When you think of going to a rodeo, most people think of cowboy hats, lassos, horses, bulls and boots, but there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye. Rodeo is extremely popular within the continental United States and is growing in popularity all around the world. Its history is vast and storied. Most people assume that rodeo started with competitions in the Western US, but in reality, it came out of the cattle herding practices found in Spain and Mexico before finally migrating its way into the United States. It then spread to Canada, South American, and Australia where rodeo events continue to be held to this day.
At its core, rodeo is a display of cowboy skills on a professional level. The earliest ideation of what came to be known as the “rodeo” was far less competitive and formal than the displays we see today. It featured the cowboys and vaqueros of the Western US and Mexico as they competed against one another in a test of their working skills and abilities.
After the Civil War was over, rodeo began to slowly mature, and the individual events for which it is known began to take shape, slowly morphing into what we know today.
The first informal rodeo was held in Cheyenne, WY in 1872, but the title of “World’s Oldest Rodeo” belongs to the rodeo in Prescott, AZ since it was the first to charge an admission fee and award prizes, turning what had been just a hobby into a much-admired profession. After that, rodeo began to multiply in both participation and attendance across the United States and drifting its way into Canada.
By the time 1910 arrived, numerous rodeos held an established following, some of which still exist today. However, there were no official rules or regulations that governed rodeos until 1929 when it became necessary to standardize the rules of competition in order to facilitate the growing number of rodeos in existence. These governing organizations are used to sanction and facilitate the sport which now operates at a youth, college and professional level. Many of the most prominent stars in rodeo started in at a young age and have grown up with a love of the sport and the organizations that sanction it, creating a safe and level playing field for all who would wish to enter the arena and try their hand at the sport.
The rodeo continues to have a vast and diverse following, and you can find a wide assortment of fans at each event. While we often think of country music and rodeo as going hand in hand, recent rodeos have held concerts featuring Latin, pop and rock singers which only goes to illustrate the broad appeal of rodeo to the masses. There’s truly something for everyone at the rodeo and those who have never been are in for a real treat. Whether your interests lie with bull riding, barrel racing, calf roping or other events, you’ll be sure to find something that’ll keep you entertained.
Our rodeo events are some of the best in the four state area and are enhanced by our steakhouse which offers one of the best fine dining experiences around. To learn more about what we have to offer or to check for upcoming events, contact our offices in Joplin, MO and let us know how we can help you.