A Beginners Guide to the Extreme Sport of Rodeo

A Beginners Guide to the Extreme Sport of Rodeo

The extreme sport of rodeo holds a highly distinguished position in the realm of sports events. It is a lot of fun to watch and it keeps viewers on the edge of the seats. What modern riders do for show echoes skills that cowboys had to possess in order to survive on the untamed wild frontier. It should be noted as well that rodeo is pretty unique because it is composed of several different disciplines. That is to say that there are many types of events, rules, awards, and other bells and whistles. On top of it all, there are many countries that hold competitions and they all infuse them with national styles and flavor.

A history lesson

Rodeo is deeply rooted in its rich history. It was born through the day-to-day chores of working ranches. But, despite what many people think, Rodeo was not invented in the U.S. It caught up there only after Spanish colonists came. The brought the rodeo events form their home country, which has some other extreme events involving bulls, such as Running of the Bulls. American rodeo as we know it today also differs from the original version. It was perfected on the vast plains of the Wild West and revolves around one feat: how fast a rider can perform a roundup.

Modern times

The professional world of rodeo is rather fascinating. In general, modern rodeo is more organized in terms of rules and events. Cowboys and ranchers take part, though, putting their skills acquired from everyday work to the test. Together with other competitors, they engage in various disciplines like calf roping, bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, bull riding, barrel rolling, and steer wrestling. Other countries like Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina have long ranching and livestock tradition and thus hold their unique events.

Different strokes for different folks

Most rodeo events take place in fenced, dirt-surfaced arenas, both indoors and outdoors. They usually feature bucking and roping chutes. In this day and age, there are two main types of events that have an official capacity. First, we have roughstock (judged) events like bull riding and bareback. These are hailed as wild and adrenaline-packed occasions and they tend to get the most attention. Second, the extreme sport includes timed events and involves barrel racing, steer wrestling, team roping, and other sports. Here, stopwatches are used to track times for each event and the lowest time wins.

A rough ride

Dangerous nature of roughstock events makes them a thrilling spectacle to behold. Cowboys and cowgirls are specialized in rodeo performances compete against each other. Horses and bulls are most often bucked-out once per day and riders do go-rounds. Scoring is pretty similar for all roughstock events, although the criteria for scoring differ. One of the most basic rules is that the riders are allowed to use only one hand for riding and the other must remain in the air. To get any score, a rider must stay in the saddle for at least 8 seconds.

Organizational level

Professional rodeo is administered by groups called rodeo associations. The largest one on the face on earth is the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, but there are numerous smaller groups at the local, state, and county, and national level. Their membership is diverse: competitors, stock contractors, organizational personnel, judges, etc. As for sponsors, they come in the form of businesses, chambers of commerce, local municipalities, governments, and other agents. All of this makes rodeo a deeply communal experience.

Prizes and Awards

Some would say that ultimate spoils of this extreme sport are fame and glory. Be that as it may, financial rewards come in handy. The prize pool is made up of entry fees (that participants pay) and added money. This can amount to hefty sums on big events that also bestow hand-tooled saddles, horse trailers, and even vehicles. However, the most revered reward is the rodeo belt buckle. It is the most recognized and prestigious trophy in the whole of the rodeo world. It goes without saying that only the chosen few can attain it.

A level playing field

Nowadays, rodeo is not confined to people who live at rural ranches and deal with livestock on a regular basis. In fact, it is open to anyone with a competitive drive and the urge to feel the adrenaline rush. Becoming a cowboy or a cowgirl is an utterly rewarding experience, but there are some dangers to be wary of. If you want to ride rough stock, you need a high level of overall fitness and good health on your side. After all, rodeo places big demands on the body. Besides, bulls are hulking beasts that can throw riders in a split second.

Getting started

If you are not dissuaded by risks and competitive pressure of rodeo extreme sports, be my guest and get into a competition of your choosing. Start by finding a suitable rodeo organization in your area. Depending on where you live, you might also be able to attend rodeo school or clinic. There, you have a chance to learn from seasoned riders and professionals. Just try to stay on the safe side and get insurance coverage. All that is left is to fill out necessary forms and pay your dues. After that, you are good to go and witnesses firsthand why some many people instantly fall in love with the rodeo.

Are you ready to jump in the saddle?

Rodeo may seem intimidating at the first glance, but the truth is that it has something for everybody. Brought to life by working men and cattle herders, it has evolved into a beloved extreme sport. There is a multitude of jaw-dropping events that have their specific rules. Some of them are small and local, while others are big happenings broadcasted across the globe. So, explore the landscape of action-driven competitions and see it for yourself. There is something incredibly enjoyable and riveting about traditions like this, especially in the digital age. It is time to buckle up.

Sean Lockwood

Sean is a programmer with a passion for extreme sports. Favourite extreme sports discipline is biathlon. Started this blog because of the great love for nature and adrenaline which results in something extreme like Extreme Sports Lab (ESL).

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