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Rodeo (/ˈroʊdiːoʊ/ or /roʊˈdeɪ.oʊ/) is a competitive sport which arose out of the working practices of cattle herding in Spain, Mexico, and later the United States, Canada, South America, Australia and New Zealand. It was based on the skills required of the working vaqueros and later, cowboys, in what today is the western United States, western Canada, and northern Mexico. Today it is a sporting event that consists of events that involve horses and other livestock, designed to test the skill and speed of the human cowboy and cowgirl athletes who participate. American style professional rodeos generally comprise the following events: tie-down roping, team roping, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding, bareback bronc riding, bull riding and barrel racing. The events are divided into two basic categories: the rough stock events and the timed events. Depending on sanctioning organization and region, other events such as breakaway roping, goat tying, or pole bending may also be a part of some rodeos.
American rodeo, particularly popular today within the Canadian province of Alberta and throughout the western United States, is the official state sport of Wyoming, South Dakota, and Texas. The iconic silhouette image of a "Bucking Horse and Rider" is a federal and state-registered trademark of the State of Wyoming. The Legislative Assembly of Alberta has considered making American rodeo the official sport of that province. However, enabling legislation has yet to be passed.
In the United States, professional rodeos are governed and sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) and Women's Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA), while other associations govern children's, high school, collegiate, and senior rodeos. Associations also exist for Native Americans and other minority groups. The traditional season for competitive rodeo runs from spring through fall, while the modern professional rodeo circuit runs longer, and concludes with the PRCA National Finals Rodeo (NFR) in Las Vegas, Nevada, now held in December.
Rodeo has provoked opposition from animal rights and animal welfare advocates, who argue that various competitions constitute animal cruelty. The American rodeo industry has made progress in improving the welfare of rodeo animals, with specific requirements for veterinary care and other regulations that protect rodeo animals. However, rodeo is opposed by a number of animal welfare organizations in the United States and Canada. Some local and state governments in North America have banned or restricted rodeos, certain rodeo events, or types of equipment. Internationally, rodeo is banned in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, with other European nations placing restrictions on certain practices.
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