Get Your Kids Started in Rodeo: A Comprehensive Guide

Are you looking for a comprehensive guide to getting your kids involved in rodeo?

Rodeos are an exciting way to teach children responsibility and teamwork while they have fun.

From finding the right rodeo organization or club to equipping them with the necessary gear, and understanding different types of events, and the costs associated with them – there is much to consider when introducing your child to this sport.

In this article, we will provide helpful tips on how parents can get their children started in rodeo safely and successfully.

What is Rodeo?

Rodeo is a competitive sport that originated in the United States during the late 19th century. Many rodeos around the country claim that they are the “oldest” rodeo, and the Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo is one of them.

Rodeo is the original extreme sport and involves riding and roping livestock, such as horses, bulls, and steers.

The goal of rodeo is to complete an event in the fastest time possible while also displaying skill and control over the animal being ridden or roped.

Rodeos are typically held outdoors at arenas or other open spaces where spectators can watch from stands or bleachers.

Competitors must wear protective clothing such as helmets, vests, gloves, boots, and spurs when participating in the following events:

  • Bareback bronc riding
  • Steer wrestling (also known as bulldogging)
  • Calf roping (also known as tie-down roping)
  • Team roping (also known as heading & heeling)
  • Barrel racing
  • Saddle Bronc riding, and the most exciting of all
  • Bull riding

From the participant to the spectator, safety is critical. So, it’s essential that all participants follow safety guidelines set by their respective rodeo clubs and organizations.

For kids who want to participate in rodeo events, it is essential that they have all of the necessary safety equipment, including:

  • Helmets with face guards/masks
  • Padded vests
  • Gloves
  • Long-sleeved shirts
  • Chaps
  • Boots designed specifically for children’s feet size

Additionally, kids participating in a rodeo must be properly trained in advance on how to handle animals safely prior to competing.

Benefits of Rodeo for Kids:

Rodeo is a great way to teach kids responsibility, respect for animals, sportsmanship, and teamwork.

It also helps them develop physical strength and coordination as well as mental focus and discipline. Participating in rodeo events can help children build confidence in their abilities while providing an opportunity to have fun with friends.

One of the biggest benefits of rodeo for kids is that it teaches them how to care for animals responsibly. Kids learn about proper handling techniques, nutrition, grooming, and safety protocols when working with horses or other livestock used in rodeos.

Young woman barrel racing.

Participating in rodeos gives children the chance to physically test themselves by competing against others at various events like barrel racing or calf roping.

Competing in events allows them to challenge themselves mentally and set goals for themselves to improve in their sport. Working toward these goals through practice and dedication can help them in other situations outside the arena too.

Taking part in rodeos requires a financial investment from parents. However, this cost can be offset by scholarships offered through local colleges and organizations like 4-H Clubs or Future Farmers of America (FFA).

Scholarships provide funding for needed equipment such as saddles, ropes, entry fees, and travel expenses so that all kids have access regardless of their family’s financial situation.

Rodeo can be a great way for kids to learn new skills, have fun and make lasting friendships. By finding the right rodeo club, children can get involved in this exciting sport and reap all of its benefits.

Participating in rodeos can help develop physical strength through horsemanship skills such as balance and coordination. Caring for their own horse or other livestock used during competitions teaches them responsibility. The animal becomes your kid’s partner in a competition where trust and affection between humans and animals are formed.

Rodeos also help kids build confidence through mastering difficult tasks like staying atop a bucking horse or lassoing a calf within seconds which requires quick thinking in pressure situations.

A great place for kids to start in the exciting world of rodeo is for parents to enter their children in a mutton-busting event.

Mutton Busting Event

It’s an activity that allows children as young as four years old to experience the thrill of riding a sheep. It is meant to simulate what “grown cowboys” do and help them relate to the sport. It’s one of the more exciting events at the rodeo and really gets the spectators fired up.

Mutton busting helps kids improve physical fitness, coordination, and balance skills. It also helps kids develop self-esteem and well, it’s just plain FUN!

Riding on a sheep provides an adrenaline rush like no other sport can offer, plus it gives kids an opportunity to learn about animals up close in an interactive setting. There isn’t a video game in the world that can compare to the excitement of outdoor reality like mutton busting.

Additionally, many local rodeos provide age-appropriate safety equipment such as helmets and protective vests so parents don’t have to worry about their little ones getting hurt during this thrilling event.

