Buckle up and strap on your boots. The NILE rodeo is ready and waiting for you.
It's three nights of cowboys proving themselves in the arena. As the history of rodeo goes, it all began when ranchers gathered to earn bragging rights by competing in events reflective of work on the range.
Bareback and saddle bronc originated from taming wild horses so they could be ridden for work. It's a display of determination to stay on the back of a bucking horse that you don't want to miss.
When a cowboy bails off a horse at top speed to wrestle a steer it's called what it sounds like--steer wrestling. Speed and strength win this event. Whoever is fastest and strong enough to stop the forward momentum a 600 lb steer wins. This event was modified for rodeo from the ranch work of stopping rouge, escaping animals.
Agriculture is closely related to rodeo because the sport developed from ranching--a production ag lifestyle. Working cowboys raise animals, mostly cattle, to become food for the world. Taking care of those animals is first and foremost. Team roping and tie-down roping are modified for competition from doctoring. Ranchers used these methods to capture and hold down animals so that they could administer medicine while out in the vast pastures.
Tie-down roping consists of a cowboy roping a calf, dismounting the horse and tying three legs together in the quickest manner possible.
Team roping is a two person event. It's organized chaos of 16 legs and five brains (two people, two horses and one steer). A header (cowboy that catches the horns) and a heeler (cowboy that catches the back two feet) rope a steer nearly simultaneously as a team for this event. The fastest time also wins in this event.
Don't forget about the cowgirls. These ladies have a need for speed and their event is barrel racing. The mount of choice for ranchers is a quarter horse, known for quickness, agility and speed. Barrel racing is a way to earn bragging rights for having the most athletic horse--definitely a necessity out on range.
If you look up the definition of cowboy, reckless and wild are usually in the description. They get this reputation from the event called bull riding. Much like today, back in days of the old west, young men needed a way to demonstrate their toughness and so bull riding was established. Basically a dare, cowboys taunted each other to strap themselves to a big, bad bull and hold on for dear life. Making it to eight seconds and scoring the highest points confirms who is the toughest cowboy.
Rodeo is a wild and unlike any other sport. It originated from work and now is a tribute to a truly american icon--the cowboy. The NILE works to preserve and embrace the western way of life and rodeo is a part of that. If you want a glimpse of how cowboys do it, get yourself to the rodeo arena.
The NILE has three PRCA
performances, Thursday, Friday and Saturday starting at 7 p.m. each night in the MetraPark First Interstate Bank Arena. Check out the links below for a description of each night's theme.
Tickets can be purchased by calling the NILE office (406) 256-2495 or going to the MetraPark box office website.