The history of rodeos originally began from the tradition of Wild West shows. These shows, which first began in the 1870's, featured life on the American frontier as demonstrated by cowboy performers. For over forty years, these acting troupes would travel all across the country (and internationally) to entertain folks with incredible rodeo stunts and tricks. Some of the most famous figures include "Buffalo Bill", who founded Buffalo Bill's Wild West in 1883, and Bill Pickett, who was born in what is now Georgetown, Texas. By 1915, Buffalo Bill's Wild West shows had dwindled after a hard hit to the American economy but the spirit of the Western Country remained prevalent in film throughout Hollywood's rise.
The first known rodeo, as used for competition among real cowboys, in the state dates all the way back to 1883 in Pecos, Texas. The Texas Rodeo Hall of Fame even claims this rodeo in West Texas to be the world's first! Ranchers and cowboys across the state began to compete in an assortment of cattle herding challenges to earn their notoriety. As other rodeos began being held in the Wild West, more competitions developed and flourished. Some of these contests included steer roping, bull riding, and bronco riding. Today, you can typically find these eight traditional events: rodeo bareback riding, steer wrestling, saddle bronco riding, tie down calf roping, ladies breakaway, team roping, ladies barrel racing, and bull riding. These "roundups" continue to inspire audiences around the world and show the incredible heritage rooted in early American cattle herding.