Rodeo 101

  • Animal Welfare
  • Rodeo Events
  • Equipment Concerns
  • Rodeo Terms

There are numerous questions about the events in the sport of rodeo and the welfare of the animals utilized to perform them. We are proud to assure you that every animal participating in this American past time is well taken care of. Animals perform best at their peak condition so it is a given that in order to win, the animals are carefully cared for. Rodeo consists of three judged and five timed events. Find out more about the events and animal care by clicking the links below.

 

Bareback Riding
Bareback riding is considered to be one of the most physically demanding events of rodeo. The rider must stay abroad a bucking horse for 8 full seconds, using only a bareback rigging consisting of a leather piece attached to a suitcase-like handle. The event is judged by two field judges each allowed to allot 50 points; 25 are assigned to the rider’s technique and 25 to the quality of the bucking horse. The rider can receive a disqualification for failing to mark-out, which means having his heels over the rough stock’s point of shoulder. The rider can also get disqualified for not riding the full eight seconds or touching self, horse or tack.

 

Steer Wrestling
Steer Wrestling or “bull dogging” is rodeos quickest event. The steer wrestler or “bull dogger” gives the nod and the steer is released from the chute. The steer is given a head start by a string that is tied across the steer chute, called a barrier. If the cowboy crosses that barrier before the steer, it is considered a broken barrier which results in a ten second penalty. The cowboy swiftly rides up beside the running bovine to tackle him and turn him with all four feet facing upward. The hazer is the second cowboy who helps keep the steer running in a line; this man is not part of the contest but usually receives a percentage of the winnings. If the steer stumbles or falls before the bulldogger brings it down, he must either wait for it to rise or help it up before wrestling it to the ground. If the bulldogger completely misses the steer on his way down, he will receive a “no time”.
Steer Wrestling or “bull dogging” is rodeos quickest event. The steer wrestler or “bull dogger” gives the nod and the steer is released from the chute. The steer is given a head start by a string that is tied across the steer chute, called a barrier. If the cowboy crosses that barrier before the steer, it is considered a broken barrier which results in a ten second penalty. The cowboy swiftly rides up beside the running bovine to tackle him and turn him with all four feet facing upward. The hazer is the second cowboy who helps keep the steer running in a line; this man is not part of the contest but usually receives a percentage of the winnings. If the steer stumbles or falls before the bulldogger brings it down, he must either wait for it to rise or help it up before wrestling it to the ground. If the bulldogger completely misses the steer on his way down, he will receive a “no time”.

 

Team Roping
Team roping is the only event where two cowboys compete for one time. The barrier is stretched in front of the steer’s shoot in order to give it a head start, if the cowboy breaks the barrier, a ten second penalty is added. The first cowboy, or header, gives a nod to signal that the team is ready. After the steer trips the barrier the header exits the box and ropes the steer’s horns. A legal catch can consist of both horns, one horn and the neck or just the neck. The second cowboy, or heeler, is close behind and must rope both of the calves’ feet. A five second penalty is added for only roping on hind leg. The timer is stopped when both cowboys are facing the steer.

 

Saddle Bronc Riding
Saddle bronc riding is rodeo’s classic event. It evolved from the task of breaking and training horses to work the cattle ranches of the Old West. During this event riders must mount a near 2,000 pound powerhouse that was bred to buck. At the nod of the cowboy, the chute gate is opened and the rider must mark out. The mark out rule means the cowboy’s heel must be above the horse’s point of shoulder when the horse’s front feet hit the ground. No mark out results in a no score. Other disqualifications include touching his equipment, horse or self with his free hand, not riding the full eight seconds, dropping the reins, or losing a stirrup. The saddle bronc rigging consists of a halter with a thick, nylon braided rope to hold on with as well as a light saddle without a horn and thin stirrups. The event is judged by two field judges each allowed to allot 50 points; 25 are assigned to the rider’s technique and 25 to the quality of the bucking horse.

 

Tie Down Roping
Tie Down Roping is the only event where the horse is required to work independently of its rider. Much like other events involving cattle, the calf is ran down a chute with a barrier in front of it to give the calf a head start. At the cowboy’s confirmation, the chute is opened and the calf is let loose. The cowboy must rope the calf with his lariat then jump off of his horse, who simultaneously starts backing to ensure that the rope is held tight. The cowboy must then flank, or lay the calf on its back where all four feet are facing upwards. He has to tie three of the calves legs together using a piggin’ string and the calf must stay tied for six seconds. After the cowboy ties a hooey, a knot consisting of two wraps and a half hitch knot, he throws his hands up to signify for the timer to stop.

 

Barrel Racing
Barrel Racing is the only WPRA sanctioned event in the PRCA and it is a heated race against the clock. When the cowgirl is ready she shoots through the ally way headed toward the first barrel, or the money barrel. She then makes a sharp turn and heads to her second barrel, turns again and heads to the third, to form a cloverleaf pattern. If she knocks over a barrel it will cause a five seconds to be added to the time which could put her out of the winnings.

 

Bull Riding
Bull Riding has one of the largest growing fan bases because it is the roughest and toughest sport on dirt. A rider has to ride a bucking bull for a full eight seconds. This is considered the most dangerous events in rodeo. The cowboy receives a no time if he does not ride for the full 8 seconds or if he touches his equipment, the bull, or himself with his free hand. He is judged by two judges; fifty points on the cowboy’s technique and fifty points on the bull’s ability to buck. The cowboy receives a higher score for spurring the bull.