There are those great moments when a family outing and cultural enrichment walk hand-in-hand to deliver a unique and completely memorable experience. This was the case a few days ago when my family and I attend the Reno Rodeo on Father’s Day. The rodeo is a great venue for family fun.
The annual Reno Rodeo returned to the Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center and kicked off last Thursday for the 96th time. The Reno Rodeo (as referred to as the RR) is known as the “Wildest, Richest Rodeo in the West” and one of the top five rodeos in North America. RR is a 10-day event features 680 professional athletes competing for $550,000 in prize money. This event financially impacts the Reno/Sparks area economy with $42 million going to local businesses. The RR is a PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) sanctioned event and is nationally televised. RR features different events testing a whole range of skills, from calf roping, steer wrestling, barrel racing, bareback riding, saddle bronco riding, to bull riding and mutton busting.
Sure some of you are wondering what the heck is mutton busting. Mutton busting is a rodeo event where a child, between the ages of 5 and 7, is seated in a riding position atop of a sheep while being contained in a small chute. Once released, the sheep starts to run in an attempt to unseat the child and return to the flock a short distance away. The child that holds on the longest earns a prize, in this case a new pair of Justin cowboy boots.
Bull riding is the most exciting and dangerous of all the events. Due to its popularity and large amount of risk involved, event promoters tend to save it for last. The event requires the rider to remain on the bull for eight seconds and a judge can disqualify contestants for touching the animal with their free hand.
On Saturday, the 2016 Reno Rodeo Parade rode through Midtown on Virginia Street. The parade gives the local cultures a chance to express their diversity and heritage. Tribal communities don traditional Native American Indian regalia and headdresses. Cowboys and Vaqueros show off their finest western wear and mastery of horse riding. Marching bands from the local schools play renditions of current popular songs. While some local businesses and organizations promote their causes by showcasing classic cars and firetrucks.
For us, the Rodeo experience provides exposure to a part of America that we rarely are involved with living in an urban community and we are thankful for opportunity to learn more about the cowboy culture and legacy.
What are some of your rodeo experiences and memories?
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