Whether you’re a country bumpkin or a city slicker, it’s hard not to love a
rodeo. With great food, exciting events, and plenty of entertainment, you’re sure to enjoy yourself wherever you go. Check out one of these rodeos during your travels for an old fashioned good time.
San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo:
The San Antonio Rodeo often plays second fiddle to Houston’s, but it’s not to be discounted. This event has grown to award $64 million to students. Most recently, the rodeo was expanded to include more retail access and accommodate its growing attendance, which reached 1.1 million in 2005.
Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association National Finals in Las Vegas:
The National Finals Rodeo is often referred to as the World Series of Rodeo, and it’s for a good reason. This event goes on for 10 days and crowns eight world champions in the categories of bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, bull riding, and barrel racing.
Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo:
The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is the world’s largest rodeo event. An average of 2 million people attend each year, and enjoy 20 days of carnival rides, concerts, barbeque competitions, sales, and much more. This rodeo is a good example of what happens when rodeo and a huge metropolitan city meet, resulting in millions of dollars in revenue for the city as well as scholarships. RodeoHouston has hosted music legends including Elvis Presley, George Strait, and Selena.
World’s Oldest Rodeo:
The Prescott Frontier Days rodeo is the oldest in the world, and has been nominated twice as the Medium Sized Outdoor Rodeo of the Year. This event in Prescott, Arizona, has been held since 1888, and only continues to get bigger.
National Western Stock Show:
This stock show in Denver, Colorado, is the largest in the world, and highlights include entries like Paint Horses and the Draft Horse
Show & Pull. The National Western Rodeo has won the honor of multiple Indoor Rodeo of the Year titles.
Australian Bushmen’s Campdraft & Rodeo:
This Australian rodeo features campdrafting, a tactic in which the rider cuts and guides a steer away from its pack and through a gate, exercising an extreme amount of control over the animal from a mounted horse. Other events at this rodeo include bull riding, saddlebronc, breakaway roping, and steer undecorating. This particular rodeo features more female events than most, with a total of 3.
Professional Bull Riders World Finals:
This is another Vegas event that’s one to watch. These bull riders compete in high stakes rides, attempting to stay on a bucking bull for 8 seconds, while simultaneously impressing the judges with their performance. Total prize money for this league has reached over $10
million in recent years.
The Grand National Rodeo, Horse & Stock Show
This springtime event in San Francisco is a great urban rodeo with a fun carnival, musical performances, and a beauty pageant featuring women who compete in other rodeo events. While at the rodeo, you can enjoy art, wine, shopping, and more.
International Gay Rodeo Association Finals:
The International Gay Rodeo Finals take place in Denver, Colorado, and features loads of social activities as well as an
international dance competition featuring competitiors from around the country. Rodeo events include bull riding, chute dogging, roping events, camp events, and speed events like barrel racing. Of course, a crowd favorite is the Wild Drag Race, in which competitors dressed in drag costumes pull a wild steer towards the finish line.
The charreada events in Mexico are much like American
rodeos. It primarily consists of horsemen in teams competing against each other in a number of scoring events. Although winners do not receive cash winnings like Americans do, they often receive prizes like saddles and horse trailers. Jalisco is known for its charros, and has won more national championships than any other state.
Southwest Exposition Livestock Show and Rodeo:
This legendary rodeo in Fort Worth, Texas, features extreme bull riding, great performances, a carnival, shopping, and more. It even
has a petting zoo so kids can see farm animals up close and personal. The event goes on for a full three weeks. In 2004, the rodeo set a record with 24,000 head of livestock and sales that generated more than $4.3 million.
Lauglin River Stampede:
This intimate rodeo is a high quality hometown rodeo experience. It has a large amount of prize money available for competitors, so
it attracts top quality cowboys and cowgirls. If you’re looking for a great show without the big crowds, this rodeo is for you.
Cheyenne Frontier Days:
This long-standing outdoor rodeo in Cheyenne, Wyoming, is the
largest of its kind, centered around the Fourth of July and drawing around 300,000 visitors each year. Cheyenne Frontier Days features rodeo events, a fair, and a free pancake breakfast.
Mesquite Championship Rodeo:
This rodeo in Mesquite, Texas, was founded as a permanent rodeo in 1958 and has grown to attract many visitors from Dallas. Mesquite’s rodeo has a family feel to it, with a majority of families in the audience. Events include chuckwagon races, cowboy poker, bareback riding, bull riding, barrel racing, steer wrestling, and more. Attendance is estimated to be over 200,000.
Festa do Peão de Boiadeiro:
The Cowboy Festival in Barretos is an American-style Brazilian rodeo featuring cowboys in “entourages” who compete to see who can ride the most spirited horses and bulls. The attendance for this event is the largest in Brazil, but at a capacity of 35,000, it’s much more intimate than most of the American rodeos we’ve highlighted here.
Fiesta de los Vaqueros:
This Tuscon rodeo features a parade that’s believed to be the world’s longest non-motorized parade, with coaches, folk dancers, riders, floats, and much more. The rodeo itself attracts more than 650 contestants to compete in events like barrel racing, bull riding, team roping, and saddle bronc riding.
Air Mobility Rodeo:
Although the Air Mobility Rodeo is completely different than the other rodeos on this list, it’s easy to understand why it deserves to be denoted awesome. This event attracts military flight units from
the US and around the world to test and compete in air tactics. Although it has been on hold in recent years due to the war on terror, the rodeo is back on now, and it attracted more than 40 teams last year.
Reno, Nevada’s rodeo provides an intimate setting for exciting rodeo action. This event includes Xtreme bulls, a pageant, childrens’ mutton rides, an amateur team roping, and more.
College National Finals Rodeo:
The College National Finals Rodeo is the place to be if you
want to see the rodeo stars of tomorrow. You’ll see some of the best young atheletes in the country and support over 3,500 student atheletes from 135 schools.
Rocky Mountain Stampede:
The Rocky Mountain Stampede, also known as the Greeley
Stampede, is the world’s largest Fouth of July rodeo, ranked in the top 10 rodeos according to purse size. Featuring top cowboys and entertainers, this rodeo is lots of fun. It also boasts a demolition derby, with car crashing fun.
Australian Professional Rodeo National Finals:
The Australian Professional Rodeo National Finals are held in Sydney, and include events for men, women and children including barrel racing, bareback bronc riding, a steer ride, and team roping.
The American Royal in Kansas City, Missouri, is held over eight weeks and features barbeque competitions, equestrian events, agricultural
activities, and a livestock show. The rodeo has an economic impact of over $62 million and is ranked in the top 5 rodeos in the nation.
The Calgary Stampede:
The Calgary Stampede, also known as The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, is one of Canada’s largest annual events, with concerts, competitions, exhibitions, chuckwagon races, and much more. The rodeo features six major events: barrel racing, saddle bronc, steer wrestling, tie-down roping, bareback, and bull riding. The purse for this event totals more than $1.6 million.
Dodge National Circuit Finals:
In this rodeo, local cowboys and cowgirls from Pocatello, Idaho, can compete to win the Circuit Finals. It consists of 12 circuits and ends with national titles.
Old Fort Days Rodeo:
The Old Fort Days Rodeo in Fort Smith, Arkansas, is full of fun, with great cowboys, lots of prize money, and exciting events. You’ll see
calf roping, wild horse racing, bill riding, and barrel racing, just to name a few. One of the highlights of the show is the Old Fort Days Dandies, a precision riding team made up of high school girls with great horsemanship
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