Rodeo Lesson Plan

Please note, this lesson plan was created by as a general guide and is not specific to any particular venue listed on our site.

The term “rodeo” comes from the Spanish word rodear, which means “go around”. The word was first used in the 1830s to mean a “round up” of cattle. The term was only used on occasion when referring to American cowboy sports up until the 1920s. Professional cowboys did not officially adopt the term until 1945.

Rodeos are an American tradition that stem from the practices of Spanish ranchers and ranch hands of Mexico.

Take your students on a behind the scenes look at rodeo competitions. Let them witness and experience rodeos first-hand.


  1. The word rodeo wasn’t used frequently until the 1920s. Before this, it was referred to as “cowboy contests.”
  1. Modern rodeo comes from activities performed on ranches back in the 1700s.
  1. Rodeo events include calf roping, steer busting, steer wrestling, and bull riding/saddle bronco riding.
  1. There are two types of rodeo contests: speed and score.
  1. The animals used in rodeos are domesticated, and their behavior during a rodeo is provoked.
  1. Bull riding is the most popular rodeo contest.
  1. The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) run all professional rodeos. It was originally known as the Cowboy Turtles Association.
  1. The Professional Women’s Rodeo Association was founded in 1987.



– Show videos of the different rodeo events:

Saddle Bronc Riding

Bareback Riding

Bull Riding

Tie Down Roping

Steer Wrestling

Team Roping

Barrel Racing

– Research the various events.

– Create a timeline for the history of rodeo.

– Understand how competitors are scored.



–  Events in a rodeo

– History of a rodeo

– Rules of the competition

– Scoring procedures


– Calf: (noun) young of domestic cattle (cow)

– Rodeo: (noun) an exhibition or content in which cowboys show their skill at riding broncos, roping calves, wrestling steers, etc.; (noun) a roundup of cattle on a ranch for branding, counting, etc.; (verb) compete in a rodeo

– Steer: (noun) mature, male bull or ox


– Data compilation

– Information analysis

– Listening skills

– Math computation and operations

– Note taking

– Organizing information into a timeline

– Performance

– Researching key information

– Verbal communication

– Vocabulary development

– Writing


Write about experiences on the trip and share.

Host a mock rodeo competition

      – Assign positions to students

        – Announcer
        – Competitors
        – Judges

– Research job qualities and requirements

– Let the competition begin!

      – Need: costumes, music, props, score cards, and timer