The Rodeo; A Sports World You Never Knew Existed

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 05: Dylan Smith rides during the PBR Unleash The Beast bull riding competition at Madison Square Garden on January 05, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

You mean to tell me that someone trying to stay on a bull for an extended period or tying up some cattle, or doing some tricks with a horse is considered a sport? Yes, that’s right. Those would be considered events at your rodeo and I hate to ruin the image you may have of traditional sports but the Rodeo is a sport.

The Rodeo; A Sports World You Never Knew Existed

Rodeo A Sport, Are You Crazy?

Well, you might be asking yourself what the heck the rodeo considered a sport no way wheres the ball? Now I’ll admit I’m not an expert when it comes to rodeo events. I have only been to maybe two rodeos in my entire life. I do however know enough to know that it is, in fact, a sport a physically demanding one at that.

You may be thinking the rodeo is just a place where a bunch of rednecks and hillbillies get together. Yelling, screaming and riding animals. Well you’d be half right. Yes, there is yelling and screaming but I mean isn’t there yelling and screaming at your typical Basketball and Football games? No these aren’t a bunch of rednecks or hillbillies. These are people that train most of their lives some at a young age to compete in events and do something they are passionate about. Sound familiar?

Now the question becomes well what is the definition of a sport anyway? The definition of a sport is “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.” Nowhere in there did I see the word ball. If you ever go to a rodeo it truly is the sports definition to a tee. Cowboys and Cowgirls competing in multiple physically demanding events against each-other in front of hundreds of people. That sounds pretty sports like to me.

Saddle Up Cowboy Sports Are Here

Now many events take place during a rodeo, there is Calf Roping, Bull Riding, Team Roping, and Barrel Racing just to name a few. Now bare with me while I try to explain.

Calf Roping is a timed event in which upon horseback a cowboy/cowgirl chases and lassos a calf. Tying at-least three of the animal’s legs all while being timed.

Bull riding which has also been dubbed “The most dangerous eight seconds in sports” is exactly as it sounds. A rider attempts to stay on top of a bull while it violently bucks while in-front of judges.

Team roping is another timed event in which horseback riders compete in pairs to rope the horns and legs of a steer as fast as possible.

Lastly, barrel racing an event in which a horse and rider attempt to complete a certain pattern around preset barrels in the fastest time.

Going back to the previous definition of sports, to me those all sound like activities involving extreme physical exertion and skill.

There’s More Then Meets The Eye

Like any sport the rodeo isn’t all about physicality it is also just as mental as it is physical. it requires a fair amount of talent skill knowledge and even some luck to be able to participate. I mean you have to know the different kinds of horses, not all horses are the same. Can you tell the difference between an Appaloosa as opposed to a Mustang? certain breeds are better suited for certain events as opposed to others. Would you bring an Arabian breed to a rodeo event? you can, but you might have better luck with American Quarter horses.

Are there certain places to hold that are better than others when bull riding? Which horses are faster than others? It’s not as easy as this and that. There is a lot of knowledge and know-how that goes into rodeo events. Cowgirls/Cowboys are constantly challenged, event after event, physically and mentally, to try and get the edge and stand on top. Don’t believe me? turn on ESPN sometime the NFR is on (National Finals Rodeo). You’d be surprised at what you see.

Saddle Up Your Mind

I used to think sports were nothing more than your typical basketball, football, soccer, and baseball. As I got older, I realized that sports stretches far and wide across the world in so many different ways and connects so many people.

You don’t just need a ball you have swimming, rodeo, ultimate Frisbee just to name a few. It’s easy to turn a blind eye to something you’re not accustomed to or don’t understand. Like I said I am no expert on the rodeo. I might have missed a few things here and there I know I may hear it if I do. One thing I do know for certain is that just because a ball isn’t involved that does not mean it is not a sport. If you don’t believe me try and talk to someone about Esports but that’s a conversation for another day. So never be afraid to saddle up your mind cowboy!

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