Get Out There
(page 5 of 6)
COWBOY UP AT A RODEO NEAR YOU
Idaho Rodeo Basics
by Colleen Maile photography by Hayseed Photography/Casey McGehee
Idaho loves rodeo. From April to October more than 60 events bring a remnant of the Old West to towns large and small. Entrants range from preschoolers straddling recalcitrant sheep to professionals looking for big buckles and bigger purses. Whether you’re heading for a glitzy top-tier event like Nampa’s Snake River Stampede or watching locals rope and ride for pride in places like Kamiah and Arco, here’s what you ought to know:
The spectacle-seeped sport holds a place in American history. Competitions featuring feats of horsemanship and a way with cattle began on 18th century California cattle ranches. A hundred years later, riding and roping matches provided recreation for cowboys moving dogies from the stockyards of Texas to the railyards of Kansas. When cattle drives faded into history, the contests lived on in Wild West Shows. (Many early rodeo riders doubled as boxers. That’s why buckles resemble those on prizefighters’ belts—or so the legend goes.)
Kids of all ages love the Days of the Old West Rodeo, Hailey, 2012.
Three levels of rodeo are represented in Idaho. The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) stages 15 high-stakes Gem State competitions including the acclaimed Snake River Stampede running July 16-20 (see prorodeo.com--linked to above--for a complete listing). The semi-professional Intermountain Professional Rodeo Association and the amateur Idaho Cowboys Association sponsor or co-sponsor more than 50 competitions. They range in size from Hailey’s Fourth of July rodeo, a showcase attracting more than 5,000 spectators, to the much smaller but equally impressive Custer County Rodeo held July 18 in Challis. And this year the big boys at the Professional Bull Riders Association (PBR) will make a stop in Hailey on July 26.
KIDS AND SPECIAL EVENTS
Special events often make their way into the lineup. Kids take part in stick horse races, goat wrestling and mutton busting, a timed event featuring youngsters riding sheep the length of the arena. Frenzied adults attempt to milk wild cows. Chuckwagon races involve horse-drawn wagons accompanied by riders racing around the arena at a death-defying pace.
Don’t worry about the livestock. Lisa Lappe director of the Intermountain Professional Rodeo Association said, “Every precaution is taken to care for the animals and make sure they aren’t hurt. Bucking horses are probably better cared for than show horses. All the animals are highly valued.”
It’s OK to feel nostalgic, get teary-eyed at the national anthem, grin at the little buckaroo in the chaps and over-sized hat, and root for the good guys—they’re all good guys. You may even come away singing “whoopee ti yi yo” and longing for a simpler life swaying in the saddle, riding through the sage.