04-0219 ETF 36 566/23/041:31 PMPage 47RodeoA UN I Q U E L Y A M E R I C A N S P O R TBYTwPHYLLIS MCINTOSHhe chute flies open and out lunges a bucking horse,rearing and leaping into the air, trying to throw off the determinedrider. With one arm waving in the air, the cowboy holds on with his otherhand to a handle on a leather strap around the horse’s body. If he hangs on for aninterminable eight seconds and the horse continues to buck with all his might,the cowboy might earn a good score. If not, he will pick himself up from the arenaf loor, dust himself off, and wait for next time.W elcome to the wild world of rodeo, a uniquely American sport that combines the glamour and big money of 21st century professional athletics withthe spirit of the Old West, when cowboys tamed wild horses and herded thousands of head of cattle on the open plains. What started as friendly contestsbetween rival cowhands has grown into a mega-business that attracts 23 million spectators and millions more television viewers every year. The largestrodeos today are week-long extravaganzas featuring a dazzling array of entertainment and thousands of dollars in prize money for winning competitors.Instead of gathering around dusty corrals, fans sit in comfortable modernarenas, watching close-ups of the action on giant screens.EN G L I S HTE A C H I N GFO R U MJU L Y2 0 0 447

04-0219 ETF 36 566/23/041:31 PMPage 48THE HISTORY OF RODEOContests pitting man against beast are nothing new. On the isle of Crete, 3,000-year-oldpictographs show ancient Minoans performingacrobatics with bulls. The Romans flocked tothe Colosseum to watch gladiators battle allmanner of exotic animals. What makes rodeounique is that it originated not as a spectatorsport but with the everyday work of cowboys onthe western range.The American cowboy can trace his originsback to the Spaniards who, in the 1500s, introduced both cattle and horses to Mexico and towhat would later become the southwestern United States. The earliest cowboys were the vaqueros, Spanish servants or Native Americans whorode horses to herd cattle. The word rodeo comesfrom the Spanish rodear, meaning to encircle orsurround. As they rounded up cattle on the openrange, cowboys often rode wild horses androped calves for branding—activities re-createdin today’s classic rodeo events.According to the Professional Rodeo CowboysAssociation (PRCA), rodeo was born in 1864 whentwo groups of cowboys from neighboring ranches met in Deer Trail, Colorado, to settle an argument over who was better at performing theseeveryday ranching tasks. Formal competitionsbegan in the heyday of American cattle drives inthe late 1800s, when western towns began holding events called stampedes, roundups, or fiestas(a Spanish word meaning festival). No one knowsfor sure which town actually held the first spectator event, but there is general agreement thatPrescott, Arizona, in 1888, was the first to chargeadmission and award prize money to contestants.It has done so continuously ever since, and todaythe Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo ranks amongthe top 25 rodeos in the nation.Over the next few decades, a number ofother western towns launched events that, likePrescott’s, are now among the largest and mostpopular on the rodeo circuit. These includeCheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming, the largestoutdoor rodeo, which since 1919 has billed itselfas “the daddy of ’em all”; Pendleton Roundup inOregon, known for its logo of a cowboy on abucking horse with the slogan “Let ’er Buck”;and the Calgary Stampede in Alberta, Canada,which draws thousands of American as well asCanadian spectators.These events were immediately successfulbecause they combined traditional cowboy contests with theatrical embellishments, such asmock Indian attacks, inspired by the Wild Westshows popular around the turn of the century.Big rodeos still feature a great deal of showmanship. Almost all have parades and musicalentertainment, but the largest also have suchattractions as lavish grandstand shows, fireworks, carnival rides, western art shows, andaerial demonstrations by Air Force fighter jets.They may also stage special events for youngsters, beauty pageants, and fun competitionssuch as chuckwagon races, which recall thedays when drivers of the wagons that broughtfood to cowboys on the range would race eachother back to town.(above) A rodeo clown dressed in colorfulprotective gear awaits his turn in the ring.(below) In this photo from 1958, cowboyswork hard to keep ahead of a prairie fire during the annual fall roundup of cattle.(opposite) Riders from the National Western Stock show parade in downtown Denver,Colorado.48 AP/WideWorld Photosz AP/WideWorld Photos

