I grew up in the ranching community and still care for cattle every day. I did the rodeo thing for over 20 years as did my brothers. The rough stock animals are treated extremely well, they have to be, they are the livelihood for the stock contractors. In any sanctioned event the care and treatment of the animals is of utmost concern.
Yes in barrel racing, and also in the Team Penning and Sorting that I compete in now you do see atrocious riding and lack of care for the horses. But in the long run most of these riders don't last...they can't unless they have the money to keep replacing horses when the ones they ride break down or just quit working. But you see this in many different disciplines. Many of these people don't care to change nor are they interested in any advice.
In the roping events, it really does have its roots in ranching. We do have to rope cattle to treat them, it is a fact of life. But we do it with the best interests of our animals in mind, these animals are our paycheck. Without them we don't survive. We do what we have to do to care for them as efficiently and with as little stress as possible.