Rodeo in America
Wranglers, Roughstock, and Paydirt
Wayne S. Wooden and Gavin Ehringer
Rodeo in America celebrates a great national pastime and tradition. Taking the reader "behind the chutes," Wayne Wooden and Gavin Ehringer reveal the essential character of rodeo culture today and show why it retains such a strong hold on the American imagination.
As the authors detail, contemporary rodeo has evolved into a much publicized big-time phenomenon even as it strives to stay close to its fundamental cowboy roots. The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) now sanctions 750 to 800 annual rodeos worth more than $22 million in prize money, attended by nearly 20 million spectators, and watched by millions more on ESPN and TNN. The National Finals Rodeo (NFR) alone offers more than $2 million in prize money and is attended by 170,000 spectators every December in Las Vegas.
“Woven throughout is an accurate portrayal of the occupational folk culture of rodeo cowboys and the mythic significance of these modern-day purveyors of the cowboy code.”
—Montana The Magazine of Western History
“If you want to buy one easy-to-read and entertainingly written book about rodeo, this is the one to get.”
—Cowboy MagazineSee all reviews...
“This fantastic book is a creative and engrossing blend of history and contemporary rodeo life that is authentic, accurate and right on the money.”
—Quarter Horse Journal
“Even if your heroes have never been cowboys, Rodeo in America provides an astute and thorough exploration of the myriad culture elements of the rodeo, and with its deft balance and a steady lasso illuminates this distinctively dusty American subculture.”
—Kansas City Star
“Throughout the book, Wooden and Ehringer present their thoughts much like a good vocal duo; each sings his own tune, but the melodies harmonize well. Wooden’s is an overview giving us the big picture—how, where, and why rodeo has found its place in American society and our culture. Ehringer gives us an up-close and personal look at the cowboys and characters who have had an impact on the sport and on the American public.”
“This is a book to add to your rodeo library, or to start one with.”
—Cowboys & Indians
“In this excellent volume, [Wooden and Ehringer] go behind the scenes to examine the culture of rodeo today. The book is extremely comprehensive, and it is hard to imagine a topic not thoroughly covered. The authors examine the social backgrounds of cowboys, the lifestyle of the amateur and professional rodeo movies. Highly recommended.”
“The definitive book on rodeo near the end of the twentieth century.”
—Randy Witte, publisher of Western Horseman
“Rodeo in America is the most comprehensive, probing look to date at modern rodeo. It takes you behind the chutes to see rodeo firsthand and up close. You’ll learn about the pranks, pain, and joy of going down the road. You’ll meet rodeo cowboys firsthand, from weekend warriors to seasoned NFR pros. Rodeo fans and Western enthusiasts in particular will enjoy rubbing elbows with the performers, judges, clowns, bullfighters, stock contractors, and host of others who give rodeo its excitement and appeal.”
—Richard W. Slatta, author of Cowboys of the Americas
“As America becomes more and more urbanized, fewer and fewer people have an understanding of rodeo, either as sport or as folk entertainment. This book, containing a wealth of behind-the-scenes information, provides the uninitiated with a sense of what rodeo is really like.”
—James F. Hoy, author of Cowboys and Kansas
“Highly recommended. Here is an authentic and engaging book that makes this unique and fascinating American cowboy sport come alive. It presents such a clear and exuberant picture of rodeo that readers may well want to pack up and start ‘on down the road!’”
—Elizabeth Atwood Lawrence, author of Rodeo: An Anthropologist Looks at the Wild and the TameSee fewer reviews...
Filled with telling anecdotes and insightful observations, the authors highlight rodeo's glamour and glory, hazards and hardships, while clarifying its many dimensions as sport, profession, business, community event, family tradition, and pop cultural icon. Bareback and bull riders, calf ropers and steer wrestlers, barrel racers and saddle bronc busters, bullfighters and arena clowns, stock breeders and local organizers, judges and journalists, the famous and aspiring, winners and losers—all are given their due in a work that reflects the enormous allure and demands of rodeo life.
Based on research and interviews conducted at the National Finals, as well as at rodeos large and small in San Francisco, Denver, Houston, Cheyenne, Calgary, Dodge City, Pendleton, and Prescott, among many others, Rodeo in America provides an entertaining and highly readable guide for aficionados and novices alike.