Wild, Wild West
Kicking Back Cowboy Style - A History of Rodeos

Kicking Back Cowboy Style - A History of Rodeos
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 3 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   4.11

     challenging words:    bucking, criss-crossed, feisty, highlight, poetic, promoter, Rodear, refused, grip, buzz, bull, lifestyle, whoa, based, traveled, spicy
     content words:    Wild West, Buffalo Bill Cody, Buffalo Bill, Cowboy Turtles Association, Rodeo Cowboys Association, Little Britches Rodeo Association

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Kicking Back Cowboy Style - A History of Rodeos
By Colleen Messina

1     Eight, seven, six....BUZZ! The bucking bronco ride is over before you can say "whoa!" Most fans like to watch cowboys riding on horses. Others like to watch cowboys popping off! Rodeos have something for everyone!
2     Why are bucking bronco rides so short? Horses get tired. Bucking takes lots of energy! So after 8 seconds, horses can't buck as well. The "eight second rule" keeps horses feisty! Bucking bronco rides are only a part of the rodeo. Other events are bull riding and barrel racing. There are a total of seven main events in a modern rodeo.
3     The word "rodeo" comes from a Spanish word. Rodear means "round up." Cowboys heard this word from Spanish cowboys. It meant to herd cows before a cattle drive. The English word "rodeo" was not used until 1916. Rodeo events are based on real cowboy skills.
4     The sport of rodeo has a rich history behind it. It all began when the Spanish ruled the West in the 1700s. American cowboys met Spanish cowboys. Americans adopted some things from the Spanish cowboys, including the word for rodeo. Add a little chili, a fire, and a starry night, and you had the perfect cowboy lifestyle. Sounds poetic, doesn't it?
5     Even so, cowboys felt lonely. They rode for days. The trails were dusty. The weather was hot. They had fun roping cows. They liked breaking horses. Branding cows added fire to their days. Spicy chili and cowboy coffee tasted good. But that was small pay for weeks on the trail. Cowboys wanted to kick back. "Kicking back" meant bronco riding! Cowboys had contests. These contests were the beginnings of rodeo.

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