The Many Faces of Rodeo Sport: Intersectional, International and Cross-Cultural Comparison.

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 16:15
Oral Presentation
Miriam ADELMAN, Federal University of Paraná, Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil
Cristian Carla BERNAVA, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil
Rodeo sport has a long and complicated history. Often explained as "the only sport descending directly from work routines" - in this case, those of the American 'cowboy' and the Latin American 'vaquero' (vaqueiro) - its popularity does not cease to grow the world over, precisely as the context of its birth recedes in time (albeit not in the popular imagination). Furthermore, it is a sport that engages animal and human bodies in complex, diverse and much-mythologized interaction, whether in conflict (as in bull and bronc riding) or partnership' (i.e. the 'horse-human team' in barrel racing and calf roping). This paper is based on comparative work on contemporary Brazilian and North American rodeo and the apparent counterpoint of two of its current tendencies: on the one hand, its expansion as part of what Maguire has referred to as the Global Sport Media complex - as exemplified by the multi-million dollar North American PBR (Professional Bull Riders) events - and on the other, the often less business-oriented and even community-driven construction by participants who reclaim new visibility and opportunity for their historic but less recognized presence in rodeo and equestrian cultures, often mobilizing around racial-ethnic or gender/sexuality axes. As part of a broader comparative project, we focus here on two regional Brazilian rodeo cultures - the southern Brazilian Gaucho (campeiro) and the central Brazilian country rodeo circuits. We examine similarities and differences in the social origin of participants and within the sporting practices and the discursive strategies used to justify or gain support for their particular rodeo circuits; key issues that come to the forefront include constructions of masculinity/femininity, the re-signifying of rural and national/regional identity & 'heritage' and recent conflicts over uses of animal bodies in rodeo sport.