Where did the cowboy come from? What about the rodeo ?

February 18, 2009

Where did the cowboy come from?

What about the rodeo ?
Sid Cowboy 002
Everyone loves the cowboys. I wanted to be one when I was 6. (Yes, That’s me above sixty years ago).

Roy Rogers, Hoppy, and Gene Autry were my heroes. But, do you know just how the cowboy and rodeos came to be?

Well here’s the story as told to me from the collective wisdom of a lot of old cowboys and would be cowboys who’ve put their versions on the World Wide Web.

The Spanish invaders brought the horse to the New World. The Indians in Mexico at the time thought the Spaniard Invaders were half man and half beast when they first saw mounted soldiers.

So, due in no small part to the superior fighting power the horse gave the Spaniards they won and so the course of history in the new world was changed forever.

The Spaniards ruled the western part of the new world and the Cow Boy came into existence. The Spanish cowboys were called vaqueros (Vaca is Spanish for “cow” and the man who works the cows is called a vaquero).

Typical cowboy duties like roping, horse breaking and riding skills, herding, and branding were sometimes supplemented just for fun teaching their horses to dance and perform other entertaining tricks And the exhibition of these skills at planned events became the “Rodeo”.

Rodeo (from the SpanishRodea”) means to round up calves for branding traces its roots as an event back to the ranches of the early 1700′s.

As the American migrations went from East to West in the early 1800′s they came into contact with Spanish, Mexican, Californio, and Texican cowboys and they began to merge and adapt their styles and traditions of working their own ranches.

In most of the United States, rodeo now is pronounced with emphasis on the first syllable, ro.

In the USA there is only one place which uses the original Spanish pronunciation and that’s the famous expensive shopping street in Beverly Hills, California called Rodeo Drive with emphasis on the “E” which is pronounced like a long “A “in English.

Now, here’s a neat video of a modern Charro (a type of cowboy) putting his mount through his paces.

Email for more information:
Sid@ChapalaClub.com

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