If you want to see the real Wild West during a holiday to America, then pull your hat down tight and go on the ride of your life by visiting a rodeo, complete with bucking broncos and the cowboys and cowgirls brave enough to tame them.
The rodeo has been a long-standing tradition in the US, growing out of the cattle industry in the American West back in the sixteenth century. Now a popular sporting event, people from across the US travel the length and breadth of the country to watch cowboys show off their skills.
The US is blessed with a range of amazing rodeos that people can visit, such as the World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo, which is taking place in August. Members of the crowd will be hootin’ and hollerin’, but there is so much more to a rodeo!
Here we take you through the very best rodeos you can visit in America.
1. World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo, Arizona
As the name suggests, the World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo, which is organised by the Payson Pro Rodeo in Arizona, is the oldest continuous rodeo in the world and has been running for a staggering 132 continuous years.
The rodeo has previously been named the “Best Small Town Rodeo” and every year thousands of people flock to Payson for a full-on western experience and to see the strong rodeo heritage that still remains.
This year’s event takes place from 18th-20th August and this traditional rodeo show allows visitors to sit back and enjoy all the thrills the cowboys and cowgirls will bring you.
2. Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, Nevada
Taking place from 1st-10th December 2016, the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo is the sport’s richest and most prestigious rodeo and is a honeypot site for fans who live for roping and riding.
The 10-day event is famed nationwide for the incredible prize: 15 of the most courageous riders are pitted against each other as they compete for a multi-million dollar purse.
The fact that the rodeo is held at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas means it is an extremely popular event, and for over 20 years it has sold out every time.
3. Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Texas
The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is regarded as the biggest rodeo in the world, often attracting over two million visitors every year over the 20 days of the show.
The primary aim of the event is to promote the breeding and raising of livestock, but the 20 plus championship rodeo competitions are the main draw, as well as the music superstars who draw the event to a close, previously including the likes of Elvis Presley and Taylor Swift.
4. La Fiesta de los Vaqueros Tucson Rodeo, Arizona
The La Fiesta de los Vaqueros Tucson Rodeo features a vast array of events from bull riding and barrel racing to steer wrestling and team roping.
The rodeo usually attracts close to 700 cowboys and cowgirls as well as more than 200,000 fans every year. The main event is considered to be the parade, which features historic horse-drawn carriages, western-themed floats, Mexican float dancers and more.
5. Reno Rodeo, Nevada
Reno Rodeo is dubbed the “Wildest, Richest Rodeo in the West” and the 10-day event often attracts over 140,000 fans.
Events include bull riding, mutton bustin, team roping, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding and lots more. The Reno Rodeo will be taking place from 15th-24th June in 2017.
6. Mexican Rodeo San Antonio, Texas
The Mexican Rodeo San Antonio, or San Antonio Charros as it is also known, is different to the other rodeos on this list as it is a traditional Mexican rodeo.
The event, which usually takes place at the end of April, features beautiful synchronized horse riding and the dangerous roping and bull riding, as well as the Pass of Death routine, a daring feat where a rider mounts a horse at full gallop.
Visitors to the day-long event can also enjoy a range of ranchera music and can learn about the history of the Mexican rodeo which predates the birth of the American cowboy.
7. Ellensburg Rodeo, Washington
With its beginnings dating back to 1923, this historic rodeo has gone from a local competition among ranch hands to a professional event that sees over 600 cowboys and cowgirls take part for prize money that can reach up to $400,000.
The arena is considered by many to be the best in the US and is one of the many reasons why so many people attend this fun-filled weekend.
If you want to see the best ropers, riders and wrestlers compete in a number of competitions, then you should head to the Ellensburg Rodeo at the beginning of September.
8. Caldwell Night Rodeo, Idaho
The Caldwell Night Rodeo began back in 1935 and has been featured on national television.
Over the five nights of the event, which is taking place this month, the best professional cowboys in the world compete in a number of events from bareback riding and saddle bronc riding to bull riding and barrel racing.
With the added night time feeling, this rodeo is certainly a must-visit.
9. Pendleton Round-Up, Oregon
The Pendleton Round-Up rodeo draws over 50,000 visitors to the centre of Oregon’s rodeo country.
It is one of the biggest rodeos in the country and its roots date back as far as 1910. The event includes some fascinating competitions such as wild cow milking, brahma bull riding and Indian relay races.
If you are heading on a fly-drive holiday in the USA in September, then you should try to visit this rodeo as it takes place on 14th-17th September this year.
10. The Greeley Stampede Rodeo, Colorado
This classic rodeo includes all the traditional events, such as bull riding, and if the cowboys haven’t made your head spin, then the carnival that runs alongside the rodeo is well worth a visit.
The 2017 Greeley Stampede Rodeo will be taking place on 23rd June-4th July and like every year a number of well-known country and western artists are expected to perform. In the past, country singers such as Chris Janson and groups like Lady Antebellum have performed at the rodeo.