Top Rodeos Every Fan Should See

A cowboy rides a bucking horse
Nicholas J Reid / Getty Images

If you're looking for a fantastic rodeo experience, you have come to the right place. Saddle up and take a whirlwind tour through the top 12 rodeos in the world. These rodeos are in no particular order.

1. Cheyenne Frontier Days in Cheyenne, Wyoming​

Known as the "Daddy of 'Em All" to cowboys and fans alike, this rodeo gives the most prized award buckles after the World Championship buckles given out at the NFR. This rodeo started in 1919 as a stock show and has grown into the most anticipated rodeo outside of the finals. There is over a week of rodeo action and related events, including concerts (with major headliners), a western art show, and much, much more.

2. Calgary Stampede in Calgary, Alberta, Canada

This is Canada's answer to Cheyenne. With a history that starts in 1912, this 10-day rodeo offers tons of activities during the rodeo week. In 2000, the Calgary Stampede pulled in a record 1.2 million in attendance. Many enjoy the chuck wagon races they have here every year.

3. Rodeo Houston in Houston, Texas

Held in conjunction with the Houston Livestock Show, this rodeo had record attendance, with 1.8 million coming through the gates at this 20-day event. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is a world of its own, with trail rides, cowboy cooking, contests, western art, and just about anything else you can think of relating to rodeos and cowboys.

4. The Reno Rodeo in Reno, Nevada

The Reno Rodeo has been thrilling audiences since 1919 with its intimate rodeo action. There is just something cool about being in the high Nevada desert with over a week's worth of entertainment. This rodeo also features a cattle drive, golf tournament, and an Xtreme Bulls event.

5. National Western Rodeo in Denver, Colorado

Over half a million people a year go through the gates of this excellent indoor event. It is held in conjunction with a huge stock and horse show.

6. ​Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo in Fort Worth, Texas

It was here in 1904 where cowboy Bill Pickett (The Dusky Demon) demonstrated his "bulldoggin" technique at the stock show. This is a huge event with almost 2 weeks of rodeo action and plenty to see and do in the lovely Fort Worth area.

7. National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nevada​

This is like the World Series, Super Bowl, etc., all rolled up into one. The top 15 cowboys and cowgirls in the country compete for the World Championships. Seeing this rodeo on television is one thing, but you must see it in person at least once.

8. Ram National Finals Circuit Rodeo in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

This is a great rodeo in which cowboys and cowgirls from all over the country get their chance to compete for Circuit Finals glory. Held in the spring, this competitive competition is one of the largest early-season events and helps set the pace for competition throughout the grueling summer rodeo season.

9. Rocky Mountain Stampede in Greeley, Colorado

This is one awesome event held in the beautiful state of Colorado. This event features several music concerts, art shows, BBQs, as well as a huge parade and fireworks show. There is plenty to do at the Stampede with something for everyone.

10. La Fiesta De Los Vaqueros in Tucson, Arizona

People really like Arizona, there’s just something about the place. You can also enjoy La Fiesta De Los Vaqueros (Party of the Cowboys) with its pageantry and celebration of the Wild West. Over a week's worth of rodeo action under the Tucson sun—what could be better?

11. Prescott Frontier Days in Prescott, Arizona

This excellent event is billed as "Worlds Oldest Rodeo." Here on July 4th, 1888 the first "cowboy tournament" was held. This rodeo has grown into 8 days of first class rodeo competition. The history and exciting action of this event make it a must see for any rodeo fan.​

12. Laughlin River Stampede in Laughlin, Nevada

Not to let the cat out of the bag on this one, so to speak, but Laughlin is a great city nestled on the Colorado River. The only thing cooler than this fantastic city is their rodeo. While not as big as the other rodeos on this list, it makes up for it in the prize money available and the level of cowboys and cowgirls that it draws. If you would like a more "hometown" rodeo experience without compromising quality, then Laughlin is the place for you.

Honorable Mentions

These rodeos deserve a nod for their exciting action and great events. Check them out and you won’t be disappointed:

  • Days of 47 Rodeo in Salt Lake City, Utah
  • San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo in San Antonio, Texas
  • Old Fort Days Rodeo in Fort Smith, Arkansas