of cattle descended from Spanish animals brought to the Americas in the late 15th century. They are primarily used today as sport cattle for rodeo events such as team roping and bulldogging...

     steer and 'wrestles' it to the ground by grabbing it by the horns. This is probably the single most physically dangerous event in rodeo for the cowboy, who runs a high risk of jumping off a running horse head first and missing the steer, or of having the thrown steer land on top of him, sometimes horns first.
  • Goat tying
    Goat tying
    Goat tying is a fast-paced rodeo event that is typically seen in junior/wrangler, high school and college rodeos. The object is to race to the end of the rodeo arena to where a goat is staked out on a 10' rope...

     is usually an event for women or pre-teen girls and boys; a goat is staked out while a mounted rider runs to the goat, dismounts, grabs the goat, throws it to the ground and ties it in the same manner as a calf. The horse must not come into contact with the goat or its tether. This event was designed to teach smaller or younger riders the basics of calf roping without requiring the more complex skill of roping the animal. This event is not part of professional rodeo competition.

"Rough stock" competition

In spite of popular myth, most modern "broncs" are not in fact wild horses, but are more commonly spoiled riding horses or horses bred specifically as bucking stock. Rough stock events also use at least two well-trained riding horses ridden by "pick up men" (or women), tasked with assisting fallen riders and helping successful riders get safely off the bucking animal.
  • Bronc riding
    Saddle bronc and bareback riding
    Bronc riding, either saddle bronc or bareback bronc competition, is a rodeo event that involves a rodeo participant riding on a horse , that attempts to throw or buck off the rider...

     - there are two divisions in rodeo, bareback bronc riding, where the rider is only allowed to hang onto a bucking horse with a type of surcingle
    Surcingle
    A surcingle is a strap made of leather or leather-like synthetic materials such as nylon or neoprene, sometimes with elastic, that fastens around a horse's girth area. A surcingle may be used for ground training, some types of in-hand exhibition, and over a saddle or horse pack to stabilize the load...

     called a "rigging"; and saddle bronc riding, where the rider uses a specialized western saddle without a horn (for safety) and hangs onto a heavy lead rope, called a bronc rein, which is attached to a halter on the horse.
  • Bull riding
    Bull riding
    Bull riding refers to rodeo sports that involve a rider getting on a large bull and attempting to stay mounted while the animal attempts to buck off the rider....

     - an event where the cowboys ride full-grown bulls instead of horses. Although skills and equipment similar to those needed for bareback bronc riding are required, the event differs considerably from horse riding competition due to the danger involved. Because bulls are unpredictable and may attack a fallen rider, rodeo clown
    Rodeo clown
    A rodeo clown, also known as a bullfighter or rodeo protection athlete, is a rodeo performer who works in bull riding competitions. The primary job of the rodeo clown is to protect a fallen rider from the bull, whether the rider has been bucked off or has jumped off of the animal...

    s, now known as "bullfighters", work during bull-riding competition to distract the bulls and help prevent injury to competitors.

Less common events

Several other events may be scheduled on a rodeo program depending upon the rodeo's governing association.
  • Steer tripping - Not an official PRCA event, and banned in several states, but quietly recognized in some areas. It is rarely seen in the United States today because of the tremendous risk of injury to all involved, as well as animal cruelty concerns. A single roper ropes the steer around the horns, throws the rope around the steer's back hip, dallies, and rides in a ninety-degree angle to the roped steer (opposite side from the forementioned hip). This action brings the steer's head around toward the legs in such a manner as to redirect the steer's head towards its back legs. This causes the steer to "trip". Steers are too big to tie in the manner used for calves. Absent a "heeler," it is very difficult for one person to restrain a grown steer once down. However, the steer's "trip" causes it to be temporarily incapacitated allowing its legs to be tied in a manner akin to calf roping. The event has roots in ranch practices north of the Rio Grande, but is no longer seen at the majority of American rodeos. However, it is practiced at some rodeos in Mexico, and may also be referred to as "steer tripping."
  • Steer daubing—Usually seen at lower levels of competition, an event to help young competitors learn skills later needed for steer wrestling. A rider carrying a long stick with a paint-filled dauber at the end attempts to run up alongside a steer and place a mark of paint inside a circle that has been drawn on the side of the animal.
  • Pole bending
    Pole bending
    Pole bending is timed event that features a horse and one mounted rider, running a weaving or serpentine path around six poles arranged in a line...

    , is a speed and agility competition sometimes seen at local and high school rodeos. It is more commonly viewed as a gymkhana
    Gymkhana (equestrian)
    Gymkhana is a term used in the United Kingdom, east coast of the United States, and other English-speaking nations to describe an equestrian event consisting of speed pattern racing and timed games for riders on horses...

     or O-Mok-See
    Gymkhana (equestrian)
    Gymkhana is a term used in the United Kingdom, east coast of the United States, and other English-speaking nations to describe an equestrian event consisting of speed pattern racing and timed games for riders on horses...

     competition. In pole bending, the horse and rider run the length of a line of six upright poles, turn sharply and weave through the poles, turn again and weave back, then return to the start.

Other activities

Outside of competitive events, other activities are often associated with rodeos, particularly at local levels. A typical rodeo begins with a "Grand Entry", in which mounted riders, many carrying flags, including the American flag, state flags, banners representing sponsors, and others enter the arena at a gallop, circle once, come to the center of the arena and stop while the remaining participants enter. The grand entry is used to introduce some of the competitors, officials, and sponsors. It is capped by the presentation of the American flag, usually with a rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner," and, depending on region, other ceremonies. If a rodeo queen
Rodeo queen
A rodeo queen is a female representative and "face" of the sport of rodeo. She represents her rodeo, association, or region for a standard time of usually 12 months and is usually required to wear a cowboy hat, crown, and banner with her title on it. Being a rodeo queen requires skills in western...

 is crowned, the contestants or winner and runners-up may also be presented.

