Bareback Bronc Riding
The contestant hangs onto the horse using only a custom fitted handhold in a rawhide and leather rigging. As in the saddle bronc riding, the mark out rule is in effect and a cowboy must have a consistent spurring motion to earn a high score. Marking for bareback spurring motion is different. Instead of going front-to-back the spurs start near the front of the neck and rake upwards almost to the rigging. After the horn goes, the pickup men ride alongside the horse to assist the cowboy in his dismount.
Saddle Bronc Riding
The cowboy rides a specially fitted, regulation bronc saddle. He holds onto the ‘swells’ of his saddle with his thighs while lifting on a single rein with one hand to keep him down in the saddle. Aside from getting bucked off before the eight seconds, a contestant can also be disqualified for touching the horse or his equipment with his free hand during his ride. The mark out rule is also in effect in both of the horse riding events. The cowboy must have his feet in contact with the horse’s neck at the conclusion of his first move out of the chute. This gives the horse an advantage at the beginning of the ride. If the cowboy fails to put his feet in the proper position he will be disqualified. The cowboy gets higher marks for moving his legs from back to front, keeping in time with the horse.
In barrel racing, the contestant enters the arena at full speed on a sprinting horse. As she enters, she triggers an electronic eye that starts the clock. Then the racer rides a cloverleaf pattern around the three barrels and sprints back out of the arena, tripping the eye and stopping the clock. If the contestant overturns the barrel she receives a 5 second penalty.
Jr. Barrel Racing
The rules for junior barrel racing are the same as for ladies barrel racing but is available for contestants fifteen years of age and younger. Junior barrel racing is a great opportunity for both the riders and horses alike to learn the tricks and techniques of barrel racing.
Breakaway roping is a skillful event requiring perfect co-ordination between roper and trained horse. Starting from behind a barrier, giving the calf a head start, the horse quickly places the roper in a position for a throw with catch rope. The horse’s ability to hold the position of the calf in order for the roper to throw is essential to the event. Once the catch is made, the horse slides to a halt and the rope breaks away from the saddle horn. A piece of coloured cloth is attached to the end of the rope to assist the judges in seeing and timing the break. Breakaway roping is available for ladies and boys fifteen years of age and younger.
Jr. Bull Riding
The future looks bright for Rodeo’s rough stock event. Watch closely as you are witnessing tomorrow’s champions in action. These ‘Second/Third Generation’ cowboys are competing on very agile and feisty steers to have the skills they will require once they graduate to the mean and nasty bull-riding event. A bull rope, glove, resin, spurs, chaps, Kevlar vest and hockey helmet for protection are the gear they require. An eight second ride with their free hand in the air will give the cowboy a maximum total score of 100, based on the same scoring system used in bull riding. Aside for the obvious physical agility, these youngsters will require a huge dose of courage and your applause to see them through!
Bull riders must have the reflexes and the body control of a gymnast if they hope to be successful. A bull rider stays on by means of a flat braided rope with a loose handhold. Using his grip and a little dry resin, he keeps that rope tight around the girth of the bull, just behind the front legs. Bull riders are not required to ‘mark out’ the bull or spur at all times, but they increase their scores if they do. Once the rider is unseated, whether by his choice or the bull’s, bullfighters move in to distract the bull, allowing the cowboy to get to safety.