The Rodeo: In It For The Ride!

Rodeo History

  • The rodeo tradition developed as a means of testing a cowboy’s speed, skill, strength, and courage.
  • Rodeo comes from the Spanish word for round up, and the first recorded English mention appeared in 1834.
  • Spanish Americans held annual rodeos for their vaqueros to gather cattle for movement, branding, breeding, selling, or slaughter.
  • After the American Civil War the rodeo became a spectator sport, with a paying audience and professional prizes.
  • Between 1890-1910, they combined with various Wild West Shows and drew a huge popular interest.
  • “Prairie Rose” Henderson was the first woman to compete in the Cheyenne Rodeo of 1901.
  • Women riders began making frequent appearances until two of them died in the ring – Bonnie McCarrol (1929), and Marie Gibson (1933).
  • After these tragic accidents the male ring was considered too dangerous for female competitors, so they began organizing their own rodeos.
  • Today, however, women are part of the national circuit.  They still compete in their own female events, but are also involved in several mixed-sex competitions.  Yee haw!

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