|Rodeo USA (Photo credit: ReneS)|
They say everything is bigger in Texas, and that definitely holds true for this rodeo. Since 1932, Houston has thrilled audiences of all ages with the help of its more than 27,000 volunteers. The Rodeo Houston schedule spans from late February to mid March, with rounds each day leading to a Super Series Championship on the final day. Throughout the rodeo schedule, Houston also hosts concerts and boasts the largest livestock show in the world. During its off season, this organization works to further its mission of promoting research and educational functions in the livestock industry. Since its inception, it has invested a whopping $330 million in youth programs to further its mission.
Canada may not be the first place associated with rodeos, but this festival in Alberta stays true to Western roots. The Calgary Stampede has a rich history, with an agricultural fair dating back over a century and a rodeo beginning in 1912. The rodeo and associated events take place during a ten day festival in July each year. Calgary’s tournament-style rodeo doles out over $2 million in prizes each year, helping it to draw the most skilled athletes in rodeo. The Calgary Stampede Foundation also commits itself to promoting youth development throughout the year.
This Brazilian rodeo, literally meaning “Cowboy Peasant Party” in Portuguese, is hosted each August in Barretos, Sao Paulo. The rodeo began modestly in the 1950s and has gained traction on the transnational rodeo circuit. Ever since the Brazilian Minister of Sport declared rodeo an official sport in 1999, attendance has been steadily increasing at this and other rodeos. Brazilian rodeos are characterized by their fast-paced, excited announcing style, which contrasts sharply with the laid-back announcing at American rodeos. This rodeo also features a well-loved cowboy cooking competition with country music to add to the atmosphere.
Cheyenne Frontier Days, the so-called “Daddy of ‘em All”, is held in late July each year. The rodeo hosts nine performances daily, offering fast-paced and exciting action at any time of the day. One of the oldest rodeos, Cheyenne has hosted the festival since 1897. Since its beginnings, many other events and attractions have been added such as a Native American village, an air show, antique automobile parades, an art show, and more.
Each of these exciting rodeos claims to be the largest in the world, perhaps each using its own metrics to support its superiority. In my opinion, each offers a unique twist on the rodeo concept, and is sure to entertain audiences of all ages.