The history of rodeos dates back to the 1700s, when men in the American wild west hosted competitions to find the best riders, ropers and cattle drovers. The rope swinging, cow tying and branding feats of these western Spanish, Mexican, and Texican men were able to transform their work as vaqueros (cattlemen) on ranches into the sport of rodeo. They inspired those who came from the East, imitating their dress, equipment, and traditions with their competitions. These rodeo men were able to transform their work as vaqueros (cattlemen) on ranches into the sport of rodeo.
Many of the first rodeo competitions were held in parts of California and New Mexico.
Interesting to note that in other parts of the world, other societies were developing their own versions of horse-related sports, including Polo which was based upon Persia military training practice.
As the west became more developed the need for cowboys dwindled. Under the Manifest Destiny policy that the American government implemented, cowboys turned to honing their cattle handling rodeo skills for entertainment purposes rather than small territory rivalries.
Among the first most famous Wild West showmen was Buffalo Bill Cody, who became the lead organizer of the shows that are now referred to as “rodeos”. Rodeo pageantry is still present today.
As cowboys and cowgirls prepare for competition they pay attention to rodeo superstitions that have evolved and been shared by word of mouth. Here are a few fascinating ones:
Never set your cowboy hat on a bed. This is based on the idea that a bed is a resting place, and if a hat is set on the bed then it is likely to bring injury or death to that rider.
Wear two different colored socks. This good luck omen has also been applied to other sports.
The Red Bluff Round Up competition is hosting their 92nd rodeo, on April 19-21st. The daily event includes barrel racing, tie-down roping, and riding competitions for both men and women. For details, click here.