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04-0219 ETF 36 566/23/041:32 PMPage 50C LASSIC RODEO EVENTS AP/WideWorld Photos AP/WideWorld Photos➊➋➌ AP/WideWorld PhotosDespite the added attractions, the heart of rodeo remains theclassic riding and roping events that are a direct legacy of theworking cowboy. The seven competitive events sanctioned by thePRCA are divided into roughstock and timed events. The roughstock events, which are scored according to the cowboy’s—and theanimal’s—performance, include: Bareback bronc riding. Considered themost physically demanding rodeo event,bareback bronc riding requires the cowboyto ride a wild, unsaddled horse for eightseconds while holding on with just onehand to a “rigging,” a handhold similar to aleather suitcase handle. To receive a goodscore, the rider must spur the horse in timewith the animal’s bucking action. Thehorse’s performance counts for half thetotal score. (1) Bull riding. In this most dangerous ofrodeo events, the cowboy must stay on awildly bucking 2,000-pound bull for eightseconds. As in the bareback and saddlebronc events, he may use only one hand tohold on, in this case to a rope wrappedaround the bull’s chest. (2 and 7) Saddle bronc riding. Recalling the dayswhen cowboys had to tame wild horses by“breaking” them to the saddle, this eventalso requires the rider to synchronize hisspurring action to the animal’s buckingmovements. Using just one hand to holdonto a thick rein, the cowboy must try tostay firmly in the saddle. (3)T imed events, in which the contestant tries to complete a task in the fastest time, include:➍ AP/WideWorld Photos Steer wrestling. With the aid of a “hazer”who keeps the steer running in the rightdirection, the contestant jumps from ahorse running 30 miles per hour, reachesfor the steer’s horns, slides him to a stop,and wrestles him to the ground. This is anevent that requires great speed, strength,and precision. (opposite page) Calf roping. In this event, another legacyof the working ranch, a cowboy on horseback chases a calf and throws a loopedrope over its head. The cowboy then dis-mounts, lays the calf on its side, and tiesany three of its legs together. (4) Team roping. The only true team event,this requires precise timing of the actionsof two people: the header, who ropes asteer around its horns or neck, and theheeler, who rides in and ropes the steer’shind legs. (line illustration Duane Reichert) Barrel racing. In this, the only all-femaleevent in professional rodeo, the goal is to ridea horse as quickly as possible around threebarrels arranged in a cloverleaf pattern. (5)➎ PhotoDiscBesides the cowboys and cowgirls who compete, other personnel are crucial to the successand safety of these events. Among the most important are the rodeo clowns and bullfighterswho often entertain the audience between events but whose real job is to distract angry bullsand lure them away from cowboys on the ground. (6)➏➐ AP/WideWorld Photos50 AP/WideWorld Photos

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04-0219 ETF 36 566/23/041:33 PMPage 53THE GROWTH OF PROFESSIONAL RODEO5From its beginnings through the 1920s,rodeo was an unorganized hodgepodge of competitions with conflicting schedules and differentsets of rules. Then, in 1929 the more prosperousrodeos formed the Rodeo Association of America to set schedules and uniform rules of competition. Rodeo cowboys themselves did not organize until 1936, when contestants angry aboutthe distribution of prize money formed what theycalled the Cowboys Turtle Association. Theychose the unusual name because they had beenslow to join forces but had finally stuck out theirnecks for their cause. In 1945, the group wasrenamed the more businesslike Rodeo CowboysAssociation, and in 1975 it became the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.Today, the PRCA governs what has become ahigh-stakes sport. It sanctions nearly 700 rodeos,in 47 states and four Canadian provinces, thatoffer a combined total of more than 35 millionin prize money. The largest rodeos, such as the20-day Rodeo Houston in Texas, attract up to 400contestants vying for prizes of 4,000 to 5,000in each event.During the winter and summer seasons, professional cowboys travel constantly to competein dozens of rodeos—they call it “going downthe road.” All of them hope to earn enough prizemoney to advance to championship rounds andeventually qualify for the National Finals Rodeo,an annual 10-day affair that is to rodeo what theWorld Series is to baseball. At Finals, the top 15national money-winners in each rodeo eventparticipate in 10 days of competitions, contending for part of the 5 million in prize money, thetitle of world champion in their event, and thegold buckles and saddles that are awardedalong with the titles.While the top stars may earn more than 200,000 a year, only a few make it to the top.Of the 7,000 cowboys who are members of thePRCA, probably only 1,000 or so are able to earna living at rodeo. The majority of rodeo contestants have other jobs and compete only onweekends. To serve these competitors, thePRCA created the circuit system in 1975. Cowboys compete in one of 12 circuits, determinedby geographic regions. Each circuit awardspoints and maintains standings for competitors.The leading circuit cowboys compete in finals intheir region, and winners of those events, alongwith regular season cowboys, compete in anational showdown, the Dodge National CircuitFinals, held every year in Idaho.(opposite page, top) Wyoming hostedPresident Theodore Roosevelt, seen in thisold photo watching a buffalo ride, at theCheyenne Frontier Days rodeo in 1910.(opposite page, bottom) A saddle broncrider is challenged to stay in the saddle ashis horse leaves the ground.(below) A rider in a mutton bustin’ competition, for 3 to 5-year-olds, hangs on tight.THE MAKING OF A RODEO COWBOYIn the past, most rodeo cowboys came fromfamilies with ranching or rodeo backgrounds.About a third of modern competitors have nosuch connections, but there are ways for even acity slicker to learn the sport. Children as youngas three can start out as “mutton busters,” holding on as long as they can on the back of asheep. At age eight, they qualify for National Little Britches Rodeo and as teenagers for JuniorRodeo. Many future rodeo cowboys learn rodeoskills through high school and college rodeo. Butmost modern competitors get their training at therodeo schools held throughout the year, oftenorganized by leading professional cowboys.Beginner or veteran, amateur or pro, spectator or performer, all rodeo aficionados would nodoubt agree with the description offered by theNational Professional Rodeo Association (NPRA),an organization that sanctions rodeos across theU.S. Midwest. Rodeo, says the NPRA, is “themost intense, bone-jarring two hours in sports –8 seconds at a time.”EN G L I S HTE A C H I N GFO R U MJU L Y AP/WideWorld Photos2 0 0 453

