By Kristine Fredriksson
Historian Kristine Fredriksson follows the evolution of rodeo from the variety to Buffalo Bill's Wild West to the extravaganzas nowa days. How a regular, low-paying task turned an leisure that draws hundreds of thousands of spectators is a lesson in American tradition and a narrative that may entice a person who spells "western" with a capital W.
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Additional info for American Rodeo: From Buffalo Bill to Big Business
Gradually, however, rodeo cowboys recognized that the odds were against them as they faced a powerful and well-organized rodeo management with an impressive number of member rodeos adhering to its dicta. By the 1930s, more cowboys than ever were making their living by competing in rodeos, not just entering for a lark. Many participants had long felt cheated by the low prizes offered at most contests. An opportunity to change the situation presented itself in 1932, at the National Western Rodeo in Denver, which the year before had become a part of the Stock Show and Horse Show.
32 This clothing demonstrated the pride the cowboy felt in being able to show off his skills on familiar ground in his home territory. 33 He became a shiftless person, ready to take whatever he Page 17 Three "champs" at Pendleton Round-Up, Pendleton, Oregon, 1915. Left to right: Lee Caldwell, Yakima Canutt, and Jackson Sundown. Riders at the Trinidad, Colorado, Fair, 1910. Page 18 could but prepared to give only what he wanted to give. If all he could get out of rodeo was what he considered a good time, that was what he was going to have.
The Director of the Western Historical Collections, Dr. John A. Brennan, and his staff made every effort to assist me by their generous accommodations, encouraging attitudes, and friendliness. My sincere thanks go to Bob Eidson, executive vice president of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, who seemed never to tire of Page xii my questions, and to his staff, who assisted with much important information and statistics. J. Kelly Riley of the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and Mel Parkhurst of the Wrangler Brand have also been most helpful.
American Rodeo: From Buffalo Bill to Big Business by Kristine Fredriksson