Shadduck’s book mentioned a couple of contenders for the first American rodeo, one in Prescott, Arizona in 1888 and Cheyenne’s Frontier Days, which started in 1897. She claimed that Idaho’s first rodeo began in 1906. That would become famous as Nampa’s Snake River Stampede. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe Shadduck, but I thought I’d do my own quick search through Idaho papers, just to see if I found a mention of an earlier rodeo.
Wow! Right away I came up with one in or around Albion from 1880. Then, I started seeing others in subsequent years from all around the state. In a couple of minutes, I went from elation to minor disappointment. Yes, Idaho had earlier rodeos. Many of them. They weren’t going to count, though, because the early papers were using the word in its original meaning, which is roundup in Spanish. The papers were reporting on the annual roundups of cattle in certain areas, which were annual events. They still are, but newspapers have a lot more to talk about, these days.
So, I hadn’t made a startling discovery about the history of rodeos. Still, it gave me the opportunity to illustrate this post with a publicity photo of Jane Russell from Outlaw, which was probably what drew you to this story in the first place. ‘Fess up!