A competitive exhibition of the skills of individual cowboys (or cattle-punchers), particularly in riding, that is established as a popular spectacle in North America. The term ‘rodeo’ is from the Spanish rodear (‘to go round’). In its organized form, it originated in the southern and south-west states of the USA in the 1860s and 1870s, established with paying spectators in the 1880s. Its six classic events are calf roping, bull riding, team roping, saddle bronco riding, bareback bronco riding, and steer wrestling. A seventh event, barrel racing, was introduced initially for women riders. Animal rights activists have opposed rodeo, seeing it as a form of cruelty, and professional rodeo organizations have responded by introducing measures to protect the animals. Rodeo has remained popular in the western states of the USA, and in Canada where the showcase event is the Calgary Stampede.
Subjects: Sport and Leisure — History of the Americas.