I think this makes an interesting argument. I watch and enjoy rodeo, that said I agree with the posters on both sides. I think an well organized rodeo with the animal's welfare at the front is a great entertainment option. A poorly organized rodeo allows a lot behaviors that toe the line of abuse and sometimes blow that line out of the water. That could be said for a lot of horse sports or animal activities.
I also think that with respect to team roping things can go horribly wrong. I also have had the distinct honor(? maybe?) of trying to restrain 8 month to year old cows for medical procedures (vaccination, ear tagging and castration) and know that its a interesting combination of skiing, wrestling and lots of being slammed into things. An easy way to restrain them is hard to find. I have seen cows just throw themselves to the ground in head stocks while being vaccinated, palpated or TB tested. I think a good team roper could save hours of time, bruises and make a hard job a little easier. Which is the origins of the sport.
Rodeo is one of the few sports that actually has its roots in doing a job. No one is going to make competitive emailing a sport or the 500 meter subway car dash an event. As a result, these sports harken back to a place (it still exists its just hard to see from the freeway) where things are different. When animals and their welfare with inexplicably twined with the welfare and lives of the people who cared for them. Raising animals for a living is tough and it breeds a different regard for animals and human lives. The risk to an animal being hurt during a job exists and is weighed against the cost of not doing that job. What separates the good from the bad is how you handle things when it goes badly. If you allow the animals suffering to continue its no good; however, if you do your best to end, eliminate or reduce that suffering thats the best you can do. What separates good rodeo and good cowboys from bad is how they react when things go sideways.