History Department


History 303: Research and Writing Seminar in History


Andrew Morris


In the 1980 El Rodeo there is a picture captioned, “The smallest barrel racers in town.”1 It is a picture of an Australian shepherd dog used in the herding events working the barrels with a monkey strapped to its back. It emphasizes the fact that barrel racing is always entertaining, especially with “smaller” barrel racers. This paper will look at the history of rodeo at California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo and how it affected student life. It will also look at a few different schools that had the capacity for a rodeo team. Rodeo has been an important sport for many years at Cal Poly and this paper will look at its growing popularity in the 1950s-60s and how gender played a role in the competition events. Rodeo was the front-runner for women sports and a progressive step forward to gender equality in athletics.

1980 El Rodeo Yearbook, (California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo), pg. 68