Variety acts, which may include musicians, trick riders or other entertainment may occur halfway through the rodeo at intermission. Some rodeos may also include novelty events, such as steer riding for preteens or "mutton busting
Mutton busting
Mutton busting is an event held at rodeos similar to bull riding or bronc riding, in which children ride or race sheep.-Description:In the event, a sheep is held still, either in a small chute or by an adult handler while a child is placed on top in a riding position...

" for small children. In some places, various types of novelty races or events such as wild cow milking are offered for adults. Such contests often are unregulated, with a higher risk of injury to human participants and poor treatment of animals than in traditionally-sanctioned events, particularly if consumption of alcoholic beverages by participants is permitted.

Governing organizations in the United States

Formal organizations and detailed rules came late to rodeo. Until the mid-1930s, every rodeo was independent and selected its own events from among nearly one hundred different contests. Until World War I, there was little difference between rodeo and charreada
Charreada
The charreada or charrería is a competitive event similar to rodeo and was developed from animal husbandry practices used on the haciendas of Old Mexico. The sport has been described as "living history," or as an art form drawn the demands of working life...

. Athletes from the US, Mexico and Canada competed freely in all three countries. Subsequently, charreada was formalized as an amateur team sport and the international competitions ceased. It remains popular in Mexico and Hispanic communities of the U.S. today.

Numerous organizations govern rodeo in the United States, each with slightly different rules and different events. The oldest and largest sanctioning body of professional rodeo is the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association
Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association
The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association is an organization whose members compete in rodeos throughout North America, primarily in the United States. The PRCA sanctions rodeo venues and events through the PRCA Circuit System. Its championship event is the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo...

 (PRCA) which governs about a third of all rodeos staged in the US annually. It was originally named the Cowboys Turtle Association, later became the Rodeo Cowboys Association, and finally the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association in 1975. The PRCA crowns the World Champions at the National Finals Rodeo
National Finals Rodeo
The National Finals Rodeo, organized by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, is the premier championship rodeo event in the United States. Wrangler Jeans is the title sponsor for the 10-day event, commonly just called the National Finals or NFR, which is also sometimes referred to as the...

 (NFR), in Las Vegas on the UNLV campus, featuring the top fifteen money-winners in seven events.

The Professional Bull Riders (PBR) is a more recent organization dedicated solely to bull riding. Rodeo gender bias was a problem for cowgirls and in response, women formed the Girls Rodeo Association in 1948 (now the Women's Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA)) and held their own rodeos. The Women's Professional Rodeo Association
Women's Professional Rodeo Association
The Women's Professional Rodeo Association is one of the largest rodeo sanctioning bodies in the world and is open exclusively to women eighteen years of age and older...

 (WPRA) is open exclusively to women. Women’s barrel racing is governed by the WPRA, which holds finals for barrel racing along with the PRCA with the cowboys at the NFR. There are associations governing children's, teen, and college level rodeos as well as associations governing rodeo for gays, seniors, Native Americans and others.

There are also high-school rodeos, sponsored by the National High School Rodeo Association
National High School Rodeo Association
The National High School Rodeo Association , based in Denver, Colorado, was incorporated in 1961 to promote interest in rodeo sports among high school students, to provide training, and to establish venues for their performances...

 (NHSRA). Many colleges, particularly land grant colleges in the west, have rodeo teams. The National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association
National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association
The National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association, based in Walla Walla, WA, was established in 1949. NIRA sanctions more than 100 college rodeos every year in the United States, and represents over 3,500 student athletes attending more than 135 member colleges and universities...

 (NIRA) is responsible for the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) held each June in Casper, WY. Other rodeo governing bodies in the United States include American Junior Rodeo Association (AJRA) for contestants under twenty years of age; National Little Britches Rodeo Association (NLBRA), for youths ages eight to eighteen; Senior Pro Rodeo (SPR), for people forty years old or over; and the International Gay Rodeo Association
International Gay Rodeo Association
The International Gay Rodeo Association , founded in 1985, is the sanctioning body for gay rodeos held throughout the United States and Canada. They are the largest group coordinating rodeo events specifically welcoming lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender as well as heterosexual participants and...

. Each organization has its own regulations and its own method of determining champions. Athletes must participate only in rodeos sanctioned by their own governing body or one that has a mutual agreement with theirs. Rodeo committees must pay sanctioning fees to the appropriate governing bodies, and employ the needed stock contractor
Stock contractor
A Stock contractor is an individual or business that provides animals for rodeo competition. Stock contractors supply "rough stock" - Saddle bronc and bareback bronc horses and bull riding bulls, plus steers for steer wrestling and team roping, plus calves for calf roping events...

s, judges, announcers, bull fighters, and barrel men from their approved lists. Other nations have similar sanctioning organizations.

Until recently, the most important was PRCA, which crowns the World Champions at the National Finals Rodeo
National Finals Rodeo
The National Finals Rodeo, organized by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, is the premier championship rodeo event in the United States. Wrangler Jeans is the title sponsor for the 10-day event, commonly just called the National Finals or NFR, which is also sometimes referred to as the...

 (NFR), held since 1985 at Las Vegas, Nevada, featuring the top fifteen money-winners in seven events. The athletes who have won the most money, including NFR earnings, in each event are the World’s Champions. However, since 1992, Professional Bull Riders, Inc.
Professional Bull Riders, Inc.
Professional Bull Riders, Inc. is an international professional bull riding organization based in Pueblo, Colorado, USA. PBR events are televised on Versus, Fox, CBS and NBC...

 (PBR) has drawn many top bull riders, and holds its own multi- million dollar finals in Las Vegas prior to the NFR. Women’s barrel racing is governed by the WPRA, and holds its finals along with the PRCA with the cowboys at the NFR.

Contemporary rodeo is a lucrative business. More than 7,500 cowboys compete for over thirty million dollars at 650 rodeos annually. Women’s barrel racing, sanctioned by the WRPA, has taken place at most of these rodeos. Over 2,000 barrel racers compete for nearly four million dollars annually. Professional cowgirls also compete in bronc and bull riding, team roping and calf roping under the auspices of the PWRA, a WPRA subsidiary. However, numbers are small, about 120 members, and these competitors go largely unnoticed, with only twenty rodeos and seventy individual contests available annually. The total purse at the PWRA National Finals is $50,000. Meanwhile, the PBR has 700 members from three continents and ten million dollars in prize money.

