I see the necessity of calf roping on a ranch, but those calves are penned in one area, the rider calmly walks his horse near, lassos the calf, then they brand, and castrate, then let the calf go. That is a far cry from sticking a calf in a shoot, and chasing it down, roping it, and throwing it to the ground.
Rodeos started as competitions between ranch hands, same as horse racing started as competitions between neighbors, but for the sake of entertainment, they are now a far cry from the competitions they used to be.
That being said, I do like some aspects of the rodeo, bronc riding and bull riding are two of my favorites, though I'm not sure exactly where the whole bull riding came from. Who decided "hey, I bet you can't ride that bull"? But in true sanctioned rodeos, there are quite a few rules and regulations for the safety and health of an animal, and the bulls and broncs literally do if I remember correctly 2 "runs" a season, then are put out to pasture for the rest of the time. So imo I don't think a majority of rodeo events are "cruel" to the animal, but there are a few events I'd like to see either changed, or not done anymore.