It brings to mind bucking broncos, 10-gallon hats and comically large belt buckles. But there’s more to this time-tested adrenaline rush than meets the eye. Just witness these 10 surprising facts about rodeo. No bull.
Rodeo stars regularly top seven figures for their ropin’ and ridin’ feats. We’d say that’s absurd, but then again: golf.
1. Rodeo wasn’t actually born in North America. It migrated to the US, Canada, Australia and South America from Spain and Mexico. Guess fighting and running from the bulls just wasn’t enough for them.
2. Rodeo clowns are for real. Their job is to distract the bull by running, jumping and taunting in order to lure it away from cowboys who’ve been bucked. Which is a way more noble cause than terrifying children.
3. There is both a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and a Women’s Professional Rodeo Association. Also, separate locker rooms.
4. In the National Finals Rodeo, Barrel Racing is a women’s-only event. You know, like synchronized swimming and soccer. (We kid, we kid!)
5. Rodeo stars regularly top seven figures for their ropin’ and ridin’ feats. We’d say that’s absurd, but then again: golf.
6. Speaking of big money, the Calgary Stampede requires 6,200 employees to run the 10-day event and generates $345 million in revenue. That’s a lotta toonies and loonies, eh?
7. The birth rate in Calgary spikes each April, nine months after the Stampede. Which just goes to show, there’s nothing like determined men mounting angry cattle to spark bedroom romance. Nothing.
8. Over 200,000 pancakes are served at gratis feasts each morning over the course of the Stampede. So while there’s no such thing as a free lunch, there is a free breakfast.
9. Roping contests derived from the practice of holding down cattle to administer medical treatment. Hey, we get it, we hate needles too.
10. Most of the animals used in rodeos are domesticated and not actually aggressive at all. Well, until you start cracking “rocky mountain oyster” jokes, anyway.