Canada

The first rodeo in Canada was held in 1902 in Raymond, Alberta
Raymond, Alberta
Raymond is a town in Warner County, Alberta, Canada. It is located in southern Alberta south of Lethbridge on Highway 52. Raymond is known for its annual rodeo and its large Mormon population...

 when Raymond Knight funded and promoted a rodeo contest for bronc riders and steer ropers called the Raymond Stampede
Raymond Stampede
The Raymond Stampede is an annual rodeo that is held in the town of Raymond, Alberta, Canada every 1 July. It is notable for being Alberta's oldest and Canada's second oldest rodeo event, having been instituted a full decade before the world-famous Calgary Stampede.The Stampede was first held in...

. Knight also coined the rodeo term "stampede" and built rodeo's first known shotgun style bucking chute. In 1903, Knight built Canada's first rodeo arena and grandstand and became the first rodeo producer and rodeo stock contractor.

In 1912, Guy Weadick
Guy Weadick
Guy Weadick was an American performer and promoter. Today, he is best known as the founder of the Calgary Stampede in Alberta, Canada.- Early years :Weadick was born in 1885, in Rochester, New York....

 and several investors put up $100,000 to create what today is the Calgary Stampede
Calgary Stampede
The Calgary Stampede is an annual rodeo, exhibition and festival held every July in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The ten-day event, which bills itself as "The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth", attracts over one million visitors per year and features one of the world's largest rodeos, a parade, midway,...

. The Stampede also incorporated mythical and historical elements, including Native Indians
First Nations
First Nations is a term that collectively refers to various Aboriginal peoples in Canada who are neither Inuit nor Métis. There are currently over 630 recognised First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada, roughly half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. The...

 in full regalia, chuckwagon races, the Mounted Police, and marching bands. From its beginning, the event has been held the second week in July, and since 1938, attendees were urged to dress for the occasion in western hats to add to the event's flavour.

By 2003, it was estimated that 65 professional rodeos involving 700 members of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) took place in Western Canada, along with professionals from the United States. Many Canadian contestants were part-timers who did not earn a significant living from rodeo.

Canadians made several significant contributions to the sport of rodeo. In 1916, at the Bascom Ranch in Welling, Alberta
Welling, Alberta
Welling is a hamlet in southern Alberta, Canada within Cardston County. It is located north of the junction of Highway 5 and Highway 52, approximately south of the City of Lethbridge.- History :...

, John W. Bascom and his sons Raymond, Mel, and Earl designed and built rodeo's first side-delivery bucking chute
Cattle race
A cattle race also called a run or alley is a narrow corridor built for cattle, sheep, pigs and other animals to travel through when being moved from one location to another that is nearby...

 for the ranch rodeos they were producing. In 1919, Earl and John made rodeo's first reverse-opening side-delivery bucking chute at the Bascom Ranch in Lethbridge, Alberta. This Bascom-style bucking chute is now rodeo's standard design. Earl Bascom also continued his innovative contributions to the sport of rodeo by designing and making rodeo's first hornless bronc saddle in 1922, rodeo's first one-hand bareback rigging in 1924, and the first high-cut rodeo chaps
Chaps
Chaps are sturdy coverings for the legs consisting of leggings and a belt. They are buckled on over trousers with the chaps' integrated belt, but unlike trousers they have no seat and are not joined at the crotch. They are designed to provide protection for the legs and are usually made of leather...

 in 1928. Earl and his brother Weldon also produced rodeo's first night rodeo held outdoors under electric lights in 1935.

Minority participation in North America

Mexican Americans have had a long history with both rodeo and charreada
Charreada
The charreada or charrería is a competitive event similar to rodeo and was developed from animal husbandry practices used on the haciendas of Old Mexico. The sport has been described as "living history," or as an art form drawn the demands of working life...

. In spite of long association with southwestern culture, there has been significant assimilation and cross-acculturation — Mexican Americans are so integrated into the southwestern cowboy culture that they are not visibly distinct.

Native American and Hispanic cowboys compete in modern rodeos in small numbers. African Americans constitute a smaller minority of rodeo contestants, though many early rodeo champions, such as Nat Love
Nat Love
Nat Love, also known as Deadwood Dick , pronounced as Nate Love, was an African American cowboy following the American Civil War. In 1907, Love wrote his autobiography, "Life and Adventures of Nat Love." In his autobiography, Nat Love explains that his father was a slave foreman in the fields, and...

, were African American. Bill Pickett
Bill Pickett
Willie M. "Bill" Pickett was a cowboy and rodeo performer.Pickett was born in the Jenks-Branch community of Travis County, Texas. He was the second of 13 children born to Thomas Jefferson Pickett, a former slave, and Mary "Janie" Gilbert. Pickett had 4 brothers and 8 sisters...

 and bronc rider Bill Stahl were both elected to the Cowboy Hall of Fame. During the 1940s and 1950s, African Americans created the Southwestern Colored Cowboys Association. Although the PRCA never formally excluded people of color, pre-1960s racism effectively kept many minority participants, particularly African Americans, out of white competitions. In the 1960s, bull rider Myrtis Dightman vied for national honors and qualified for the National Finals Rodeo. In the 1990s, the Black World Championship Rodeo was held in New York City and other locations across the United States.

In 1976, the first gay rodeo was held in Reno, Nevada
Reno, Nevada
Reno is the county seat of Washoe County, Nevada, United States. The city has a population of about 220,500 and is the most populous Nevada city outside of the Las Vegas metropolitan area...

 as a charity fundraiser. Several regional gay rodeo organizations were formed in the following years, and, in 1985, the existing organizations formed the International Gay Rodeo Association
International Gay Rodeo Association
The International Gay Rodeo Association , founded in 1985, is the sanctioning body for gay rodeos held throughout the United States and Canada. They are the largest group coordinating rodeo events specifically welcoming lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender as well as heterosexual participants and...

 as a national sanctioning body. The melding of homosexuality and straight cowboy culture in gay rodeo simultaneously embraces archetypal Cowboy Code traits and contemporary gay identity. Openly gay competitors stage their own rodeos because they are not welcomed in the straight circuit. "We can ride with the best of them," one person stated, "But they don't want us around."

