Below are the 7 standard events in rodeo with a brief description of the event and what the judges will look for from the stock and the competitor. We have 3 rough stock events and 4 timed events.
Saddle Bronc Riding
Saddle Bronc Riding is a highly skilled rodeo event. It is considered to be the most difficult Rough Stock event.
Every ride starts with the contestants feet turned out and over the break of the horses shoulders as the horse leaves the chute. The rider time his spurring to be in sync with the bucking of the horse.
The action in which earns the highest and most points is with the riders feet starting in front of the horses shoulders then continuing with a long sweeping ''stroke'' to the back of the horses saddle as the horse bucks. The rider must then set his feet back to the shoulder with his toes turning out and must get his timing right. Most points are scored for the spurring form the horse shoulder to the girth with extra points given for a ''full lick'' back to the saddle.
Riders must ride with one hand and will be disqualified for:
Touching the horse or equipment with his free hand.
Losing a stirrup.
Letting go or losing the single rope rein.
Riders will not be scored if they get bucked off the horse.
The equipment used in saddle bronc riding include :
standard contest saddle.
plain head collar.
single rope rein.
Bareback Bronc Riding
Bareback riding is a extreme challenge. In simple words, bareback riding is a riding event with no saddle or reins.
The spurring action of the bareback rider make for some of the most exciting and wild rodeos. Bareback riding is considered one of the most physically demanding events in a rodeo.
The rider starts the horse in the chute, his feet must be over the break of the horses shoulders . If the rider misses the mark out/ start he will be disqualified.
The best and most ideal spurring action is with the rider leaning back with his feet in front of the horse and his toes pointed outwards so he can jerk his feet up almost at the wither of the horse as it bucks, repeating these steps ready for the next jump.
The wider and higher the spurring style to more points the rider will get , increasing his score.
In bareback riding the rider has no control over the horse. He is judged simply by his spurring techniques.
Rope & Tie
The essential key to roping and tying is the team work between the horse and the roper.
Given a head start before the barrier is released the animal is roped from horseback. The roper then dismounts from the horse and runs to the animal. He relies on his horse to keep everything under control. After the roper has caught the he then throws it on its side and ties three of his legs with a 'pigging string' that is carried by the contestant in his mouth during the run. If the animal is not on its feet after it has been roped, it must be let up, re-thrown and re-tied.
As the roper finishes his tie the judges take a note of the time it has taken. The roper then has to get back on his horse and ride froward to prove the his tie will hold to the satisfaction of the judge.
If the animal manages to kick free before the judges rule it as a fair tie the contestant will not be given a time for the run.
At the top, winning times are about 10 seconds to rope throw and tie the animal from when it has been released from the barrier
If the animal is pulled off its feet the roper will be disqualified and fined. If the horse drags the animal after it has been roped there will be a disqualification and a fine. The fines are increased for certain offences making sure that only properly trained horses are used for this event.
Bull riding is an ultimate test of courage and of strength. It is classed as the most dangerous event in the rodeo. Not only is it dangerous for the rider but for anger of a bull after the 8 seconds. It can be extremely dangerous if the bull has bucked the rider off or if the rider is injured and defenseless on the ground .
A successful ride on a bucking bull seems like its near impossible. The bulls themselves have great strength and agility and they can weigh a tonne or more putting the odds in their favour.
The fact that bull riders on a regular basis do make qualified rides is truly a tribute to their skills and their intense concentration and focus . A rider needs to have strong legs,a lot of upper body control and super fast like reflexes.
Bull riders aren't required to spur, they can use their feet to pull themselves into position and to hold themselves up on a spinning bull. If a bull bucks you off and you land on the inside of it , it invites the bull to attack immediately and is very dangerous.
During the ride the rider sits over his hand , this helps to avoid being whipped back and forth and coming into contact with the bulls head and horns. Bulls seem to watch and feel every move the rider makes and this gives them a chance to buck the rider off if he moves even slightly out of position.
In judging they look for use of combinations of the free hand and the riders legs and feet to keep him balanced and in the best position for the ride.
Even though spurring isn't required, extra points are earned for the use of feet during the ride for things such as the way the rider uses them in the response to the twists and turns of the bull and the body positioning.
Riders will be disqualified for touching the animal or equipment and of course if they are buck off before the end of the 8 seconds.
Barrel Racing is the original ladies event of the rodeo.
Contestants must cross over the scoreline and run a clover leaf like shape around the barrels and back over and across the scoreline to end the time of the run. The contestants can choose either the barrel on the left or right to go to first but they must complete the clover leaf shape, if this shape isn't completed the rider will be disqualified. Five second penalties are added to the time if a contestant knocks over a barrel but a contestant may hold barrels to stop them from falling over from a riders position.
The time is usually taken from an electric eye to the hundredth of a second.
Steer Wrestling is all about the perfect timing and team work between the steer wrestler and his horse. A horses job is to keep the steer running straight and to keep it from veering away. There is also the ability for his horse to 'rate' the steer and place the contestant just right for his leap and catch. As the horse pulls along side the steer, the contestant leans down from his horse, he leaves his foot in the stirrup and grabs the steers horns. When he has a hold of the horns he uses his feet and body strength to stop the steers from going forward and to put the steer off balance. Once the steer is off balance, the contestant holds grip on the horns to throw the steer on its side .
While strength is an asset, timing and coordination are also very needed. Winning times of this event are usually around five seconds from when the barrier is released with four or less seconds commonplace.
Team roping is the only true team work event in the rodeo. It has two ropers , (a header and a heeler). They work as a team to catch and to control the steer. As the steer leaves from the chute the header proceeds to rope it around the neck the horns and the head. The header turns to steer while the heeler moves inn and ropes the back legs. Disqualifications come into place if the heeler only ropes one leg.