Arena Legacy: The Heritage of American Rodeo

Arena Legacy: The Heritage of American Rodeo

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From its roots in cowboy and vaquero culture to the big-business excitement of today's National Finals competitions, rodeo has embodied the rugged individual-ism and competitive spirit of the American West.

Now the long trajectory of rodeo culture comes fully alive in Arena Legacy. Showcasing the unrivaled collections of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, this lavishly illustrated volume is the first to depict rodeo's material and graphic heritage.

Richard Rattenbury opens Arena Legacy with an engaging and richly illustrated history of rodeo, from its first recorded competition in Colorado in 1869, to its role in county fairs, cattlemen's conventions, and old settlers reunions across the West, to its rise to national prominence between 1920 and 1960.


Following its historical overview, Arena Legacy features an extensive pictorial gallery of signature materials. A series of colorful portfolios reveals treasured artifacts from rodeo life, including costumes, trophies, buckles, and riding equipment.

Here the reader will discover lavish artistry in leather and silver, flamboyant expression in western dress, and the interpretive work of both fine artists and commercial illustrators.


Certain to delight a diverse audience of rodeo aficionados, participants, collectors, and historians, this stunning volume is a fitting tribute to America s truly western sport.

(Hardcover copy)

About the Author:

 Richard C. Rattenbury earned a B.A. degree in history from Texas Christian University and an M.A. in museum studies from Texas Tech University. Rattenbury formerly held curatorial positions with the Winchester Museum at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody, Wyoming, and with the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Canyon, Texas.

He served as curator of history at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum from 1987 until 2016, and is the author of Hunting the American West, The Art of American Arms Makers, and Packing Iron: Gunleather of the Frontier West. Richard resides with his wife, Suzette, in Edmond, Oklahoma.