How to Get Started in Rodeo

By Contributor

Sport rodeo evolved from the common duties and chores of old-time cowboys working cattle ranches in the West. Now, rodeos combine several stand-alone events such as calf roping, bull riding, bronco riding and barrel racing. To get started in rodeo, you will need to develop horse riding skills and choose an event that is right for you.

Set Your Rodeo Goals

Get a full medical check-up. Many rodeo events are hard on the body, so you need to make sure you are healthy enough to participate. Tell your doctor that you are considering getting started in rodeo so she can perform necessary tests.

Decide what level of competition you aspire to. Riding in local rodeos will require much less travel time, less costly equipment and lower entry fees than national competitions will require.

Buy life and health insurance. Rodeo is a dangerous sport, and you could easily find yourself unable to work after only one fall.

Sign Up for a Rodeo School

Choose a rodeo school based on the event you are interested in. Schools tend to focus on either timed events such as calf roping and barrel racing or "roughstock" events like bronco riding and bull riding.

Select a rodeo school that will give you the most one-on-one instruction and actual practice in your event. Request specific feedback from your trainer about each aspect of your performance.

Visit the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) to find out which circuit you are in (see Resources below). The PRCA has organized all of its sanctioned rodeos into circuits defined by geographic area. Choose a rodeo school in your circuit.

Suit Up

Buy yourself a sturdy pair of traditional cowboy boots when you get started in rodeo. Cowboy boots are specially shaped for safety while riding. The narrow toe allows your foot to slide out of the stirrup if you fall. The raised heel allows you to hold your foot firmly in place in the stirrup even while making sharp turns.

Buy a cowboy hat. A hat will keep your hair and sweat out of your eyes, and keep the harsh sun off your head while you practice and compete.

Consider chaps. Chaps over your jeans will help protect your legs from chafing during long practice sessions.

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