Your Turn: Rudimentary rodeo

It’s bulls and blood, it’s dust and mud, it’s the roar of a Sunday crowd… a big thanks to Matt James for sharing this introduction to the “real” world of rodeo.

From Matt James:

Tie-down roping, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding, team roping, bareback bronc riding, bull riding and everyone’s favorite, mutton busting. Just listing the events alone seem like a daunting task. Those who didn’t grow up around rodeos or have never been to one are truly missing out on one of America’s pastimes. Want to get into rodeo but don’t feel like jumping blindly into it? Here it is, your chance to learn some rudimentary rodeo.

Rodeo comes from the cattle herding days of yesteryear with origins in Spain, Mexico and the United States. The skills tested in rodeo come from the working skills of vaqueros and cowboys. But today’s rodeo is something all its own.

Rodeo events are primarily broken down into two categories of events, timed and rough stock. Rough stock events are what the majority imagines when they hear the word “rodeo.” Those events include bronc riding and bull riding. The iconic image of a cowboy, hat in hand, on top of a bucking bronc is classic rodeo imagery.

There are also timed events–these include the roping and racing events in which quickness and agility are key. Some examples include barrel racing, steer wrestling and calf roping.

Just like any other niche, rodeo has its own lingo and slang. To the untrained ear it may just all sound like Greek, but just learning a bit of the jargon will keep your head in the game and your foot out of your mouth. Let’s start with some less than obvious terms:

Pick up men: These are the cowboys working those rough stock events I mentioned before.

Hazer: The hazer is the cowboy riding along the side of a steer to keep it going in a straight line.

Mark out rule: In many events the cowboy must have their spurs touching the bronc above its shoulder. Failure to due so will result in penalty or no score at all.

Beyond just these events rodeos can be fun for many reasons. Most local rodeos start with a grand entry, reminiscent of the Olympics Opening Ceremonies. The grand entry introduces the riders, the events, and other people associated with the rodeo. In addition, oftentimes rodeos will have accompanying concerts and other fun events. But it’s not all Garth Brooks and wrangler butts–rodeos like the Snake River Stampede in Nampa, Idaho hosts a “Buck-A-Roo Breakfast” and a community parade. So pony on up to the next rodeo in your city,

About Matt: Matt James is an avid outdoorsman and a lover of all things horse. He currently writes for the quality horse trailer supplier

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