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Photo courtesy Robert A. Cole.
Ranch rodeos hold a special place in the hearts of many cowboys and cowgirls due to the fact that this type of rodeo most accurately depicts the real day to day life of horsemen and the tasks they complete out on their ranches. To spectators coming to watch a ranch rodeo for the first time, it can be difficult to understand the events that take place, which is why it’s important to understand the background of this sport and what makes it unique from professional rodeo. As one can gather from above, a ranch rodeo is not your typical rodeo; this is where working cowboys and cowgirls come together to compete against teams of other ranchers in several events to see who is the best rider, roper and overall ranch hand. The events that take place at ranch rodeos are team branding, team doctoring, team penning, and wild cow milking; some ranch rodeos include bronc riding and wild horse racing. The ranch rodeo as we know it today began when cowboys in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma began competing against one another to see who the best cowboy was in their states.
Photo courtesy of Kendall Pruett Photography.
Unlike the rodeos of today, the individuals who ride in ranch rodeos are not specially trained in a certain event as this is not realistic of ranch life. Instead, competitors of ranch rodeo put an emphasis on teamwork and being well rounded horsemen who can excel in a multitude of areas. While professional rodeo took off and eventually dominated ranch rodeo, many cowboys today still continue to participate in this sport in hopes of keeping this special part of American history alive.
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