Slang dictionary

goat rodeo

[goht roh-dee-oh]

What does goat rodeo mean?

A goat rodeo is a slang term for something going totally, unbelievably, disastrously wrong, and there’s nothing left to do but to sit back and watch the trainwreck.

In other words, a goat rodeo is a chaotic situation, fiasco, or, more vulgarly, a shitshow. And yes, there are also literal goat rodeos. 🐐

Related words

Charlie Foxtrot, shitshow, hot mess, 🐐 Goat emoji, G.O.A.T., fugazi, fuck this shit I'm out

Where does goat rodeo come from?


Goat rodeo comes from a big family of goat-related slang, such as goat fuck, goat screw, and goat rope.

The more profane version, goat fuck, can be traced to the 1970s. Goat fuck was originally used by military personnel for a “fiasco,” along the lines of SNAFU. The expression may play on the expression get someone’s goat (“irritate them”) and allude to the stubbornness of the animal.

Goat screw and goat rope emerged as euphemisms for the phrase by 1990s. Goat rodeo, yet another adaptation of the term, is evidenced by the early 2000s. The work of a rodeo can be chaotic, helping the expression.

Grant McCracken / Medium

Goat rodeo picked up steam with the release of a 2011 Grammy Award-winning classical-bluegrass album titled “The Goat Rodeo Sessions.”   Named after the complex musical elements it took to combine the two genres, the album was a collaboration between musicians Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile.

Goat rodeo appears elsewhere, such as the name of a Philadelphia-based improv group, a DC news and media company, and even some band names.

Examples of goat rodeo

The debacle that is Santee Cooper keeps right on rolling … an unfenced “goat rodeo” of the first order.
FITSNews, November 2018
Hope ur not flying today. Orlando and ATL are a goat rodeo-backed up like a truck stop toilet! Weather related so no ones fault-just a mess
@GovMikeHuckabee, April 2017
What a goat rodeo shitshow our nation is right now. What a waste of abundance. Over the stupidest wilful, selfish ignorance.
@Krikalitika, January 2019

Who uses goat rodeo?

Goat rodeo generally refers to when something is a complete shitshow and cluster-fuck, i.e., a disaster. Its tone is often humorous or hyperbolic, often used to make fun of something that is exasperating or unmanageable.

Goat rodeo is sometimes used to refer something “wild and crazy” in a good way. Perhaps it’s a 21st birthday bonanza or bachelor party, but if it was a goat rodeo, you know it was pretty lit.

Folks have especially taken to characterizing events of the Trump presidency as a goat rodeo.

But goat rodeo has found a home in many other political contexts, to be sure. 

People do seem to savor the phrase for its bizarre color.

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This is not meant to be a formal definition of goat rodeo like most terms we define on, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of goat rodeo that will help our users expand their word mastery.