The sport of rodeo today arose out of the real life working practices of cattle ranching families in Spain, Mexico, and later in the United States, Canada, South America and Australia.

Early rodeo-like affairs of the 1820’s and 1830’s were informal events in the western United States and northern Mexico with cowboys and Vaqueros testing their work skills against one another.

Following the American Civil War, early rodeo competitions emerged with the first being held in Cheyenne, Wyoming in 1872, but Prescott, Arizona claims the distinction of holding the first professional rodeo when it charged admission and awarded trophies in 1888. Between 1890 and 1910, rodeo became a public entertainment, sometimes combining Wild West Shows featuring individuals such as Buffalo Bill Cody, Annie Oakley, and other charismatic stars. By 1910, several major rodeos were established in western North America, including the Calgary Stampede, the Pendleton Round-Up, and the Cheyenne Frontier Days.


The sport of rodeo today offers spectators a window into America’s rich rural ranching past, with all the excitement and electricity that today’s major modern sporting events have to offer! Rodeo goes with America like apple pie and baseball. Rodeo exemplifies grit and determination – the spirit of American ideals.

Standardized events are designed to test the skill and speed of the human cowboy and cowgirl athletes who participate. Professional rodeos generally comprises the following events: tie-down roping, team roping, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding, bareback bronc riding, bull riding, and barrel racing. 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, and pole bending may also be a part of some rodeos.

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