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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

A Wilder West

Rodeo in Western Canada

A controversial sport, rodeo is often seen as emblematic of the West’s reputation as a “white man’s country.” A Wilder West complicates this view, showing how rodeo has been an important contact zone -- a chaotic and unpredictable place of encounter that challenged expected social hierarchies. Rodeo has brought people together across racial and gender divides, creating friendships, rivalries, and unexpected intimacies. Fans made hometown cowboys, cowgirls, and Aboriginal riders local heroes. Lavishly illustrated and based on cowboy/cowgirl biographies and memoirs, press coverage, archival records, and dozens of interviews with former and current rodeo contestants, promoters, and audience members, this creative history returns to rodeo’s small-town roots to shed light on the history of social relations in Canada’s western frontier.

312 pages

Table of Contents


1 An Old-Timers’ Town: Western Communities, Performance, and Contact Zones

2 Truly Western in Its Character: Identities, Affinities, and Intimacies at Western Canadian Rodeo

3 A Sport, Not a Carnival Act: Transforming Rodeo from Performance to Sport

4 Heavens No! Let’s Keep It Rodeo! Pro Rodeo and the Making of the Modern Cowboy

5 Going Pro: Community Rodeo in the Era of Professionalization

6 Where the Cowboys Are Indians: Indian and Reserve Rodeo in the Canadian West


Glossary; Notes; Index

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