Since the 19th century, rodeos have been a primary venue in which cowboys can challenge and showcase their skills. As the culture of the cowboy gave way to mechanization a century ago, rodeos evolved into professional sporting competitions and have since become entrenched into the customs of small towns and large cities alike. Rodeo events are enjoyed at all levels, from young children up through high school and college competitions to the adult professional circuits. The popularity of the rodeo offers you many speech topic ideas, ranging from the informative, to the somewhat controversial.
Origins of the Rodeo
While the rodeo became popular in the U.S. only when fewer working cowboys were needed on open ranges, a little digging will unearth roots of the rodeo that run deeper. By tracing the history of Spain's claim to what is now Texas, Mexico's independence from Spain and Texas's own fight for independence, you can also see the evolution of the modern-day cowboy. Your speech can offer an examination of how historic events can influence customs and culture in ways that many people likely do not notice until it is pointed out.
Use your speech to provide a brief description of rodeo events, and the required skills of both the animal and rider in each one. For example, your audience may find it interesting that rodeo barrel racing, which is performed on a horse, is strictly a female event. Other equestrian events including pole bending, bareback and saddle bronc riding, goat tying, steer wrestling and several types of roping, in which a rider mounted on a horse ropes an animal on the ground. Bull riding is performed entirely on a bull.
Treatment of Animals
Ask two different people their opinions on the treatment of rodeo animals and you will likely get two different viewpoints: one concerned with animal cruelty, and the rodeo fan contending that treating rodeo animals cruelly is counter-productive to rodeo success. Rodeo sports are governed by rules like other amateur and professional organized sports. Some factual information about the rules, injury rate, a rodeo animal's "typical day" and veterinarian viewpoints provides significant information for a speech on this topic.
Safety and Headgear
It is not just the safety and well-being of the animals that come into play when discussing the rodeo; the human participants can take a beating in many of the events, especially bull and bronc riding. In addition, there are several other equine sport competitions that are part of rodeo entertainment, including barrel racing and pole bending. Protective headgear is mandatory for many equine sports, yet the world of rodeo seems resistant. In your speech, take a look at some of the dangers inherent in rodeo events, offering statistics on human injuries and whether helmet use could have prevented those injuries without affecting the human athlete's performance.
- Pro Rodeo Online: Rodeo History
- Tom Tower, Owner, One Iron Horse Farm, Dripping Springs, Texas
- Friends of Rodeo: Our History
- RodeoPedia: The Rodeo Encyclopedia
- San Jose State University Faculty: The Origins of the Cowboy Culture of Western America
- Photo Credit Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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