Real Athletes are Good Sports

A rodeo is a great adventure for a child. Beside being an adventure it is a superb opportunity for learning and exposure to new and different things.

Rodeos begin with the presentation of the flag and the national anthem. A child learns some of the proper ways to show respect. All the rodeo participants and fans are asked to remove their hats and stand up for the presentation of the flag.  After the presentation has ended there is an important teaching moment. Explain to the child why those things are done and how important it is to show proper respect.

No rodeo is complete without a clown. It is an excellent opportunity to explain the career of being a clown. Many children have fears of clowns. A rodeo allows a child to enjoy the clown from a safe distance. A parent can talk about the make up and the costume.  It may help the child be better prepared for close encounters with a clown.

A rodeo is a sporting event and there is serious competition. It is rare that poor sportsmanship shows up in a rodeo arena. When a cowboy contestant does not make the 8 second ride, the rodeo announcer encourages the crowd to applaud and give participant encouragement for a good try. This is a lesson worth teaching and relating to other competitive sports.

Many athletes that participate in rodeo events use different types of safety equipment. It is always a good idea to point out adults modeling good behaviors. Braces, helmets, chaps and cowboy boots are all safety tools. Teach the preschooler about the cowboy gear and the purpose.

Calf roping is a solid example of how a rodeo cowboy can train and use a horse.  The calf is released from the shoot with a little head start. The cowboy uses a lariat rope to catch the calf. As soon as the calf is roped the contestant jumps off the horse to do the tie down on the calf. The job of the horse is to keep the rope pulled tight as the cowboy flips the calf and ties the three legs. The cowboy gets back on the horse and then allows the rope to slack. The calf must stay tied for 6 seconds after the rider is back on the horse. It is a good example of training animals and the relationship between the ride and the horse.

Teaching a child how to behave in public is another teaching moment that can take place at a rodeo. There are people milling about in the stands. There are often people who may stand up and block the view. There are ample opportunities to learn about manners at the rodeo.

The rodeo may be an excellent time to talk to a preschool child about history. Let the child know there was a time when the only way people had to get around was to walk, get on a boat or ride a horse. A child will be fascinated that there were no cars, no  buses, and  no airplanes.

A rodeo has many teaching moments and what is better they often come with rodeo burgers!