The First Rodeos

the-first-rodeosThere has been much debate on where the first rodeo was held. In 1983, Pecos, Texas celebrated the 100th birthday of what was called “The World’s First Rodeo.” However, the next year, Payson, Arizona celebrated its centennial in 1984 as the “oldest annual continuous rodeo.” Finally, Prescott, AZ recently made their claim as “The World’s Oldest Rodeo” (taking out a trademark on the title) and even provided a 200-page book by Danny Freeman to support their claim. However, the true first rodeos did not begin as sporting events; they were an essential part of cattle-ranching in the early 1800s, especially in areas that had a lot of Spanish influence. These rodeos began shortly after the Texas Revolution and the U.S. Mexican War. There was even a law that “every owner of a stock farm shall be obliged to give, yearly, one general Rodeo, within the limits of his farm, from the first day of April until the thirty-first day in August…in order that parties interested may meet, for the purpose of separating their respective cattle.”