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How to be a Rodeo Cowboy or Cowgirl

Steps to becoming a rodeo cowboy or cowgirl


Rodeo is no longer a sport confined to people who live on ranches and lead a rural lifestyle. It is now open to anyone with a competitive spirit and love of excitement. If you think that rodeo is in your blood, and you would like to become a rodeo cowboy or cowgirl, there are a few things you must keep in mind.

Becoming a rodeo cowboy or cowgirl is a rewarding experience, but it does have its dangers. You need to make an honest assessment of your health and your ability, especially if you are going to ride roughstock. Rodeo cowboys and cowgirls need to be in top health due to the demands this sport places on your body.

I recommend doing these things before becoming a rodeo cowboy or cowgirl and beginning your career:

  • Decide what type of competitor you will be and how far you are willing to travel
  • Find a rodeo association that meets your needs
  • Go to a rodeo school or clinic taught by experienced rodeo cowboys and cowgirls
  • Get some insurance
  • Fill out your forms, pay your dues, and ride

Decide what type of competitor you are and your travel preferences- Most of us can't pick up everything and hit the trail. So thankfully the PRCA has developed the circuit system for the 'weekend warrior' cowboy. Cowboys and cowgirls can stay close to home and still be a serious competitor. The circuits have their own finals and reward systems. Find out what circuit you fall under by clicking the circuit list.

There are also numerous state, and even sometimes county level, associations that might fit your needs. I spent a year in the CCPRA (California Cowboys Pro Rodeo Assoc.) before joining the PRCA. It was a great experience and allowed me to learn the ropes before joining the major national association. I will attempt to put together a comprehensive list as time goes on. There are literally thousands of local associations out there. A few are listed in the associations page.

Go to a rodeo school or clinic- Rodeo is learned by doing. There is no substitute for experience. If you don't have the advantage of having a rodeo cowboy or cowgirl in your family, then you need to go to rodeo school. Often taught by championship cowboys, these schools are a great way to try rodeo in a perfect learning environment. There are a few schools that hold numerous classes around the country. This is perhaps the most important step of beginning a rodeo career and becoming a cowboy or cowgirl. For cowboys who want to ride roughstock, I recommend Sankey Rodeo Schools. I have had some personal experience with them and they are a great outfit. Check out my Rodeo Schools category for more information.

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