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Wild Cow Milking

Wild cow milking is a rodeo sport that involves capturing and milking an undomesticated cow. Participants usually work in teams of three or four, with one person in charge of milking the cow and the other people attempting to hold down the cow to allow for the milking process to take place. Because the cow is not experienced with human milking, there is often a tremendous amount of resistance from the cow to be milked. Typically the cow runs around the rodeo arena, while participants attempt to restrain its movement. Once the cow has been milked, a participant runs to a judge, who confirms that the task has been done. As this is a timed competition, the fastest time wins the competition.

Is this activity known by any other names?

Cow milking

What are the origins of the activity abroad and in Canada?

Rodeo sports developed from cattle ranching tasks in the western United States. These sports became professionalized in the late 1800s as several major competitions, including the Calgary Stampede, were established. Their popularity has grown recently in the GTA, with upwards of 50 rodeo events taking place over the calendar year. Wild cow milking competitions, specifically, have existed in the western United States since at least 1924, from where they quickly spread to Alberta and then other parts of Canada as part of rodeo tours.

Who takes part?

Males and females of diverse ages may participate, although many rodeo athletes are White adults from rural areas.

When does it occur / How often do you take part?

Rodeo competitions occur throughout the year. The Ontario High School Rodeo Association hosts several competitions throughout the school year. The Ontario Riding Association hosts professional and amateur rodeo events on a monthly basis. Professional rodeo circuits also host events in the GTA area occasionally during the year.

Are there any organized clubs, groups, organizations or leagues?

The Ontario High School Rodeo Association; Ontario Rodeo Association; Canadian Rodeo Association

Cultural Significance

While rodeo sports do not hold cultural significance with specific ethnocultural groups, these activities and their associated “cowboy culture” can be viewed as symbolically important in some rural Canadian communities.

Is there anything else we should know?



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