Founded in 1902 as a rail stop on the El Paso and Southwestern Railroad line running from Bisbee, Arizona to El Paso, Texas, it became the center for cattle shipping in the San Simon Valley. Two views exist as to the source of Rodeo’s name. One suggests the town's name derives from the Spanish word rodeo meaning "roundup" or "enclosure" in reference to cattle shipping. However, the noun rodeo is derived from the Spanish verb rodear meaning "to surround" or "to go around". The El Paso and Southwestern railroad ran east across the southern part of the state and after passing through Antelope Pass turns south to Rodeo continuing to Douglas, Arizona and then north to Bisbee, going around the Chiricahua Mountains.