FFFFFF FFFFFF FF F04-0219 ETF 36 566/23/041:33 PMPage 54RODEO HEROESFAs in any sport, there is no shortage of “stars” in rodeo. Threestandouts from different eras are described below.(opposite page) A rider shows great concentration during the bareback competitionof the 2001 Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo inPhoenix, Arizona.54in the event, a record that still holds today.He also won two all-around cowboy championships and one bareback riding championship. Tibbs is immortalized in “TheChamp,” a 20-foot bronze statue of himriding the famous bucking horse Necktie,which stands in front of the ProRodeo Hallof Fame in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Ty Murray One of the greatest stars ofmodern rodeo, Murray is the only seventime world champion all-around cowboy inprofessional rodeo history. Also a champion in bull riding and bareback bronc riding,Murray at age 23 became the youngestrodeo cowboy millionaire. He still holds therecord for most money ever won at a rodeo( 124,821 at the National Finals in 1993)and the highest single-year earnings( 297,896 in 1993). Known as “The Kingof the Cowboys,” Murray retired in 2002 atthe age of 32, with more than 3 million incareer earnings.Professional rodeo also gives credit to the animals that make the cowboys stars. The 182members of the ProRodeo Hall of Fame include 22 animals, mostly broncs and bulls withnames like Hell’s Angel, Bodacious, and Tornado.J AP/WideWorld Photos(bottom right) Ty Murray (now retired) demonstrates his expert bull riding at the 1994Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo. AP/WideWorld Photos(bottom left) A herd of cattle gathers near astatue of the late world-champion rodeo starCasey Tibbs in Fort Pierre, South Dakota. Bill Pickett Born in 1870 to former slaves,Pickett is the most famous black rodeocowboy and the only individual creditedwith inventing a classic rodeo event. As aperformer in Wild West shows in the early1900s, Pickett would jump from horsebackonto a steer and wrestle the animal to theground, sometimes using his teeth to gripthe steer’s lip as he had seen bulldogs doin the course of their work as cattle dogs.Though officially known now as steerwrestling, Pickett’s invention is still oftencalled bulldogging. Pickett is immortalizedin the ProRodeo Hall of Fame and in the BillPickett Invitational Rodeo, the nation’s onlyblack touring rodeo. Casey Tibbs Perhaps the most famousprofessional rodeo athlete of all time, Tibbswas a legendary saddle bronc rider. In1949, at age 19, he became the youngestever national saddle bronc champion. Hewent on to win a total of six championshipsU L Y2 0 0 4EN G L I S HTE A C H I N GFO R U M

