“It is not more bigness that should be our goal. We must attempt, rather, to bring people back to the warmth of community, to the worth of individual effort and responsibility… and of individuals working together as a community, to better their lives and their children’s future.”
Robert F. Kennedy
The world of rodeo and word “community” go hand-in-hand. With roots dating back to America’s agricultural and ranching past, rodeo has continued to pave-the-way for the preservation and protection of a lifestyle that is still relevant in our modern world. While modern advancements have changed the course of America’s Western Heritage, the love for this lifestyle continues to thrive through the sport of rodeo. Along with the hard work that goes into our beloved sport comes a strong sense of community, but what exactly is our favorite western past-time doing to promote this sense of community? Cowboy Lifestyle Network is proud to tell you.
Rodeo found its roots in the cattle industry in the American West when skills of working cowboys on the range were put to the test during competitive contests. As popularity caught on, the sport of rodeo was born into communities across the United States. Many of today’s rodeos have roots dating back to these early ranch competitions and have been kept alive by the dedicated rodeo committee’s that support them. However, no rodeo is possible without the support of its community.
While the broncs and bulls are exciting to watch, 8 seconds in the arena isn’t quite enough time to make a lasting societal impact on a community. Because of this, many rodeo committees throughout the United States have taken the sport of rodeo to the streets through sponsorship, donation, scholarship, and volunteerism.
One of the various ways rodeo promotes community is through education. It is not uncommon to find rodeo queens in the classroom during rodeo week, sharing presentations on the ins and outs of rodeo events, western tack, cowboy and cowgirl attire, ranching history, and the importance of America’s western heritage. A peak into the wild west, for some students, this is the first introduction they have had to this integral part of American history. Through education on the past, we can positively influence the present, protect the future of rodeo and educate our youth on the importance of hard work and perseverance.
Many rodeo committees also have the privilege of supporting local education through scholarship opportunities for local high school students. Whether it be through FFA involvement, community service, or simply recognizing the outstanding character of a local student, many rodeos across the county make a point to give back to those within their community. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo alone has committed more that $475 million dollars in scholarship money to the youth of Texas since its first rodeo in 1932 (www.rodeohouston.com).
Rodeo thrives through the hands-on experience it creates for its visitors. With a focus on family, kid’s rodeos including events such as Mutton Bustin,’ invite local children to compete in, learn about, and participate in the thrill of the wild west. Many rodeos also present special rodeos catered to children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities, making sure every community member has the opportunity to enjoy the full cowboy experience.
You can research rodeo’s societal impact by exploring the charities supported by rodeos through donation and volunteerism. Local and national charities alike benefit greatly from the sport of rodeo. Whether a rodeo donates to a nation-wide campaign like Wrangler’s Tough Enough to Wear Pink Organization, funding Breast Cancer research, to smaller local charities benefiting families in need, rodeo has the unique platform to create change. From Breast Cancer Awareness, Domestic Violence Awareness, to Veteran support, themed rodeo performances often raise money for and donate to local and country-wide charities. Through such philanthropic acts, rodeo is able to involve its community in a praise-worthy cause.
Whether at town council meetings, local cultural festivals, fundraising activities, or in the class room, rodeo committees are dedicated to the promotion of rodeo’s western heritage and the strengthening of their communities. Rodeo is proud to bring people together one bucking bull at a time.
Cowboy Lifestyle Network encourages you to check out the local rodeos in your area and see how you can be involved!
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