Rodeo Events and Explanations
Bareback riding pits horse against rider and is one of the most physically demanding of all the rodeo events. A cowboy attempts to ride a bucking horse by holding onto a “rigging” – a leather and rawhide strap-with no stirrups or seat, for eight seconds. The cowboy must “mark the horse out” when it exits the chute, meaning his feet have to be above the point of the horse’s shoulder throughout the whole first jump. There are 50 possible points awarded for the horse’s bucking ability, and 50 for the cowboy’s riding style.
Steer wrestling a steer requires more than brute strength. The steer wrestler or “bulldogger,” starts behind a barrier, and begins his chase after the steer has been given a head start. The steer wrestler is assisted by a hazer, another cowboy on horseback tasked with keeping the steer running in a straight line. After the catch, the steer wrestler must either bring the steer to a stop or change the direction of the animal’s body before the throw or is disqualified. The clock stops when the steer is on his side with all four legs pointing the same direction.
Known as rodeo’s classic event, saddle bronc riding is judged similarly to bareback riding but there are additional possibilities to being disqualified: losing a stirrup or dropping the thickly braided rein that is attached to the horse’s halter.
Tie Down Roping
Tie down roping is an authentic ranch skill that originated from working cowboys. Once the calf has been roped, the cowboy dismounts and runs down the length of the rope to the calf. Once he reaches the calf, the cowboy ties three legs together with a six-foot pigging string. The calf must remain tied for 6 seconds or the cowboy is disqualified.
Women’s Breakaway Roping
Women’s breakaway roping is very similar to tie-down roping, except that the calf is not thrown & tied. Time stops when the rope breaks free from the cowgirl’s saddle horn.
In team roping, two ropers, a “header” and a “heeler,” work together to catch a steer in the fastest time possible. The header throws his rope first and must catch the steer with one of three legal catches – around the horns, around the neck, or around a half head. The header will then dally his rope around his saddle horn and turn the steer to the left. The heeler then ropes both hind legs for a clean run, or one leg for a 5-second penalty.
Women’s Barrel Racing
Barrel Racing is a fast paced, exciting timed event where horse and rider cross a starting line, race around a cloverleaf pattern and run back across the finish line. Times are recorded to the 100th of a second.
Bull Riding is one of the most exciting events. Like the other rough stock events, the cowboy must last until the 8 second buzzer goes off. Bull riders use a “bull rope,” a braided rope approximately eight feet long, that is fitted around the bull’s mid-section to hold on to. The rider inserts his hand into the rope and the rope is then pulled tight. When the ride is completed, the contestant pulls on the free end of the rope, thus releasing his hand and he jumps away from the bull.