Rodeo, A lifestyle Choice

Go to any rodeo in any small town or large center and listen to the announcer as he fills the time between chutes being opened and the explosive though brief action and you will hear a fair bit about the cowboy, his ancestry and often enough that of the stock as well.

rodeo picture by Trevor Dennis, New Zealand

People who rodeo, live rodeo. They live "country". It isn't about driving down a quarter mile of gravel to your home, or having your nearest neighbour two miles down the road and across a barbed wire fence. It is a state of mind, a conscious decision to live an agricultural lifestyle. It doesn't have anything to do with education or a turning aside from modern technology. In fact, many a cowboy star of today is well versed in state of the art training both for mind and body. They are athletes whose livelihood depends as much on staying healthy enough to ride next weekend as it does "sticking their 8".

Many of the rodeo riders and participants of today are college graduates holding degrees related to agricultural science. A fair few of them are 2nd, 3rd and sometimes even 4th generation rodeo and still work for or even run the family outfit. For some, rodeo is so in their blood they give in to it. As one outrider, bearing a well known family name, has been heard to remark, "born in the back of a wagon, what else will you be but an outrider?"

crossing the finishline in High River, AB

So while most rodeo cowboys embrace the modern world I believe there's a part of them that lives to maintain the traditions and lifestyles of their parents. Others are young men and women, and some not so young as well, who have felt the call of rodeo life and found their way to become a part of this distinct group. They are not special, nor have I met any who consider themselves elitest in any way. Few of them have any difficulty telling when the bullpucky is on the inside of the boots instead of the outside where it belongs. Rodeo gets into a person's blood and once there lends a certain filter to the ways and actions of the people around you as well as the world at large.

That's what living rodeo style is about.