American Rodeo was originated in the early 1700's when the Spanish still occupied the western part of the country. Spanish cattlemen, known as vaqueros, wore the clothes and performed similar duties as the contemporary American cowboys. The vaqueros rode horses, branded animals, herded cattle, and did a lot of roping. Many of these duties have been integrated into modern rodeo events to this day.
When America expanded westward in the 1800's, the pioneers incorporated the dress and techniques of the Spanish and Mexican ranchers. They raised the cattle that fed Americans during the 19th century, and had to travel around the country sending the cattle for consumption. During these long journeys, these American cowboys would have competitions to see who was the best herder, roper and rider. These competitions led to Wild Wild West shows formed by legends like Buffalo Bill Cody, which was the forerunner to what we know today as the modern rodeo competitions.