hold onto your hat!
This got me to thinking about how rodeos came about and what inspires the men and women rodeo workers to choose that occupation. I can see the appeal of barrel racing and calf roping but to voluntarily climb on the back of a four-legged creature who outweighs you by a few to several hundred pounds so that you can hold onto a rope with one hand while that beast's only goal is to get you the heck off, not something I can comprehend. Like anyone who's ever had a job outside the home, I've had to learn Dos and Don'ts, correct protocol for different situations and attend safety procedure classes. Imagine what said safety classes are like for a rodeo newbie.
In a May, 2017 article about how to train to be a cowboy or cowgirl in a rodeo, the author, Ralph Clark suggests:
- Decide what type of competitor you will be and how far you are willing to travel
- Find a rodeo association that meets your needs
- Go to a rodeo school or clinic taught by experienced rodeo cowboys and cowgirls
- Get some insurance
- Fill out your forms, pay your dues, and ride
Rodeo is a Spanish word that means roundup. Rodeos as we now know them can be traced back to the Spanish settling California and becoming cattle ranchers. Spanish vaqueoros passed along their skills to American cowboys after the Civil War. There’s a difference between the rodeos in Spain and the rodeos here: in Spain, the focus is on style. In the U.S.A., the focus is on speed. If you've ever been to one here, you know what I'm talking about.
I don’t know anyone who has participated in a rodeo which is too bad because that would be a fun Q&A session. So I had to settle on researching the history of and reading about some of the more famous cowboys. Most of the information I read about rodeos came from the ProRodeo Hall of Fame’s website. Located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the Hall has a museum with everything you’d expect to see at museum depicting the history of the sport of rodeo in this country.
Belt buckles the size of the western frontier, dozens of saddles, hats, boots and some amazing photography. Next time I'm out that way, I'm going to stop in. The two minute video below is the director of the museum showing us around.
There are thousands of local rodeo associations in this country. Someone interested in rodeoing will join one of those and go to rodeo school or a clinic. Learning the ropes of rodeo is done by doing - there's no substitute for experience. This country has many rodeo schools, several of them under the guidance of championship cowboys. Sign up, pay the money, and get ready for some bumps and bruises from the ride of your life.
And stay on the clown's good side. Never know when you might need him.