Mexico

The charreada is the national sport of Mexico. It is a display and contest of roping and riding with origins tracing to the cattle ranching life and culture of colonial Mexico. Over time, it became an event that included games, parades, foods, and contests involving humans, cattle, and horses. Following the Mexican Revolution of 1910, many rural Mexicans were displaced and took up residence in cities, where urban-based charro
Charro
Charro is a term referring to a traditional horseman from Mexico, originating in the central-western regions primarily in the state of Jalisco including: Zacatecas, Durango, Guanajuato, Morelos, Puebla...

s and others formed associations to establish and refine the charreada.

During the "Chicano Movement" of the 1970s, Mexican Americans revitalized their heritage by establishing the event in the United States. The event historically enjoys greater prestige in Mexico, however, and due to animal cruelty concerns, some charreada events have been banned in the US.

Unlike rodeos, most charreadas do not award money to the winners as charreada is considered an amateur sport, but trophies may be distributed. Until recently, the charreada was confined to men but a women's precision equestrian event called the escaramuza is now the tenth and final event in a charreada. Unlike American rodeo, events are not timed, but judged and scored based on finesse and grace.

Brazil

Brazilian "rodeios" can be traced to the town of Barretos
Barretos
Barretos is a municipality in the northern part of the state of São Paulo, Brazil. The city has approximately 112,101 inhabitants and an area of 1565.6 km². Barretos belongs to the Mesoregion of Ribeirão Preto.-History:...

 where the primary economic activities involved livestock and the transporting the livestock to other locations, where one of the ways the cowboys found to get some entertainment was riding the animals. In 1956 the first ever Festa do Peão de Boiadeiro
Festa do Peão de Boiadeiro
The Festa do Peão de Boiadeiro is a rodeo featuring bulls and horses. In Brazil hundreds such festivals are held throughout the year....

 was created and as the years went by this rodeo became the biggest in Brazil and in Latin America. Barretos is the most famous rodeo in Brazil; however, rodeos are very common in inner state towns in Brazil, especially in the state of São Paulo
São Paulo (state)
São Paulo is a state in Brazil. It is the major industrial and economic powerhouse of the Brazilian economy. Named after Saint Paul, São Paulo has the largest population, industrial complex, and economic production in the country. It is the richest state in Brazil...

.

Argentina

In the twentieth century, rodeo's popularity increased in Argentina. Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the second-largest metropolitan area in South America, after São Paulo. It is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of the South American continent...

, Rosario, and other major cities hosted rodeos. In 1909, the Sociedad Sportiva Argentina (Argentina Sports Society) announced a rodeo competition in which the winners would eventually compete in the United States against rodeo performers from other countries.

Chile

Second to soccer, rodeo is the most popular sport in Chile, and became the national sport of Chile on January 10, 1962 by decree Nº269 of the National Council of Sports and the Comité Olímpico de Chile.

Chilean rodeo traces to the 16th century, beginning with the gathering together lost or stray cattle in the Plaza de Armas de Santiago for branding and selection. Rodeo began to see regulation in the 17th century and talented riders received honors and awards.

In Chilean rodeo, a team of two mounted men (called a collera) attempt to pin a calf against large cushions lining the arena (medialuna
Medialuna
A medialuna is crescent-shaped corral used for rodeos, the official sport in Chile. They are generally 64–66 meters in diameter...

). Points are earned for proper technique. Chilean Horse
Chilean Horse
The Chilean Horse is a breed virtually unknown outside South America despite being the oldest registered native American breed, the oldest registered breed of Iberian origin, the oldest registered horse breed in South America and the oldest registered stock horse breed in the Western...

s are employed to the exclusion of others and riders wear traditional huaso
Huaso
A huaso is a Chilean countryman and skilled horseman, similar to the Argentinian, Rio Grande do Sul's or Uruguayan gaucho, the American cowboy, the Australian stockman, and Mexican vaquero and charro. A female huaso is called a huasa, although the term china is far more commonly used for his wife...

garb as a requirement. The sport has become so popular that in 2004, more spectators attended rodeo events than professional football matches.

Chilean rodeo has experienced financial woes, lack of political support and poor promotion. Unlike other Chilean sports, rodeo does not receive any of the revenue from Chiledeportes because only sports that represent Chile overseas receive funds. The Chilean Rodeo Federation has criticized the lack of governmental funding and has pointed out that rodeo reaches a part of the population that does not have access to other Chilean sports.

Australia

Rodeos have long been a popular competitor and spectator sport in Australia, but were not run on an organized basis until the 1880s. The National Agricultural Society of Victoria ran one of the earliest recorded events in 1888, when a roughriding competition was held at their annual show. Travelling tent rodeo shows increased the popularity of roughriding throughout much of Australia. However, by 1930, the depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

 left only a few of these travelling shows on the road.

Bushmen's Carnivals, the Australian equivalent of American rodeos, originated in Northern New South Wales in the 1920s and were well established by the 1930s. Australian rodeo continued to grow following WWII, and by September 1978 riders from the USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia competed in the World Rodeo Titles there for prize money totaling $60,000. In 1982, an Australian Bushmen's Carnival Association team competed in the North American Rodeo Commission's championships in Denver, Colorado
Denver, Colorado
The City and County of Denver is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Colorado. Denver is a consolidated city-county, located in the South Platte River Valley on the western edge of the High Plains just east of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains...

, finishing sixth overall.

In August 1944 the Australian Bushmen's Carnival Association (ABCA) was formed by the Royal Agricultural Society of New South Wales, as a result of the increase in the number of bushmen's carnivals. The purpose of this formation was to standardize regulations and rules, but insufficient support was given and the association was terminated in 1947. The Australian Professional Rodeo Association
Australian Professional Rodeo Association
The Australian Professional Rodeo Association is a national governing body for the sport of Australian rodeo, founded in 1944 APRA has been setting the standards for rodeo in Australia for over 60 years....

