Rodeo refers to a competitive sport whose origin is the working practices of cattle herding. Initially in Mexico and Spain, but later in South America, New Zealand, Australia, and the United States. The sport was based on skills needed of working cowboys and vaqueros. The modern version of the Arizona rodeo involves horses and other livestock and is meant to test the speed and skills of cowgirls and cowboys.
Several different events make up professional rodeos in America. Among the commonest ones are saddle bronc riding, barrel racing, bull riding, bareback bronc riding, steer wrestling, tie-down roping, and ream roping. These events are grouped into two key classes. These classes are timed events and rough stock events. Other events such as goat tying, breakaway roping, and pole bending may be include in rodeos. Inclusion depends on location and the sanctioning organization.
In western US and Alberta, Canada, rodeos are the most popular sports. They have even been made the official state sports for states like Wyoming, South Dakota and Texas. In Wyoming, the Bucking Horse and Rider is the trademark registered by the state and federal government. The Canadian province of Alberta has also considered making American rodeo its official sport but the legislation is yet to pass.
In the US, there are two main bodies that sanction and govern professional rodeos. The two bodies are WPRA the short form for Women Professional Rodeo Association and the PRCA the short form for Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association. Collegiate, children, senior, and high school rodeos are under the government of separate bodies. Native Americans and other minority groups have separate bodies that govern them.
PRCA and WPRA are the largest bodies that govern rodeos in the US even though there are several other smaller bodies. PRCA is responsible for governing up to a third of all rodeos held in the country. It crowns World Champions in the final events. WPRA was formed as result of gender bias to level the play field for participants from both genders.
The months of spring through to fall represent the season for competitive rodeos. Conversely, professional rodeo circuit lasts for a longer duration and finals are held during December in Las Vegas, Nevada. Professional, commercial competitions happen in climate-controlled stadiums. Many major television networks usually come to broadcast the whole event. One of the most notable television networks that broadcasts the event is the CBS Sports Network.
Strong criticism ad opposition comes from animal welfare and rights groups against certain competitions encompassed in rodeos. These competitions are considered to be animal cruelty. Involved parties have responded to the criticism and outcry by enacting regulations that require animals to receive good veterinary care.
Despite changes made, some American and Canadian animal welfare organization still oppose the sport altogether. A complete ban or restrictions have been enforced by some state and local governments in the US and Canada on rodeos, certain events, or types of equipment employed. Internationally, rodeos have been completely banned in the Netherlands and the UK. Major restrictions or bans have been imposed by several other European countries.
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