If you’re interested in introducing your child (or grandchild) to mutton busting there are several steps you should take before they get started:

  1. Find a local Rodeo that offers mutton-busting events, like the Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo. There are other rodeo organizations in Arizona that host annual competitions throughout the summer months so check out what’s available nearby!
  2. You will want to check age restrictions as well as the size and weight restrictions. Most mutton busters must be at least four years old and some organizations require the child to be six or older. Each organization may have different requirements and restrictions when it comes to mutton-busting events.
  3. Once you’ve found a suitable location and verified age requirements then it’s time to gather all the necessary equipment needed for participation including helmets (mandatory), and protective vests (should be mandatory but aren’t always). All items should be fitted properly prior to competing. Most rodeo organizations that sponsor the event will have protective gear on hand.
  4. It’s also not a bad idea to have your little one hop onto some smaller animals first such as goats or even ponies until they become comfortable enough with riding larger livestock like sheep. Doing so will help them be successful on the day of the event!

Mutton busting can prove both enjoyable & beneficial if done safely under proper supervision, making sure all rules & regulations are followed every step along the way!

Young girl running to the arena for Mutton Busting event.

Finding a Rodeo Club or Organization:

There are several organizations throughout Arizona and nationwide dedicated to promoting youth involvement in rodeos. The National High School Rodeo Association (NHSR) and the Arizona Junior Rodeo Association (AJRA) are two great organizations to connect with. The National Little Britches Rodeo Association (NLRBA) is also another great resource to check out.

There is even a rodeo for special needs children right here in Prescott, Arizona. The Happy Hearts Rodeo is held every year during the 4th of July Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo, so be sure to check it out.

Another benefit of joining a local rodeo organization is that it provides an opportunity for children to make new friends who share similar interests. Parents should join a local rodeo association themselves and bring their children with them to rodeo meetings where their children can begin to be immersed in the rodeo culture.

2022 Arizona High School State Rodeo Finals–Awards. Prescott Rodeo Grounds. ©2023PrescottVoice

The Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo encourages its members to bring their children and other young people to monthly meetings. Volunteering at a local rodeo is another excellent way to get teenagers involved.

Depending on the volunteer duties, little ones can accompany parents who choose to volunteer to expose them to see how a rodeo works.

There are so many life-changing opportunities available to kids who want to learn more about the rodeo. Just being able to observe cowboys, cowgirls, horses, and cattle is a great learning experience.

Rodeo organizations will sometimes organize activities such as clinics at the rodeo grounds and team competitions which allow kids to bond over shared experiences while learning more about the sport itself.

A great place to start would be contacting Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo and your local 4H club. A number of counties in Arizona have local rodeos and other programs and opportunities for kids interested in learning more about rodeoing activities.

Once you’ve identified a few potential options, it’s important to visit each club in person so that you can get a better feel for the atmosphere and meet with instructors and other members before making any commitments.

During this visit, make sure to ask questions about safety protocols, costs associated with joining the club (including equipment rental fees), availability of lessons/classes/events, etc., so that you have all the necessary information before you have your kids sign up.

Award Presentation Arizona High School State Rodeo Finals. President of Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo, Ron Owsley (right). PFD Vice President, Logan Franks (left). ©2023PrescottVoice

When selecting a rodeo organization for your children, it’s important to consider their skill level and interests when choosing one that best suits them.

For example, if they are just starting out then look into beginner-level classes. Experienced riders may prefer advanced classes or even competitive events like barrel racing or team roping competitions held by certain clubs throughout the year.

Additionally, most clubs will require participants to wear protective gear such as helmets when participating in activities on horseback – make sure this is discussed during your initial visit so everyone knows what type of equipment needs to be purchased prior to joining the club (if applicable).

Finding a rodeo organization like the Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo is the first step in getting your child involved with rodeo. With the right equipment and training, they can be ready to compete in no time.

There may even be local schools offering after-school programs focused on this type of activity so don’t forget to check those out too.

Next, we’ll look at what kind of equipment is necessary for competing in rodeos.

Equipment Needed:

In order for participants (especially younger ones) to compete safely, certain pieces of equipment must first be acquired prior to beginning any type of competition involving livestock.

There are various types of events available depending on what interests your children or teens the most. Each event has its own set of rules and regulations plus different levels of difficulty based on the age group of the competitor.

Before signing your kids up for any rodeo event, learn all you can about the particular event beforehand so you understand exactly what is involved.

