In the good ol' days the cowboy was the glue that held the West together. Ranchers would hire cowboys to keep a watchful eye over the herds on the wide open range. Although the addition of the fenced in herds has removed some of the need for cowboys, you can still see the skills that these old cowboys had by attending a rodeo. Even today cowboys show off their talent with bullriding, using the lasso, and roping and tying steers..
Early History (1850-1900's)
The herding technique was brought over to the New World in the early 15th century by the Spanish and used by Americans who had to control large herds of cattle over a wide open space. The traditional cowboy look didn't come about until after the Mexican-American War in the 1850s.
During the war American soldiers borrowed some of the attire of those to the South, with a few improvements to the look. As you probably already know, this usually means a cooler hat and an outfit that is more for durability, as opposed to flashy colors.
The Cowboy Blues
The lifestyle of a cowboy on the great plains was a lonely one. This isolation is shown through the sad lyrics in cowboy songs and woeful words in cowboy poetry. Near the turn of the century the need for skilled, reliable cowboys was waining and something needed to be done to prevent the exctinction of the cowboy lifestyle.
To keep the rough and tough cowboy alive the Rodeo was invented to let talented individuals display their cattle handling skills in addition to many other additions over the years. The most exciting of all these skill tests is, of course, bull riding. If you don't already know the point of bull riding, the basic object of the sport is to stay on top of a very angry, bucking bull longer than anyone else.
Not only are these bulls ticked off, but the average weight of a adult bull is around 1300-1600 lbs.