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 Featured Title
A Wilder West
Rodeo in Western Canada
Mary-Ellen Kelm  

$87.00 Hardcover
Release Date: 11/10/2011
ISBN: 9780774820295    

$24.95 Paperback
Release Date: 7/1/2012
ISBN: 9780774820301    

312 Pages


About the Book

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.

About the Author(s)

Mary-Ellen Kelm is a Canada Research Chair in the Department of History, 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, and spends her summers outdoors, hiking and paddling in British Columbia.

Table of Contents


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


Glossary; Notes; Index


"In this original and nuanced book, Kelm traces the rise, proliferation, and professionalization of rodeos to create a history of rodeo that defies simplistic interpretations."
-- Susan Neylan, author of The Heavens Are Changing

"I LOVE this book. It is wonderfully written and, while clearly an academic look at the sport, always accessible and engaging. It documents an important part of our western tradition in a way that will captivate academics, rodeo devotees, and casual observers alike. From Nora Gladstone's poem to the in-depth look at the Williams Lakes and Lethbridges of the rodeo world, I finally lost track of the 'aha' moments in the book."
-- David A. Poulsen, rodeo announcer and award-winning author

"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

Sample Chapter

Sample Chapter [PDF]

Related Topics

History > Canada
Communications Studies
Cultural Studies
Aboriginal Studies
Women's Studies

Other Ways To Order

In Canada, order your copy of A Wilder West from UTP Distribution at:

UTP Distribution
5201 Dufferin Street
Toronto, Ontario
M3H 5T8

Phone orders: 1(800)565-9523 or (416)667-7791
Fax orders: 1(800)221-9985 or (416)667-7832

Ordering information for customers outside Canada

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