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04-0219 ETF 36 566/23/041:33 PMPage 56 PhotoDiscWEBSITES OF INTERESTTALKIN’ RODEOPProfessional Rodeo Cowboys Association AP/WideWorld PhotosThe PRCA is the premier organization for professional rodeo.Its website has the latest rodeo news, explanations of rodeoevents, and information on the ProRodeo Hall of Fame.Cowboys and Cowgirls a horse or bull that rears and kicksin attempts to throw off a rider.bulldogging another name for steer wrestling, a rodeo event in which a cowboy tries towrestle a steer to the ground.This website has more than 60 links concerning rodeo,cowboys, and all things western. Especially useful is “Let’sRodeo,” which in turn links to rodeo associations and abundant information about the sport.chute a small, enclosed space just outsidethe main arena that holds animals prior to arodeo event.Rodeo Attitudehttp://www.rodeoattitude.comgoin’ down the road traveling to compete inrodeos.A newsy site that bills itself as “your premier rodeo website,”this site includes stories, in newsletter format, about rodeoevents, personnel, and trivia.hazer an assistant in the steer wrestlingevent who keeps the steer running in theright direction so the contestant can slidefrom his horse and grab the steer’s horns.Cheyenne Frontier Dayshttp://www.cfdrodeo.comThe official website of the “World’s Largest Rodeo andWestern Celebration,” this site features history and storiesabout the event and offers a good overview of a major rodeo.Rodeo Houstonhttp://hlsr.comThis website for one of the largest, richest rodeos onthe professional circuit contains a wealth of informationabout rodeo history, events, and terminology. It even hasvideo clips. AP/WideWorld Photosbronc or bronco a wild or untamed horse.REFERENCESAllen, M. 1998. Rodeo cowboys in the North American imagination. Reno: University of NevadaPress.Campion, L. 2002. Rodeo: Behind the scenes atAmerica’s most exciting sport. The Lyons Press.Hartnagle-Taylor, J. 1992. Greasepaint matadors:The unsung heroes of rodeo. Loveland, Colorado:Alpine Publications.Wooden, W. and G. Ehringer. 1996. Rodeo inAmerica: Wranglers, roughstock, and paydirt.Lawrence: University Press of Kansas.lasso or lariat a long rope with a noose thatis used to catch horses and cattle.pickup man a cowboy on horseback whohelps bareback and saddle bronc riders dismount from their bucking horses at the endof a ride.rigging a leather handhold tied around ahorse or bull that the cowboy grasps duringbareback bronc and bull riding events.roughstock eventsthe three rodeoevents—bareback bronc riding, saddle broncriding, and bull riding—that are scoredaccording to the rider’s style and the animal’sbucking action.roundup the herding together of cattle byriding around them and driving them to a certain location.spurs spiked metal wheels attached to theheels of a cowboy’s boots that are used topoke a horse and urge it to move.stampede a wild rush of cattle or other animals.(left top) A rider struggles to stay on his horse for therequired eight seconds in the bareback competition ofthe Conejo Valley Days Rodeo in Southern California. AP/WideWorld Photos(left center) This unlucky cowboy has lost his grip andis falling over the bull’s head in the bull riding event of theNational Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nevada. Corel56(left bottom) A rodeo clown gets pushed by a bull duringthe bull fighting event of the National Finals Rodeo. Extensive training enables clowns to make this dangerous sportinto humorous entertainment for rodeo patrons.JU L Ytimed events the four rodeo events—steerwrestling, calf roping, team roping, and barrelracing—that are scored on speed.PHYLLIS MCINTOSH, a freelance writer whosework has appeared in many national magazines and newspapers, is a frequent contributor to State Department publicationsand websites.2 0 0 4EN G L I S HTE A C H I N GFO R U M

04-0219 ETF OFBC-IFBC6/23/0411:25 AMPage 4SADDLEBRONC RIDINGThe classic event of Rodeo“Saddle Bronc Rider” reproduced with permission of Duane Reichert from the Dr. Ben Krazy Coloring Book. Duane Reichert, All rights reserved.

04-0219 ETF OFBC-IFBC6/23/042:04 PMPage 1High-brow RodeoRodeo has been a popular subject for movies, television, and country and westernmusic. But it also has found its way into American high art, such as the famousbronc rider sculptures of Frederic Remington (above) found in many leading art museums. A love story between a rodeo cowboy and cowgirl is the subject of the ballet Rodeo,a collaboration between renowned composer Aaron Copland and choreographer Agnesde Mille. Perhaps to distinguish it from the rough and tumble world of bulls and broncs,the title is pronounced ro-day-o, as in Spanish. (PHYLLIS MACINTOSH)

acrobatics with bulls. The Romans flocked to the Colosseum to watch gladiators battle all manner of exotic animals. What makes rodeo unique is that it originated not as a spectator sport but with the everyday work of cowboys on the western range. The American cowboy can trace hi