Learn English – Rodeo riding, an American sport

I have lived most of my life on the East Coast of America. So I have never seen rodeo riding, a sport involving horses and ‘cowboys’.  But it is VERY popular.

Hey there. Do you know that competing in rodeos is an American sport? Just what is a rodeo? 

(Intro: English without Fear where you can learn to speak English naturally, through listening to stories)

The extreme sport of being a rodeo rider goes back many, many years. Rodeo riding has been around as long as cows and bulls and horses have been around. In places like the American West or Mexico or western part of Canada, Argentina and parts of Australia rodeo riding is very popular. 

What happens? What does a rider do? And what does a rider ride? Well, you can tell from the picture that we’re talking about horses. So, a rodeo rider is a boy or girl, man, or woman who rides a horse and competes in seven different events. 

One of them, or several, have to do with circling a rope and throwing it so that it goes around the neck of an animal, to capture an animal. You can imagine how this would be useful, being able to capture or lasso an animal, if you worked on a ranch. 

What is a ranch? You have probably heard of farms, right? Farms are where there are animals and animals are raised for food, like pigs and cows and sheep. But it’s mostly…… it’s also a place to grow crops, to grow corn and tobacco and alfalfa and lots and lots of other vegetables. A ranch is for the raising of livestock, of cattle.

The cow is the mother, the female, and the bull is the daddy or the male. And their babies are calves. So, when you are on a ranch, you’re raising cattle, cows, and bulls and sheep, and you have lots and lots of them. You have to herd them. You have to gather them in and you gather them in with dogs and horses and people on horseback. 

The sport of rodeo came out of every-day-life on a ranch. It became popular in America. The first official main rodeo started in the year, 1888 in Arizona, in the town of Prescott, Arizona on July 4th, America’s Independence Day. And every year there have been rodeo competitions there in Arizona and all over the West:Texas, New Mexico, California, Colorado…… places like that.

People compete for both trophies and the money. What kind of trophy do you get, if you win a rodeo? You get a belt buckle. Yes, a big, big belt buckle. These become collector items, as you can see in the pictures. 

People compete for the money, of course. Where does the money come from? Usually when you want to compete, you have to pay a fee to enter into the competition. The prize money comes from the entrance fees. Usually a town and maybe some businesses in the town will sponsor the rodeo. They will pay for the setup, the advertising, that kind of thing. 

What is necessary is a fenced-in arena, a dirt-covered area that has a fence around it. The arena can be inside or outside. This is also a gathering place for many spectators. People like to come and watch:  all ages, little kids, adults, men, and women, families. It’s a great family, spectator sport. 

And of course with every sport, there is food. There is lots and lots of food. Uh, I have to read this sentence to you. I wrote it down. It goes like this. “If it’s ooey, gooey, fried, and chewy, you can find it at the rodeo”. 

‘Ooey, gooey’ just means that it’s stringy. And it’s rich, fried, dipped in oil and cooked in oil. Um, you can understand that. So, when I looked up typical rodeo foods, there were all sorts of desserts, ooey gooey desserts. 

There were these hot dogs, not in a bun with bread, but encased in potato swirls. Take a look at the picture. 

And then one that sounds very typically American. It was, um, bacon, macaroni which is a pasta, and cheese in an eggroll…… fried. Very rich, very bad for your health, but I’m sure it tastes good.

So, that’s a bit about rodeos. They’re done…. they’re held mostly in the summer. And this year, despite COVID, the rodeos have been happening because they take place outside. I don’t know if people are wearing masks. I don’t know if they’re standing six feet apart, but at least it’s outside.

Have you ever heard of this sport –  rodeo riding, competing in a rodeo? Tell me, leave me a comment below this video. And remember if you would like the words, the written transcript for today’s episode. Just go to my website, www.englishwithoutfear.com. That’s it for this story. I’m Maria from English without fear. Talk to you next time. 

(Outro: Thanks for watching. For questions or comments, here’s my email.)



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