It is believed that rodeo was born in 1864 when two groups of cowboys from neighboring ranches met in Deer Trail, Colo., to settle an argument over who was the best at performing everyday ranching tasks.
That gathering is considered to be the first rodeo and it started the evolution of the true American sport.
Through these daily chores, the sport of rodeo evolved. It can be said that rodeo is the only sport derived from an industry, and probably the only one that ever will.
Today's professional rodeo cowboy is a bit different from his 1800s predecessor, but the ideals and showmanship of long ago are still valued by today's competitors.
A cowboy's standing in the rodeo community is still dependent on his skill with a rope or his ability to ride a bucking animal. The cowboy code still dictates that a man help his fellow competitors, even though they might be competing for the same paycheck.
And while some things have changed since those early days, most of the changes have been for the better.
Now the cowboy travels much of the time in custom-made rigs or flies from one rodeo to another either by commercial airline or charter plane.
Marketing and business acumen have become as crucial as roping, wrestling or riding skills. Cowboys are competing for more money then ever before.
Even if a PRCA member doesn't have the inclination to spend more than 200 days a year on the road in search of a berth in the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, the sport's Super Bowl, he can participate in rodeos close to home each year.
Many of these "weekend warriors'' and those chasing world titles take their wives and children along whenever possible; helping to keep the sport close to its family-oriented roots.
The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) was created almost by accident in 1936 when a group of cowboys walked out of a rodeo at the Boston Gardens to protest the actions of rodeo promoter W.T. Johnson, who refused to add the cowboys' entry fees to the rodeo's total purse.
Johnson finally gave in to the cowboys' demands, and the successful "strike" led to the formation of the Cowboys' Turtle Association.
The cowboys chose that name because, while they were slow to organize, when push finally came to shove, they weren't afraid to stick their necks out to get what they wanted.
In 1945, the Turtles changed their name to the Rodeo Cowboys Association, and in 1975, the organization became the PRCA.
The PRCA staff consists of about 70 full-time employees, but grows to nearly 100 during the peak rodeo season. The PRCA headquarters, which also includes the ProRodeo Hall of Fame and Musuem of the American Cowboy, was established in 1979.