 (APRA) was also formed in 1944 and is the national governing body for professional rodeo competition. Also formed in 1944 was the Australian Rough-Riders Association (ARRA) in South Australia. On 28 March 1946 the Northern (N.S.W.) Bushmen's Carnival Association was founded at Maitland, New South Wales
Maitland, New South Wales
Maitland is a city in the Lower Hunter Valley of New South Wales, Australia and the seat of Maitland City Council, situated on the Hunter River approximately by road north of Sydney and north-west of Newcastle...

. These two associationsare now the Australian Bushmen’s Campdraft & Rodeo Association (ABCRA). The ABCRA is the largest rodeo and campdraft organization in Australia. In May 1992 the National Rodeo Council of Australia (NRCA) was formed to further the sport of rodeo and has represented ABCRA and several other associations.

Original events included buckjumping (saddle broncs), bullock riding, campdrafting
Campdrafting
Campdrafting is a unique and very popular Australian sport involving a horse and rider working cattle. The riding style is like that of Western riding and the event is somewhat related to the American events such as cutting, working cow horse, team penning, and ranch sorting.In the competition, a...

, bulldogging, wild-cow milking, wild bullock races, wild horse races and releasing the surcingle. Other common sporting events such as flag and bending races (similar to pole bending
Pole bending
Pole bending is timed event that features a horse and one mounted rider, running a weaving or serpentine path around six poles arranged in a line...

) were held for the competitors’ horses.

Later the term "rodeo" became more commonly used, with American saddles used and the events took on American naming patterns. The ABCRA now affiliates the sports of campdrafting
Campdrafting
Campdrafting is a unique and very popular Australian sport involving a horse and rider working cattle. The riding style is like that of Western riding and the event is somewhat related to the American events such as cutting, working cow horse, team penning, and ranch sorting.In the competition, a...

, roughriding (saddle bronc and bareback riding
Saddle bronc and bareback riding
Bronc riding, either saddle bronc or bareback bronc competition, is a rodeo event that involves a rodeo participant riding on a horse , that attempts to throw or buck off the rider...

, steer
Steer riding
Riding steers in contrast to using cattle for oxen has an equally long history, although not as well known. Steers were ridden by American Indians such as Blue Duck, who choose to raid farmsteads on a steer knowing that loose cattle around the ranches would help hide his tracks. He would ride off...

 and bull riding
Bull riding
Bull riding refers to rodeo sports that involve a rider getting on a large bull and attempting to stay mounted while the animal attempts to buck off the rider....

) and timed rodeo events: barrel races
Barrel racing
Barrel racing is a rodeo event in which a horse and rider attempt to complete a clover-leaf pattern around preset barrels in the fastest time. Though both boys and girls compete at the youth level and men compete in some amateur venues, in collegiate and professional ranks, it is primarily a rodeo...

 (ladies and junior), rope and tie
Calf roping
Calf roping, also known as tie-down roping, is a rodeo event that features a calf and a rider mounted on a horse. The goal of this timed event is for the rider to catch the calf by throwing a loop of rope from a lariat around its neck, dismount from the horse, run to the calf, and restrain it by...

, steer undecorating (ladies), steer wrestling
Steer wrestling
Steer wrestling, also known as bulldogging, is a rodeo event in which a horse-mounted rider chases a steer, drops from the horse to the steer, then wrestles the steer to the ground by twisting its horns. Like all rodeo events, there are concerns from the animal rights community that the competition...

, junior calf riding, team roping
Team roping
Team roping also known as heading and heeling is a rodeo event that features a steer and two mounted riders. The first roper is referred to as the "header," the person who ropes the front of the steer, usually around the horns, but it is also legal for the rope to go around the neck, or go around...

 and breakaway roping
Breakaway roping
Breakaway roping is a variation of calf roping where a calf is roped, but not thrown and tied. It is a rodeo event that features a calf and one mounted rider. The calves are moved one at a time through narrow runs leading to a chute with spring-loaded doors. The horse and rider wait in a box next...

 (ladies).

There are strict standards for the selection, care and treatment of rodeo livestock, arenas, plus equipment requirements and specifications.

In 1992 the National Rodeo Queen Quest was founded by the National Rodeo Council of Australia to promote and encourage young women into the sport of Rodeo.

The carnivals and rodeos typically take place during the spring and summer, and are usually arranged to avoid date clashes, so that competitors may take part in as many events as possible. The prize money is obtained from donations and entry fees, with the main prize money being for the open campdraft event.

The biggest rodeos are in Queensland. Some large events are also held in New South Wales, where Sydney has the rodeo during the Royal Agricultural Society
Royal Agricultural Society
The Royal Agricultural Society of England was established in the United Kingdom in 1838 with the motto "Practice with Science". The RASE aim is to promote the scientific development of agriculture. The society received its Royal Charter from Queen Victoria in 1840.From its early days the society...

 show and Walcha
Walcha, New South Wales
Walcha is a parish and town at the south-eastern edge of the Northern Tablelands, New South Wales, Australia.The town serves as the seat of Walcha Shire. Walcha is located 425 kilometres by road from Sydney at the intersection of the Oxley Highway and Thunderbolts Way...

 holds a four day campdrafting and rodeo competition annually. There also is a National Finals Rodeo
National Finals Rodeo (Australia)
National Finals Rodeo is the title of numerous rodeo events held in Australia. The largest and oldest event is run by the Australian Professional Rodeo Association, held each year in January over 4 days at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre in Broadbeach, Queensland...

.

