Main article: Rodeo
word rodeo is from the Spanish rodear (to turn), which means
roundup. In the beginning there was no difference between the
working cowboy and the rodeo cowboy, and in fact, the term
working cowboy did not come into use until the 1950s. Prior to
that it was assumed that all cowboys were working cowboys. Early
cowboys both worked on ranches and displayed their skills at the
The advent of professional rodeos allowed
cowboys, like many athletes, to earn a living by performing
their skills before an audience. Rodeos also provided employment
for many working cowboys who were needed to handle livestock.
Many rodeo cowboys are also working cowboys and most have
working cowboy experience.
The dress of the rodeo cowboy is not very
different from that of the working cowboy on his way to town.
Snaps, used in lieu of buttons on the cowboy's shirt, allowed
the cowboy to escape from a shirt snagged by the horns of steer
or bull. Styles were often adapted from the early movie industry
for the rodeo. Some rodeo competitors, particularly women, add
sequins, colors, silver and long fringes to their clothing in
both a nod to tradition and showmanship. Modern riders in "rough
stock" events such as saddle bronc or bull riding may add safety
equipment such as kevlar vests or a neck brace, but use of
safety helmets in lieu of the cowboy hat is yet to be accepted,
in spite of constant risk of injury.
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