According to the Oklahoma Historical Society, “The sport of rodeo is the only American sporting event that grew out of an occupational activity: ranching.”
And by way of the rodeo, those of us who will never work on a ranch get a glimpse of the romanticism of the Wild West and the grit and the grime that underpin the romanticism. We gain insight into a calling—of driving fenceposts into the ground, sleeping on a piece of canvas beneath the stars and living off the land—that can only take root in our imagination as we toil away at our desks and stare into computer monitors, trying to make sense of a world that is very far indeed from any real deal ranch of the Wild West.
“Rodeo’s imagery has become so intertwined with the romanticized concept of the American cowboy that it has created a nostalgic aura permeating the culture of certain portions of American society, particularly the trans-Mississippi West region,” reads okhistory.org, the website for the Oklahoma Historical Society.
“The word ‘rodeo’ is Hispanic in origin and refers to roundup. It was originally used to describe the activities at the occasional gatherings of regional ranch workers when the cowboys of particular ranches were pitted against those of others in riding and roping contests. By the mid-1880s these events became so popular across the West that they were held on a regular basis on Sunday afternoons and during holidays, particularly over the Fourth of July.”
There is plenty of debate as to when and where the first formal rodeo was held, according to okhistory.org. But a rodeo held in Pecos, Texas, in 1883, was the first to offer prizes and a rodeo in Prescott, Arizona, in 1888 was the first to charge admission. The primary focus of a rodeo has always been competition, “in which cowboys win prize monies by their performance in various riding and roping contests.”
All of this will come into sharper focus this Saturday, Oct. 2, when the Hudson Valley Rodeo and Concert featuring Chris Janson—with opening act Ian Flanigan—is held at Keane Stud farm in Amenia, Dutchess County, New York. Doors open at 3 p.m. with local food trucks and alcohol. The rodeo begins at 4 p.m. and continues until 6 p.m., when those in attendance will be admitted to a concert field.
This event is sponsored in part by the Silo Ridge Community Foundation; and Gary Chetkof, owner of Ulster County, New York-based Radio Woodstock, is producing the Hudson Valley Rodeo on behalf on Chet-5 Productions.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the Amenia-Wassaic Community Organization, which supports nonprofit community organizations in the Amenia-Wassaic area. The Amenia-Wassaic Community Organization focuses on community services, health, arts, education, conservation, and cultural programs.
Whether you are an old ranch hand or, forgive the pun, this IS your first rodeo, you’ll likely to recognize Janson from his songs “Buy Me A Boat” and “Fix A Drink.” Tim McGraw, Hank Williams Jr., Justin Moore and LoCash have recorded his songs.
Ian Flanigan is well-known throughout his hometown Hudson Valley and beyond. The singer-songwriter and vocalist grew up in Saugerties, and placed third on NBC’s “The Voice” after selling his possessions, hitting the road in an RV and stumbling into a “Voice”-themed night at a Nashville bar. Earlier this year he recorded a song with Blake Shelton, his mentor from “The Voice.”
For ticket information, click here.