History of Rodeo

If you’ve been looking for a great lesson in the history of rodeo, you’ve found everything you need! If you’re new to rodeo, welcome! This is a platform for learning and asking questions, ask any questions you have in the comments. Let’s get started!

How Rodeo Started

The exact origin of rodeo is a little fuzzy because no one is entirely sure when cowboys started making their daily chores a competition. Let’s be real though, leave it to men to turn their job into a sport, am I right? But, that’s essentially what happened. A lot of the work that had to be done on the ranch back in the day is the foundation of modern-day rodeo events.

Who Invented Rodeo

The true inventor of rodeo isn’t known, but what we do know is the term “rodeo” comes from the Spanish word, “Rodear”, meaning “roundup” in Spanish. In addition, rodeo in America really started to boom after the Texas Revolution. The early days involved more of the ranch-versus-ranch competition where cowboys from neighboring ranches would compete against each other. This, in turn, led to the evolution of the rodeo that we see today. If we were to name someone who created the first ongoing rodeo that resembles what we attend today, it would be Buffalo Bill, who created the first traveling Wild West Show. In fact, the Wild West Show is what started the Cody Nite Rodeo in Cody, Wyoming! So if you want someone to point fingers at, it may as well be him.

Rodeo History Facts

  • The earliest formal rodeos were claimed to have been held in Prescott, Arizona, on July 4, 1888. After that, Cheyenne Frontier Days in 1897, the Pendleton Round-Up in 1910, and the Calgary Stampede in 1912.
  • American rodeo was heavily influenced by the Mexican event, “charreadas”. Early “rodeos” were often held in the southwest by competing ranches in a mix of Mexican and American.
  • The term “rodeo” wasn’t fully adopted by cowboys and fan goers until around 1945.
  • The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association was founded in
Enjoy the short clip above showing footage from some original rodeos. 🙂

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