Animal treatment controversies

Charges that rodeos are cruel to the animals involved are not new, and some practices justly warranted scrutiny.
Protests were first raised regarding rodeo animal cruelty
Cruelty to animals
Cruelty to animals, also called animal abuse or animal neglect, is the infliction of suffering or harm upon non-human animals, for purposes other than self-defense. More narrowly, it can be harm for specific gain, such as killing animals for food or for their fur, although opinions differ with...

 in the 1870s, and, beginning in the 1930s, some states enacted laws curtailing rodeo activities and other events involving animals. In the 1950s, the then Rodeo Cowboys Association (RCA, later the PRCA) worked with the American Humane Association (AHA) to establish regulations protecting the welfare of rodeo animals that were acceptable to both organizations. The PRCA realized that public education regarding rodeo and the welfare of animals was needed to keep the sport alive.

Over the years, conditions for animals in rodeo and many other sporting events improved. Today, the PRCA and other rodeo sanctioning organizations have stringent regulations to ensure rodeo animals' welfare
Animal welfare
Animal welfare is the physical and psychological well-being of animals.The term animal welfare can also mean human concern for animal welfare or a position in a debate on animal ethics and animal rights...

. For example, these rules require, among other things, provisions for injured animals, a veterinarian's presence at all rodeos (a similar requirement exists for other equine events), padded flank straps, horn protection for steers, and spur
Spur
A spur is a metal tool designed to be worn in pairs on the heels of riding boots for the purpose of directing a horse to move forward or laterally while riding. It is usually used to refine the riding aids and to back up the natural aids . The spur is used in every equestrian discipline...

s with dulled, free-spinning rowels. Rodeo competitors in general value and provide excellent care to the animals with which they work. Animals must also be protected with fleece-lined flank straps for bucking stock and horn wraps for roping steers.

Laws governing rodeo vary widely. In the American west, some states incorporate the regulations of the PRCA into their statutes as a standard by which to evaluate if animal cruelty has occurred. On the other hand, some events and practices are restricted or banned in other states, including California, Rhode Island, and Ohio.St. Petersburg, Florida is the only locality in the United States with a complete ban on rodeo. Canadian Humane Societies are careful in criticizing Canadian rodeo as the event as become so indigenous to Western Canada that criticism may jeopardize support for the organization's other humane goals. The Calgary Humane Society itself is wary of criticizing the famous Calgary Stampede
Calgary Stampede
The Calgary Stampede is an annual rodeo, exhibition and festival held every July in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The ten-day event, which bills itself as "The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth", attracts over one million visitors per year and features one of the world's largest rodeos, a parade, midway,...

. Internationally, Rodeo itself is banned in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. with other European nations placing restrictions on certain practices.

However, a number of humane
Humane Society
A humane society may be a group that aims to stop human or animal suffering due to cruelty or other reasons, although in many countries, it is now used mostly for societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals...

 and animal rights
Animal rights
Animal rights, also known as animal liberation, is the idea that the most basic interests of non-human animals should be afforded the same consideration as the similar interests of human beings...

 organizations have policy statements that oppose many rodeo practices, and often the events themselves. Some also claim that regulations vary from vague to ineffective, and are frequently violated.

In response to these concerns, a number of cities and states, mostly in the eastern half of the United States, have passed ordinances and laws governing rodeo. Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh is the second-largest city in the US Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the county seat of Allegheny County. Regionally, it anchors the largest urban area of Appalachia and the Ohio River Valley, and nationally, it is the 22nd-largest urban area in the United States...

, for example, specifically prohibits electric prods or shocking devices, flank or bucking straps, wire tie-downs, and sharpened or fixed spurs or rowels. Pittsburgh also requires humane officers be provided access to any and all areas where animals may go—specifically pens, chutes, and injury pens. The state of Rhode Island has banned tie-down roping and certain other practices.Other locales have similar ordinances and laws.

Positions taken by animal welfare organizations

There are three basic areas of concern to various groups. The first set of concerns surround relatively common rodeo practices, such as the use of bucking straps, also known as flank straps, the use of metal or electric cattle prods, and tail-twisting. The second set of concerns surround non-traditional rodeo events that operate outside the rules of sanctioning organizations. These are usually amateur
Amateur
An amateur is generally considered a person attached to a particular pursuit, study, or science, without pay and often without formal training....

 events such as mutton busting
Mutton busting
Mutton busting is an event held at rodeos similar to bull riding or bronc riding, in which children ride or race sheep.-Description:In the event, a sheep is held still, either in a small chute or by an adult handler while a child is placed on top in a riding position...

, calf dressing, wild cow milking, calf riding, chuck wagon races, and other events designed primarily for publicity, half-time entertainment or crowd participation. Finally, some groups consider some or all rodeo events themselves to be cruel.

Groups such as PETA
Peta
Peta can refer to:* peta-, an SI prefix denoting a factor of 1015* Peta, Greece, a town in Greece* Peta, the Pāli word for a Preta, or hungry ghost in Buddhism* Peta Wilson, an Australian actress and model* Peta Todd, English glamour model...

, SHARK, and the Humane Society of the United States
Humane Society of the United States
The Humane Society of the United States , based in Washington, D.C., is the largest animal advocacy organization in the world. In 2009, HSUS reported assets of over US$160 million....

 generally take a position of opposition to all rodeos and rodeo events. A more general position is taken by the ASPCA, only opposing rodeo events that "involve cruel, painful, stressful and potentially harmful treatment of livestock, not only in performance but also in handling, transport and prodding to perform." The group singles out children’s rodeo events such as goat tying, calf riding and sheep riding (“mutton busting
Mutton busting
Mutton busting is an event held at rodeos similar to bull riding or bronc riding, in which children ride or race sheep.-Description:In the event, a sheep is held still, either in a small chute or by an adult handler while a child is placed on top in a riding position...

”), "which do not promote humane care and respect for animals."

The American Humane Association
American Humane Association
The American Humane Association is an organization founded in 1877 dedicated to the welfare of animals and children.The AHA's Film and Television Unit has monitored the welfare of animals during the production of films and television programs since 1940. They are the source of the familiar...

 (AHA) does not appear to oppose rodeos per se, though they have a general position on events and contests involving animals, stating that "when animals are involved in entertainment, they must be treated humanely at all times." The AHA also has strict requirements for the treatment of animals used for rodeo scenes in movies, starting with the rules of the PRCA and adding additional requirements consistent with the association's other policies.

