The Life Of A Rodeo Cowboy

CowboyNo one could really expect the life of a rodeo cowboy to be easy. Once you step in the ring, you already know you are going to get battered and everyone in the audience knows it too. In fact, they are watching for that specific expectation.

So if this was the case, why did I become a rodeo cowboy in the first place? The fact is that being a professional cowboy comes with a lot of risks – but with a lot of perks too. Now, a lot of people might say that rodeo is not a solid career path, but you will be surprised at how much this particular industry is regulated. We have the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) with a stringent set of rules that assure us of the future of this particular career path.

What does a rodeo cowboy do?

You’ve probably seen rodeo cowboys riding a bull and just doing their best to stay there. That is actually a big part of the game – but this isn’t all we do. There are several sections to rodeo games which include: tie down roping, steer wrestling, team roping, bareback bronc riding, barrel racing, and bull riding.

I grew up getting used to bull livestock being used for the shows but as it turned out, there are lots of possible animals to be used for rodeo. So far, I have seen and participated in games where they use goats for roping.


Going from amateur to professional?

All professional cowboys started as amateurs, and I did too. In fact, I might have been in the amateur circuit far longer than I should have been. The difference between the amateur and the professional rodeos is not that big though – mainly it is just the distinction between being sanctioned by the PRCA or not.

To become a professional, all I had to do was buy a permit from the PRCA. For a permit, I had to win a minimum of $1000 but from then on, I could participate in Rodeo games that were also sanctioned by the PRCA. Of course, the permit only lasts for a year so it has to be renewed. This organization had some employee issues but found an employer defense firm to help.

What preparations does it take?

One thing you should know is that being a rodeo cowboy is not for the weak. I was already pretty fit when I started, but I had to boost my muscles and give my stamina a swift improvement. The fact is that no matter how good you get physically, you are still no match for a bull – so it is all about developing a technique.

\You can do this through practice – lots of it. Balance and coordination are crucial, which is why I cannot afford to gain too much weight – especially the fat kind. More often than not, I have to follow a strict regimen on food and practice how to properly land so I don’t hurt more body parts than I should.

This is probably the toughest part of being a rodeo cowboy. It is really intensive work on the physical department, and you are always bound to have a few broken bones, some aching muscles, and a few twisted tendons along the way. I have figured out that having a personal doctor and trainer goes a long way in this business – which is why I made sure I have both.

Pay for Rodeo Cowboys

The good news is that all that hard work is worth it once you get your paycheck. Rodeo cowboys are paid pretty well, especially if you happen to be part of the professional circuit. There is actually a ranking system for rodeo cowboys with the money earned used as the measuring stick. In a single major event, cowboys can earn as much as $1 million dollars.


When I was a part-time cowboy, I took home around $20,000 in a year –but as a professional, I am definitely making more than that. Of course, I’m nowhere near the world ranking just yet, but in the meantime, I am more than happy with my earnings. In fact, I earn more than others in their steady and secure jobs.


When all is said and done, being a rodeo cowboy is definitely a rewarding experience, and I have to say that I’m more than happy with this career path I have chosen. The job might mean I have to retire earlier than other people who work at the office, but this is not a big problem considering the perks of the job.