The “Way-Back” History of Rodeo

Vaqueros influenced rodeoAlthough Today’s rodeo is considered more of an American tradition, its roots lie in the practices of Spanish and Mexican Ranchers (vaqueros). These cultures included a combination of cattle wrangling and bullfighting which date as far back as the 1500s. The first bullriding most likely originated in Mexico with horse contests (charreadas) where vaqueros would wrestle a steer to the ground by riding up behind it, grabbing its tail and bringing it to the ground. These events were popular and eventually spread in popularity. You would often find these contests at fiestas and festivals in areas of Mexico that now are part of the United States. Even further back in history are accounts revealing that the Ancient Minoans of Crete practiced bull jumping, bull riding, and bull wrestling. Actual “wrestling” of bulls might have even been one of the Olympic sporting events in Ancient Greece.