Unique among animal protection groups, the ASPCA specifically notes that practice sessions are often the location of more severe abuses than competitions. However, many state animal cruelty laws provide specific exemptions for "training practices." The American Humane Association is the only organization addressing the legislative issue, advocating the strengthening of animal cruelty laws in general, with no exceptions for "training practices."

Myths and actual modern practice

Some accusations of cruelty are based on misunderstanding. For example, it is a myth that a bucking horse is a wild, terrified animal. The modern bronc is not a truly feral horse
Feral horse
A feral horse is a free-roaming horse of domesticated ancestry. As such, a feral horse is not a wild animal in the sense of an animal without domesticated ancestors. However, some populations of feral horses are managed as wildlife, and these horses often are popularly called "wild" horses...

. A significant number of bucking horses are riding horses that learned to buck off their riders. Many bucking horses today are specifically bred for use in rodeos. A proven bucking horse can be sold for $8000 to $10,000, making "rough stock" a valuable investment worth caring for and keeping in good health for many years. Likewise, bucking bulls are also selectively bred
Selective breeding
Selective breeding is the process of breeding plants and animals for particular genetic traits. Typically, strains that are selectively bred are domesticated, and the breeding is sometimes done by a professional breeder. Bred animals are known as breeds, while bred plants are known as varieties,...

. Most are allowed to grow up in a natural, semi-wild condition on the open range, but also have to be trained in order to be managed from the ground, safely loaded into trailers, vaccinated and wormed, and be loaded in and out of bucking chutes.

Young bucking horses are initially introduced to work with cloth dummies attached to the saddle. Others are already well-trained on the ground. Some champion bucking horses got their start as spoiled riding horses that learned to quickly and effectively unseat riders. Due to the rigors of travel and the short bursts of high intensity work required, most horses in a bucking string are at least 6 or 7 years old before they are used extensively, and are expected to be sound performers for many years. Awards are given to the owners of the best bucking horses, who are respected as equine athletes and perform for many years. Many are retired to pasture at the end of their careers. Many bucking horses understand their job well and reduce or stop their bucking, even while still wearing a flank strap, as soon as they either unseat the rider or hear the buzzer. Likewise, some bulls appear to understand that their "job" is to throw the rider; they learned not to buck when in the chute and buck far less once the rider is thrown.

Industry position

Modern rodeos in the United States are closely regulated and have responded to accusations of animal cruelty by instituting a number of rules to guide how rodeo animals are to be managed. In 1994, a survey of 28 sanctioned rodeos was conducted by on-site independent veterinarians. Reviewing 33,991 animal runs, the injury rate was documented at 16 animals or 0.047 percent, less than five-hundredths of one percent or one in 2000 animals. A study of rodeo animals in Australia found a similar injury rate. Basic injuries occurred at a rate of 0.072 percent, or one in 1405, with injuries requiring veterinary attention at 0.036 percent, or one injury in every 2810 times the animal was used, and transport, yarding and competition were all included in the study. A later PRCA survey of 60,971 animal performances at 198 rodeo performances and 73 sections of "slack" indicated 27 animals were injured, again approximately five-hundredths of 1
percent — 0.0004.

However, accusations of cruelty in the USA persist. The PRCA acknowledges that they only sanction about 30 percent of all rodeos, while another 50 percent are sanctioned by other organizations and 20 percent are completely unsanctioned. The PRCA opposes the general concept of animal rights
Animal rights
Animal rights, also known as animal liberation, is the idea that the most basic interests of non-human animals should be afforded the same consideration as the similar interests of human beings...

, but supports animal welfare
Animal welfare
Animal welfare is the physical and psychological well-being of animals.The term animal welfare can also mean human concern for animal welfare or a position in a debate on animal ethics and animal rights...

—the view that humans have the right to use animals but are responsible for their humane treatment and care. The PRCA takes the position that the organization does this and even goes beyond expectation. Not all rodeos are governed by the PRCA however, though organizations governing collegiate and high school rodeos base their rules on those of the PRCA. Nonetheless, certain amateur and "backyard" rodeos are unregulated, and do not follow PRCA rules.

Advocates for rodeo state that sick, injured, hungry, or severely abused animals cannot perform well in a given event. Rough stock must be healthy and well fed to give the cowboy a powerful and challenging ride sufficient to obtain a high score. The bucking strap has to be an incentive to an animal that already wants to buck off a rider, not a prod, or the animal will either flee the pain, not buck, quickly sour and refuse to work, regardless of any pain that might be inflicted. Steers and roping calves will not break from the chute fast enough for ropers to achieve a fast time if they are lame or weak, and they are not generally used for more than a single season.

Health regulations mandate vaccinations and blood testing of animals crossing state lines, so rodeo stock receives routine care. An injured animal will not buck well and hence a cowboy cannot obtain a high score for his ride, so sick or injured animals are not run through the chutes, but instead are given appropriate veterinary care so they can be returned to their usual level of strength and power. PRCA regulations require veterinarians to be available at all rodeos to treat both bucking stock and other animals as needed.

The PRCA emphasizes that they first promulgated rules for proper and humane treatment of livestock in 1947, a full 7 years before the founding of the Humane Society of the United States. Participants are fined for animal abuse, and a study of 21 PRCA rodeos found only 15 animals injured in 26,584 performances, a 0.06 percent rate.

On the other hand, there are occasions of rule violations and animal mistreatment at sanctioned rodeos. However, the major national rodeos are also under the most intense scrutiny and are the most likely to rigorously follow the rules. Rodeos not subject to the rules of the PRCA or other organizations, and rodeos outside of the United States and Canada, where animal cruelty laws are weaker, are more likely to be the sites of abusive practices. However, animal rights groups are less likely to target these cases.

In mainstream culture

The largest state-of-the-art rodeos are professional, commercial athletic contests held in climate-controlled stadiums, with broadcasting by ESPN
ESPN
Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, commonly known as ESPN, is an American global cable television network focusing on sports-related programming including live and pre-taped event telecasts, sports talk shows, and other original programming....

 and other television networks.

