Bull Riding — Bull riders, who
might not weigh more than 150 pounds, place a flat braided rope around a
bull that weighs almost 2000 pounds. The bull rope is placed around the
animal, just behind its shoulders. It is then looped and threaded
through itself and the cowboy wraps it around his riding hand with only
his grip holding him in place. The rider relies on balance and leg
strength to make the eight-second buzzer. Look for bull riders to sit up
close to their bull ropes and to turn their toes out because rides are
judged on the riding style of the competitor and the bucking ability of
EVENT DESCRIPTION - Rodeo competition, in the beginning, was a natural
extension of the daily challenges cowboys confronted on the ranch — roping
calves and breaking broncs into saddle horses.
Bull riding, which is intentionally
climbing on the back of a 2,000-pound bull, emerged from the fearless and
possibly fool-hardy nature of the cowboy. The risks are obvious. Serious injury
is always a possibility for those fearless enough to sit astride an animal that
literally weighs a ton and is usually equipped with dangerous horns.
Regardless, cowboys do it, fans love it and bull riding ranks as one of rodeo's
most popular events.
Bull riding is dangerous and predictably
exciting, demanding intense physical prowess, supreme mental toughness and
courage. Like bareback and saddle bronc riders, the bull rider may use only one
hand to stay aboard during the eight-second ride. If he touches the bull or
himself with his free hand, he receives no score. But unlike the other
roughstock contestants, bull riders are not required to mark out their animals.
While spurring a bull can add to the cowboy's score, riders are commonly judged
solely on their ability to stay aboard the twisting, bucking mass of muscle.
Balance, flexibility, coordination, quick reflexes and, perhaps above all, a
strong mental attitude are the stuff of which good bull riders are made.
To stay aboard the bull, a rider grasps
a flat braided rope, which is wrapped around the bull's chest just behind the
front legs and over its withers. One end of the bull rope, called the tail, is
threaded through a loop on the other end and tightened around the bull. The
rider then wraps the tail around his hand, sometimes weaving it through his
fingers to further secure his grip.
Then he nods his head, the chute gate
swings open, and he and the bull explode into the arena.
Every bull is unique in its bucking
habits. A bull may dart to the left, then to the right, then rear back. Some
spin or continuously circle in one spot in the arena. Others add jumps or kicks
to their spins, while others might jump and kick in a straight line or move side
to side while bucking.