Bull Riding 101

25 Oct

Bull riding is the most popular event at a rodeo, which is why it is usually the last.  Although many enjoy watching the matchup between man and bull, they don’t know the difference between a 60 point ride to and 80 point ride.  To make this event more entertaining for the viewer it helps to know the basic gear used and how bull riding is scored.

Riders Equipment

A cowboy’s equipment is the most important to him; they use a tightly braided rope (known as a bull rope) that warps around the bull, and then laps over into the rider’s hand. The riders grasp and strength hold the rope together and keeps them on the bull.  To help them keep their grip riders use rosin; which starts out in a rock form but when heated becomes sticky.  So when you see the cowboys wearing a leather glove and running there hand up the rope, they are spreading the rosin on their bull rope with friction.  For safety they wear leather chaps, a chest protection vest, and now many riders wear helmets. Leather chaps protect the rider’s legs from getting hit on the chutes or fence when on the bull, even though they are for protection many riders like to make them look flashy.  Now that you know what is going on behind the chutes, you can learn more about the scoring.

How riders are scored

There are  two judges each can give 1-25 points for the cowboy’s performance and 1-25 points for the bull’s performance, totaling 50 point possible from each judge and together making a perfect ride of 100 points.  The bull is scored by how well he bucks, and spins; if a bull ends up on the other end of the arena he will probably score very low because he did more running then bucking. The rider is judged by how much he spurs the bull, and if he is in control through the ride. Obviously the rider is not trying to control the bull but control his body and moves with the bull never getting behind or ahead of him. The chaps that they wear also help to score a few points higher, by enhancing the movement of their spurring motion and looking attractive with the bright colors.

Next time you are at a rodeo, watch closely to the movement of the bull, and how well the cowboy rides and try guessing what the end score will be, you might be surprised how well you do.

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