The Rodeo: A True Wyoming Experience
In Wyoming, it doesn’t take long to realize why they call it the Cowboy State. Just look at the Wrangler-clad residents, the license plates and, of course, the most popular sport in the state — rodeo. Almost every town, big or small, hosts a rodeo of
sorts throughout the summer where locals gather to engage in the revelry.
Maybe it’s the culture that surrounds it, or maybe it’s the history behind it, but rodeo is unlike any other sport. Nowhere else can you truly sop up the Wyoming way of life quite like this. With animated announcers and traditional cowboys and cowgirls, any evening at the arena will be a whirlwind of Western charm, skilled horsemanship and riotous entertainment.
Born in the days of cattle and cowboys in the Wild West, rodeo planted its seed in Western culture with groups of cowboys showing off their riding and roping talents, sometimes competing with neighboring outfits. Eventually these get-togethers moved into towns as organized “buckin’ shows” and became increasingly popular.
Learn the Lingo
A “pickup man” isn’t a guy looking for a date, but rather the horseback cowboy in the arena who “picks up” the bronc riders from their horses after a ride.
If someone says “dally” they aren’t telling you to lollygag around and take your time. Instead, “dally” refers to the action of wrapping the end of the rope around the saddle horn immediately after an animal is roped.
A “spinner” is a bull that circles around, spinning and whipping the rider in a flurry. More points are awarded for successful rides on “spinners” that go both left and right.
Dress the Part
You’ll find plenty of Western stores in Wyoming that will be happy to outfit you with authentic Western wear. Make sure to attach an oversized buckle to your big belt. In this case, the bigger the better. Just be sure to leave most of your glittery sparkle at home — here, that belongs to our beloved rodeo queens — plus the rodeo tends to get a little dirty.
Get with the Program
A typical rodeo consists of seven main events. These include bareback riding, tie down roping, team roping, bull riding, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding and barrel racing.