Professional rodeo arose from the working lifestyle of cattle herding brought to The Americas from Spain. A rugged tradition established in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, the cowboy is an enduring symbol of the American West.
Roping and riding abilities were highly valued and contests were an important way to hone these skills. This friendly competition among ranch hands evolved into what we know today as rodeo. Wild West shows painted an inspiring portrait of the frontiersman as athlete and helped to create the living legend that is the American Cowboy.
A bareback rider places himself on the back of a 1,200 pound twisting, bucking bronco. The goal is to make it through an 8 second ride without benefit of a saddle, reins or stirrups. His only handhold is on the leather-and-rawhide rigging placed around the horse just behind its shoulders. The rider is disqualified for being bucked off or touching himself or the animal with his free hand
Bull riding is one of the most dangerous and popular events in professional rodeo. The bull rider wraps a flat-plaited rope around his gloved hand to secure himself to the animal. As with the other riding events, 100 is a perfect score for an 8 second ride. The rider is disqualified for touching the animal, himself or his equipment during the ride.