Depending on the level of competition entered into, costs can vary greatly. Generally speaking, entry fees range anywhere between $10-$50 per person per event; then add additional expenses related to things like travel, lodging, food, and supplies. There may also be a stock fee involved. Each organization is different. Entry fees for the professional rodeo circuit are considerably more.

If you plan on attending multiple shows year-round, you could end up spending quite a bit of money overall; however, the rewards far outweigh the costs when it comes to having fun doing something you love. You never know, the rodeo may just become a career for your kid.

When it comes to participating in rodeo events, there are certain pieces of equipment that your child may need. Depending on the type of event they will be taking part in, you may need to purchase saddles, bridles, ropes, spurs, chaps, or protective vests for them.

Obviously, saddles and bridles are used when riding horses while ropes can be used for roping cattle.

Chaps help protect contestants’ legs from rope burns and other injuries during a ride. Protective vests provide extra cushioning against falls and impact with other objects such as a gate, fence, or the animal itself.

It is important to check with your local rodeo organization before purchasing any equipment as some have specific requirements regarding what kind of gear is allowed at their events.

For example, some rodeo organizations may require that all participants wear helmets or use specific types of saddles and bridles when competing in certain events such as barrel racing or steer wrestling.

Additionally, some rodeo clubs may offer rental options for those who do not own the necessary items yet but still want to participate in rodeo activities.

Finally, it is important to make sure that all equipment is properly fitted for your child so they can perform safely during each event without putting themselves at risk of injury due to gear, not fitting properly.

Take the time to measure your child correctly in order to find the right size saddle and other pieces of equipment needed before making any purchases or renting anything from a club or store near you.

Having the right equipment is necessary for kids to participate in rodeo safely and confidently. With that being said, it’s important to know what types of events are available so you can decide which ones your child should try.

Types of Events

Rodeos are an exciting and unique way to experience the Wild West. Most rodeos include the following events:

  • Barrel Racing is a timed event where riders guide their horse around three barrels set up in a cloverleaf pattern. The fastest time wins. This event is popular with all ages, but in professional barrel racing, it is primarily for female contestants.
  • Calf Roping involves lassoing a calf by its neck or hind legs while mounted on a horse and then tying it up with rope after dismounting. It’s usually done in less than 10 seconds. This event requires great skill and agility from both rider and horse.
  • Steer Wrestling is another timed event where riders chase down steers (young bulls) on horseback before jumping off their horses onto the steer’s back and wrestling them to the ground. Points are awarded and penalties are assessed depending on the rules of each rodeo association that hosts these events.
  • Team Roping consists of two riders working together to rope one steer at once. The two riders are referred to as “Header” and “Heeler.” The header ropes the steer’s head while the heeler ropes its hind legs. Points or time penalties are assessed depending on the rules of each rodeo association that hosts these events. It’s an incredibly thrilling sport requiring teamwork between two skilled cowboys/cowgirls.
  • Bull Riding is perhaps one of the most iconic and most dangerous rodeo events out there which involves mounting a bucking bull for 8 seconds without touching any part of your body except your hands against the bull’s flank. The contestant uses only one handhold provided by his equipment supplier before being thrown off. Bull riding contestants are protected by “Bullfighters,” (also referred to as clowns) who distract the bull from the rider after he is bucked off. It takes immense courage, strength, and skill to stay atop these wild beasts.

Costs Involved

Rodeo is an exciting and rewarding sport for kids of all ages. It can also be a great way to learn responsibility, respect, and sportsmanship. However, before signing up for any events or competitions with your local rodeo club, it’s important to understand the costs involved.

The cost of participating in rodeos can vary depending on the type of event being entered into as well as other factors such as travel expenses if you plan on attending competitions outside of Arizona.

Talk to your local organization or rodeo about fees so you know what costs you will need to cover before signing up for any events or competitions with them.

Most rodeos charge entry fees per event that may range from $20-$50 per rider depending on the level they are competing at. Professional rodeo entry fees are much higher.

There may also be additional charges such as membership dues or facility rental fees which should be discussed prior to joining a club or entering an event.

In addition to these initial costs, there are several other expenses associated with rodeo participation that must be taken into consideration when budgeting for this activity including:

  • Equipment purchases (hats/helmets/boots)
  • Clothing (chaps/shirts/jeans)
  • Horse feed & supplies (tack/blankets)
  • Transportation & lodging (if traveling out-of-town)

All of the above items add up quickly so it’s important to factor them into your overall budget when deciding whether or not this is something your family can afford long term.

