I've ridden in rodeos since I was 9 years old, I've been barrel racing for 11 years now, and ridden in hundreds of rodeos. Not all rodeos are bad. There is one particular rodeo company, which I will not mention by name, that has cowboys who smack the broncs and bulls in the head while in the chutes to anger the animal. That throughly ticked me off, and I happened to know one of those men.
People disregard the sport of rodeo because to them, its not a sport, its just entertainment. Which for the most part it is, but for most of us riders, we get large payoffs for winning or even placing. People will continue to hate our sport no matter how much we try to convince them otherwise. I'm looked down upon because I even partake in these activities, but if you ask me other horse sports are dangerous if not worse than rodeo. I've watched plently of horses die, or break a leg jumping and running cross country, as well as various racehorses.......if anything people need to hate horse racing. Its one of the worst sports out there, people breed these animals just to practicaly race them to death. They only want MONEY, and if the horse doesn't place or doesn't have the heart to race they "throw" them away.