American cowboys needed incredible courage and dexterity in order to subdue a wild steed or bull. It was necessary to throw a lasso around the animal's neck and hold out on its back for a while, not allowing itself to be thrown off. Rodeo is now an official sport very popular in North America. Competitions can be very different, for example, racing on wild bulls (less often on horses), or catching a bull with a lasso.
12 Interesting Facts About Rodeo
- The rider is required to hold on to the animal's back for at least eight seconds, and he can only hold on to it with one hand, the other must be set aside. If this succeeds, the judges give the participant a score. Moreover, not only the skill of the cowboy is assessed, but also the degree of fury of the animal itself.
- The first official competition took place in 1883 in Pecos, Texas. One of the most famous organizers of the time was Bill Buffalo. He attracted not only cowboys to participate in the rodeo, but also the indigenous population of the United States - the Indians.
- There are currently about 5, 000 professional athletes in the United States. The best of them make good money on this dangerous sport, their fees reach $ 100, 000 a year and more. At the same time, treatment, and injuries at the rodeo - a common thing, costs a substantial amount. The largest cash prize, $ 5, 000, 000, is drawn annually in New York, bringing together 120 of the best cowboys from across the country. In the Bill Buffalo era, the cowboy award for a successful performance was around $ 200. As the rodeo participants themselves joked, not bad at all for eight seconds of work.
- North America has about 650 events per year. There are professional athletes not only in the USA, but also in Canada, Mexico, Brazil. The names of the best of them are entered into the Rodeo Hall of Fame. Rodeo is predominantly a male sport, but there are also desperate women competing.
- Not only athletes are selected, but also bulls. They are selected by specialists, and the bulls will then have to undergo training, during which a scarecrow imitating a rider is attached to their backs. Animal activists are actively opposed to rodeos. They are especially outraged by the fact that stun guns are used to increase the aggressiveness of animals.
- Only bulls that are at least three years old are allowed to rodeo. The weight of the animal must be at least 500 kg. The animals are also required to be in excellent health, therefore, they are regularly examined by veterinarians. The Shocker Prohibition Act was passed in 2002 in Brazil.
- Cowboys themselves suffer no less than animals. It is rare to see participants over 30 years old, by this age they have already accumulated so many injuries that they have to think about retirement. Often cowboys lose their fingers, which become entangled in a loop during a fall. Fatalities are also frequent. Interestingly, proposals to add special protective equipment to cowboys' outfit are met with protests from the participants themselves. In their opinion, it will kill the "rodeo spirit".
- In addition to riders, insurers, who are called bullfighters, enter the arena. Moreover, their task includes not only rescuing a cowboy in a difficult situation, but also the need to anger the bull as much as possible in order to make the show even more spectacular. And if the situation got out of control, bullfighters hid in special barrels installed in the arena.
- US President Theodore Roosevelt was a cowboy in his youth and even took part in a rodeo. Even after becoming the head of state, Roosevelt was never shy about this fact from his biography. No wonder Roosevelt is often called America's most famous cowboy.
- A huge profit for the organizers of the competition comes from the sweepstakes, where bets are accepted on the outcome of a duel between a man and an animal. It is not at all easy to predict which of them will be stronger. For example, seven-time US champion Ty Murray was proud that during his performances in the arena he did not have a single whole rib. And Charles Sampson lost his ear, he was torn off by an angry bull.
- Future rodeo participants begin training in childhood. Naturally, 10-12 year old boys are not allowed to compete with a bull. First, they have to hone their skills on rams. However, and they are not as harmless as it might seem, injuries happen quite often.
- Women competed alongside men only until the beginning of the twentieth century, sometimes quite successfully. But, in 1925, the organizers decided to separate them, holding the competition separately. In 1947, the Women's Professional Rodeo Association was founded. Initially, many women did not become "cowgirls" because of a good life: sometimes, after the death of their husband, they had to take care of the household on themselves. Over time, they became real professionals, not inferior in skill to men.