6 Surprising Facts You Might Not Know About Rodeos

Jan 12, 2018, 2:25 PM | Updated: Dec 13, 2019, 1:37 pm

This article is sponsored by the Days Of ’47 Lewis Feild Bulls and Broncs happening this year at the Maverik Center in West Valley, Utah. The Lewis Feild Bulls & Broncs Rodeo stampedes into the Maverik Center on Saturday, February 3 at 7:30 p.m. for just one night. Don’t miss your chance to see America’s Original Extreme Sport.

If you’ve ever been to a rodeo, you know how much fun they can be. The danger and allure of bucking broncos and bulls, which can throw those riders at a moment’s notice, make it exciting. So exciting you’ll be on the edge of your seat. But here are a couple things you might not know about the history of rodeos.


1. Rodeos Are Not an American Original

Spain actually has a long history of rodeos prior to the events becoming popular in America. Rodeos in America didn’t start until the 1800’s when Spanish settlers began to organize these events that had been traditional in Spain. In fact, the word ‘rodeo’ is the Spanish word for “round-up”.

2. Style vs Speed

The difference between American and Spanish rodeos had to do with speed vs style. Spanish rodeos are all about how well you perform the tasks of rounding up cattle, while American rodeos are all about how fast the rider can perform a roundup.

3. Rodeos in America Came from Wild West Shows

In the late 1800’s in America Wild West Shows with familiar names like Buffalo Bill Cody and Bill Picket toured the country. Rodeos weren’t competitions at the time, so rodeos hired and paid their performers. These Wild West Shows then started touring Europe starting in the 1900’s to great success. All this while helping to develop the modern idea of what people now think of as cowboys and the wild wild west.

Photo: Public Domain

4. Women Used to be on the Rodeo Circuit

Back in the 1890’s while the different rodeo circuits, women started joining the ranks of the men in rodeos. One of the most famous women in rodeos was Annie Oakley, the Peerless Lady Wing-Shot, who toured with Buffalo Bills Wild West Show. Annie Oakley helped define the look of what our modern day image of what a cowgirl is. Other women of this time period often rode bulls and broncs, and roped steers against male competitors, and often won!

5. Rodeo Performers Used to Tour With Vaudeville

During the off-season, rodeo performers wouldn’t have enough work to earn themselves a living, so many started to tour with Vaudeville, the theatrical variety entertainment that also toured the country. This gave the general public a taste of what the wild west was really like, and people wanted more!

6. Modern Day Rodeos

Modern rodeos are much different than they used to be. More organized, more events, and many of the events actually have real cowboys and ranchers that use skills they’ve developed working every day. And the competition is serious! Today’s Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rodeos are required to include calf roping, bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, bull riding and steer wrestling. There are even optional events that include steer roping and team roping.

Photo: KSL TV

This year’s Days of ’47 Lewis Feild Bulls and Broncs is a celebration of the old days of rodeos, tipping its hat to old traditions, while still pushing the envelope with modern techniques and more daring riders. Plus, the legend, Lewis Feild’s son Kaycee Feild will be riding his way to glory in this event that will be great for the whole family. Bring your family early for free pony rides before the show and autographs from the featured performers. The Days of ’47 Lewis Feild Bulls & Broncs will be happening Saturday, February 3 at 7:30 p.m.

Photo: Days Of ’47 Lewis Feild Bulls and Broncs


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6 Surprising Facts You Might Not Know About Rodeos