The History Of Rodeo Revealed
The Spanish InfluenceSpanish cowboys and ranchers had an enormous influence on the birth of rodeo as a sporting event. In fact, many of the competitions in today's professional rodeo are variations of the normal chores performed by those cowboys and ranchers during their daily routine. Each day, they would need to break new horses, herd cattle (often wrestling them in order to brand them) and rope steer. Even though many people consider rodeo to be the creation of Americans, it was adopted from the Spanish cowboy culture.
Pickett's LegacyBill Pickett is widely-considered the father of modern steer wrestling. Pickett introduced a unique method of bulldogging (jumping from a horse onto a steer and twisting the steer's horns to wrestle it to the ground). At one of his bulldogging events, an agent approached him, impressed with his method and skills. Pickett signed a contract that led he and his brothers throughout the West, performing his bulldogging techniques in front of astonished crowds. In doing so, he effectively popularized steer wrestling. Many rodeo enthusiasts believe that if it weren't for Pickett, today's rodeo would not include steer wrestling.
After World War IIEven before the Second World War, organizations had begun to emerge to govern the sport of rodeo. The Rodeo Association of America (RAA) and Cowboys Turtle Association (CTA) were arguably the most aggressive and powerful of the lot. After World War II ended, RAA and CTA joined forces to create the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA). They quickly assumed control of the industry and formed the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) during which the reigning world champions were declared.
Due to the nature of the industry at the time, the rulings and standards set by the PRCA were unbalanced in favor of white males. Splinter organizations began to form including the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA). The purpose of the WPRA was to promote the inclusion of women in the sanctioned rodeo events. Over the next few decades, the WPRA struggled to bring the purse money prizes for women's events to the same level as men's events. In 1997, a threatened strike led the industry to offer equal purse money for both genders.