Finally, don’t forget about medical insurance coverage.

Many clubs require participants to have some form of health insurance in case they get injured while competing in their events.

Make sure you check with your insurance company before signing up. By considering all these potential costs ahead of time, families can rest assured knowing they won’t face unexpected financial surprises down the road related to their child’s involvement in rodeo activities.

The costs involved in getting kids involved with rodeo can vary, so it’s important to research the options and budget accordingly.

When it comes to rodeo activities, safety should always be a priority. Children participating in these events need to wear the proper protective gear such as helmets, boots, gloves, and long pants or chaps. This will help protect them from potential injuries while they are riding or competing in an event.

It is also important for children to be supervised by an experienced adult at all times when taking part in any type of rodeo activity. An adult can provide guidance on how to safely perform certain tasks and ensure that their child is following the rules and regulations of the event. They can also offer support if something goes wrong during the competition.

Parents should also make sure that their child’s equipment is properly maintained before each event. This includes checking for loose straps, worn-out parts, broken buckles, or other signs of damage that could cause harm during use. Additionally, if appropriate, parents should inspect the arena where their child will be competing and make sure it meets safety standards set forth by local governing bodies or organizations hosting the event.

Finally, parents should talk with their children about being aware of their surroundings at all times while participating in rodeo activities and understanding what types of risks may exist within those environments (such as animals running wild).

They should also discuss strategies for avoiding potential hazards like staying away from large crowds or not engaging with strangers who could have ill intentions toward them while attending a rodeo event.

The Takeaway

Overall, getting kids involved with rodeo can be a great way to introduce them to the sport and help them learn important skills. With the right equipment, safety tips, and knowledge of the different types of events available, you can ensure that your child has a positive experience. This comprehensive guide provides all the information needed for parents and children alike to get started in this exciting activity. So don’t wait any longer – start exploring Prescott, Arizona’s unique lifestyle today.

FAQs for Getting Kids Involved With Rodeo

Can kids be in a rodeo?

Yes, kids can be in a rodeo. Rodeos are an exciting and popular sport that is enjoyed by people of all ages. Kids as young as five years old can participate in age-appropriate events such as barrel racing, goat tying, and breakaway roping. It’s important for parents to ensure their children have the proper safety equipment and instruction before participating in any rodeo event. With parental guidance and support, kids can safely enjoy the thrill of competing at a rodeo while learning valuable lessons about sportsmanship and hard work.

How do you get into rodeoing?

Rodeo is a great way to experience the Wild West and its unique culture. To get into rodeoing, you’ll need to learn the basics of horsemanship, roping techniques, and other event-appropriate skills. You can start by attending local rodeos or joining a local rodeo organization. Once you have some basic skills, consider signing up for an amateur rodeo competition in your area. With practice and dedication, you can become an experienced competitor who enjoys the thrill of competing at larger events such as Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo or other major competitions throughout Arizona.

What do girls do in rodeo?

Rodeo girls participate in a variety of activities, including barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying, and breakaway roping. Barrel racing involves riding around three barrels set up in a cloverleaf pattern as quickly as possible. Pole bending requires riders to weave their horse between six poles arranged in a line. Goat tying involves dismounting the horse and securing a goat with rope within 30 seconds or less. Breakaway roping is similar to calf-roping but instead of lassoing the animal, the rider throws her rope over its head and breaks away when it takes off running. All these events require skillful riding ability and quick reflexes for success.

What does rodeo mean for kids?

Rodeo is a great way for kids to learn about the western lifestyle and gain an appreciation of animals. It teaches them responsibility, respect, and hard work as they care for their animals, practice riding skills, and compete in events such as barrel racing or bull riding. Rodeo also encourages teamwork among riders while providing a fun atmosphere with exciting competitions that can help build self-confidence. Kids who participate in rodeos have the opportunity to make new friends and create lasting memories that will stay with them long after the event has ended.


About the author

Hi, I'm Teri Franks, the voice behind Prescott Voice. I've spent years immersing myself in all that Prescott has to offer, and I love sharing the unique stories and experiences I've discovered. When I'm not writing, you'll find me exploring Prescott's trails or tasting our local cuisine. I believe that the vibrant lifestyle here in Prescott inspires us to live a healthier, happier life. Come join me on this exciting journey as we explore Prescott together.

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