A Wilder West: Rodeo in Western Canada by Mary-Ellen KelmA Wilder West: Rodeo in Western Canada by Mary-Ellen Kelm

A Wilder West: Rodeo in Western Canada

byMary-Ellen Kelm

Paperback | July 1, 2012

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In the North American imagination, the rodeo cowboy is one of the most evocative images of the Wild West. A frontier master, he is renowned for his masculinity, toughness, and skill. A Wilder West returns to rodeo's small-town roots to explore how, beneath its showman's surface, rodeo represents a way of life that simultaneously embodies and subverts our traditional understandings of power relations between man and nature, women and men, settlers and Aboriginal peoples.

Historian Mary-Ellen Kelm demonstrates that 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 divides, creating friendships, rivalries, and unexpected intimacies. It was a place where competency was celebrated as much in the victories of cowgirls as cowboys. At the rodeo, if nowhere else, Aboriginal riders became local heroes, and rodeo queens spoke their minds.

A Wilder West complicates the idea of western Canada as a “white man's country” and shows how rural rodeos have carved out communities where different rules applied. Lavishly illustrated, this creative history will change the way we think about the West's most controversial sport.

Mary-Ellen Kelm is a Canada Research Chair in the Department of History at Simon Fraser University. Her previous books include Colonizing Bodies: Aboriginal Health and Healing in British Columbia. She is an avid animal trainer, competing in agility and obedience with her dog, Rusty. She lives in North Vancouver with her husband, Don, a...
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Title:A Wilder West: Rodeo in Western CanadaFormat:PaperbackDimensions:312 pages, 9 × 6.05 × 0.8 inPublished:July 1, 2012Publisher:Ubc PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0774820306

ISBN - 13:9780774820301

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Reviews

Table of Contents

Introduction

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

Conclusion

Glossary; Notes; Index

Editorial Reviews

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.A Wilder West is a richly imaginative, intensely readable, and at times simply brilliant book. It represents an important step forward in understanding more fully the rich complexities of small-town Canadiana, especially cowboy culture, the ambiguities of Canada’s colonial project, and the history of rodeo in western Canada. - Mark Anderson, author of Cowboy Imperialism and Hollywood Film