Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Bronco - Bucking Cowboys Since 1872


If you look really closely, you can see a rider in this shot too
(photo by Galaxy FM)

BRONCO

Noun & adjective. Also broncho. Mid-19th century.
[Spanish = rough, rude.]

A noun. Plural broncos. A wild or half-tamed horse, especially of the western US. M19

Combination: bronco-buster slang a break-in of broncos.

B adjective. Wild, uncontrollable, rough. US colloquial. M19

(photo by Duncan Kinney)
Bronco was never going to be a word I would use much growing up in quiet, leafy Oxford, but it was a familiar word, associated with cowboys, the Wild West and the Great American Adventure. As to its meaning ... well ... I don't think I knew what it meant. Did I think the cowboy was a bronco? Was it the sport? I never really considered what it was - it was just a vague word, floating in my brain with some specific and exciting associations attached. But now I do know, and it seems quite obvious: a bronco is a wild or half-tamed horse, the type that doesn't take kindly to a man with more testosterone than sense trying to sit on its back.
(photo by Duncan Kinney)
Except it's not a truly wild horse at rodeo shows. In fact, these horses are specially bred for their ability to buck spectacularly (bucking being a natural anti-predator instinct designed to counter the attention of big cats that like to hitch a ride just before clamping their jaws on the back of the horse's neck). While I could never describe myself as a horsey-type person, I have enjoyed reading a little about broncos, and I feel that little bit richer in properly knowing what a bronco is. In a perverse way, I've also enjoyed the plethora of photographs of bucking broncos available on the internet, showing the various grimaces and spine-snapping contortions of the nutters trying to ride them. Really, chaps - there are safer ways to show off your manliness. Dictionary reading, perhaps?
I may be wrong, but I suspect the world of rodeo is quite a masculine world indeed
(photo by Joe Duty)

Have you ever ridden a bronco or been to a rodeo show?

Have you ever been well and truly bucked off?

Get your stally on and saddle up a comment below.

10 comments:

  1. I think you're right about dictionary-reading as a superior expression of manliness ed. The horse in the top picture seems to be running out of patience with his rider's propensity to chauvinistically split infinitives, and the second guy from the left in the bottom picture is clearly hunting for a less-sexist synonym for 'stud'.

    (The guy third from the left appears to have sweat glands only on his knees)

    -c

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    1. Sweating from the knees! Now that's how a real man sweats.

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  2. Shouldn't those 4 chappies with the loose chaps be worrying about getting chapped!

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  3. If you ever want to be werided right out of your chaps, head to a rodeo. The crowd watching, the cowboys, the music, the flag-waving... It's all a bit bizarre.

    But the broncos do buck, that's far darn sure.

    PS as a Colorado native, I've got to point out that you've neglected the Broncos football team in this description. Testosterone-fueled sports fans everywhere are aghast at this oversight.

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    1. My apologies to the Broncos, who I'm sure are spectacularly delightful at throwing those American football balls. Unfortunately, while researching 'bronco' and related terms, I was nearly drowned in a deluge of unrelated images, including football pictures, seriously-compensating-for-something-4x4 pictures, and that's not even mentioning the horrors I witnessed when I tried searching under 'bareback riding'.

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    2. Ed, were you ever run over by a little guy in a big V8, or punched in the head by an illiterate cowboy, or........well something similar?

      -c

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    3. Hmm. My Dad had an automatic American Pontiac, which I climbed into when I was 3 and somehow crashed. Does that count?

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    4. Yes ed, it certainly does count. Now tell me, how did this make you feel?.........

      (We have some ink blots to look at later and if you see a single horse we might have this whole thing wrapped up today.)

      -c

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    5. At first I was scared, then excited, and then a bit sore - but mainly I was upset because I thought he wasn't going to take me to Wendy's for a milkshake like he promised. But he still did.

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