Outside of the rodeo world itself, there is disagreement about exactly what rodeo "is." Professional competitors, for example, view rodeo as a sport and call themselves professional athletes while also using the title of cowboy. Fans view rodeo as a spectator sport with animals, having aspects of pageantry and theater unlike other professional sport. Non-westerners view the spectacle as a quaint but exciting remnant of the Wild West while animal activists view rodeo as a cruel Roman circus spectacle, or an Americanized bullfight.

Anthropologists studying the sport of rodeo and the culture surrounding it have commented that it is "a blend of both performance and contest", and that rodeo is far more expressive in blending both these aspects than attempting to stand alone on one or the other. Rodeo's performance level permits pageantry and ritual which serve to "revitalize the spirit of the Old West" while its contest level poses a man-animal opposition that articulates the transformation of nature and "dramatizes and perpetuates the conflict between the wild and the tame." "On its deepest level, rodeo is essentially a ritual addressing itself to the dilemma of man's place in nature."

Rodeo is a popular topic in country-western music, such as the 1991 Garth Brooks
Garth Brooks
Troyal Garth Brooks , best known as Garth Brooks, is an American country music artist who helped make country music a worldwide phenomenon. His eponymous first album was released in 1989 and peaked at number 2 in the US country album chart while climbing to number 13 on the Billboard 200 album chart...

 hit single "Rodeo
Rodeo (song)
"Rodeo" is the title of a song written by Larry Bastian and recorded by Garth Brooks from his album Ropin' the Wind. It was released as the first single from the 1991 album. It peaked at number three on the U.S...

", and has also been featured in numerous movies, television programs and in literature. Rodeo
Rodeo (Copland)
Rodeo is a ballet scored by Aaron Copland and choreographed by Agnes de Mille, which premiered in 1942. Subtitled "The Courting at Burnt Ranch", the ballet consists of five sections: "Buckaroo Holiday", "Ranch House Party", "Corral Nocturne", "Saturday Night Waltz", and "Hoe-Down"...

is a ballet score written by Aaron Copland
Aaron Copland
Aaron Copland was an American composer, composition teacher, writer, and later in his career a conductor of his own and other American music. He was instrumental in forging a distinctly American style of composition, and is often referred to as "the Dean of American Composers"...

 in 1942, and choreographer Agnes de Mille
Agnes de Mille
Agnes George de Mille was an American dancer and choreographer.-Early years:Agnes de Mille was born in New York City into a well-connected family of theater professionals. Her father William C. deMille and her uncle Cecil B. DeMille were both Hollywood directors...

's ballet, Rodeo was commissioned by the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo
Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo
Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo was a ballet company created by members of the Ballets Russes de Monte-Carlo in 1938 after Léonide Massine and René Blum had a falling-out with the co-founder Wassily de Basil...

 in 1942 with the Copeland score. The late country singer Chris Ledoux
Chris LeDoux
Chris Ledoux was an American country music singer-songwriter, bronze sculptor and rodeo champion.During his career LeDoux recorded 36 albums which have sold more than six million units in the United States as of January 2007...

 competed in bareback riding and wrote many of his songs based on his experiences.

Rodeo associations


Related sports

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    Bullfighting
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  • Charreada
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  • Chilean rodeo
    Chilean rodeo
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  • Cutting (sport)
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  • O-Mok-See or Gymkhana
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  • Ranch sorting
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  • Reining
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See also

  • Buckle bunny
    Buckle bunny
    A buckle bunny is a female fan of rodeo who purposefully seeks encounters with contestants who have proven successful in their events. The term comes from a slang term for women and the belt buckles that are awarded to the winners in rodeo....

  • Chilean rodeo
    Chilean rodeo
    Rodeo is a traditional sport in Chile. It was declared the national sport in 1962. It has since thrived, especially in the more rural areas of the country. Chilean rodeo is different from the rodeo found in North America...

  • Cowboy
    Cowboy
    A cowboy is an animal herder who tends cattle on ranches in North America, traditionally on horseback, and often performs a multitude of other ranch-related tasks. The historic American cowboy of the late 19th century arose from the vaquero traditions of northern Mexico and became a figure of...

  • Cowboy church
    Cowboy church
    Cowboy churches are local Christian churches within the cowboy culture that are distinctively Western heritage in character. A typical cowboy church may meet in a rural setting in a barn, metal building, arena, sale barn, or old western building, have its own rodeo arena, and a country gospel band....

  • Cowboy hat
    Cowboy hat
    The cowboy hat is a high-crowned, wide-brimmed hat best known as the defining piece of attire for the North American cowboy. Today it is worn by many people, and is particularly associated with ranch workers in the western and southern United States, western Canada and northern Mexico, with...

  • Equestrianism
    Equestrianism
    Equestrianism more often known as riding, horseback riding or horse riding refers to the skill of riding, driving, or vaulting with horses...

  • Indian rodeo
    Indian rodeo
    Indian rodeo is the rodeo subculture of Native American rodeo athletes and, in Canada, First Nations athletes. In the United States there are a number of regional associations and at least two national Finals. In Canada, Indian rodeos share a major role in small aboriginal communities and are...

  • Ranch
    Ranch
    A ranch is an area of landscape, including various structures, given primarily to the practice of ranching, the practice of raising grazing livestock such as cattle or sheep for meat or wool. The word most often applies to livestock-raising operations in the western United States and Canada, though...

  • Rodeo bareback rigging
  • Rodeo clown
    Rodeo clown
    A rodeo clown, also known as a bullfighter or rodeo protection athlete, is a rodeo performer who works in bull riding competitions. The primary job of the rodeo clown is to protect a fallen rider from the bull, whether the rider has been bucked off or has jumped off of the animal...

  • Western riding
    Western riding
    Western riding is a style of horseback riding which evolved from the ranching and warfare traditions brought to the Americas by the Spanish Conquistadors, and both equipment and riding style evolved to meet the working needs of the cowboy in the American West...

  • U.S. intercollegiate rodeo champions

External links

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