Adults 18+ only
Rodeo - The Events
August 25th @ 6:30pm, August 26th Slack Time @ 11:00am, Rodeo @ 6:00pm, August 27th @ 12:00pm
Bareback - Part of the Kenton Randle Bareback SeriesMost cowboys agree that bareback riding is the most physically demanding event in rodeo, taking an immense toll on the cowboy's body. Muscles are stretched to the limit, joints are pulled and pounded mercilessly, and ligaments are strained and frequently rearranged. The strength of a bareback bronc is exceptional, and challenging them is often costly. Bareback riders endure more abuse, suffer more injuries and carry away more long-term damage than all other rodeo cowboys.
Instead of a saddle, a double-thick leather pad, called rigging, is cinched on the bronc's back. It resembles a suitcase handle on a strap, which is placed atop the horse's withers and secured with a cinch. Using only one hand, the cowboy must hold onto the leather handhold of the rigging, which is customized to snugly fit to the riders grip. The rider tries to spur the horse on each jump, reaching as far forward as he can with his feet and then bringing his ankles up toward the rigging. It's the bareback rider's arm that takes all the stress as it absorbs most of the horse's bucking power. While his arm endures this incredible tension, his hand must remain intact within the rigging's handhold for the full eight seconds.
No stirrups or reins are used in the event. To qualify, the rider must mark the horse out of the chute by keeping his spurs over the break of the shoulders until the first jump out of the chute is completed. The bareback rider will be disqualified if he touches the animal or equipment with his free hand or if he is bucked off before the eight-second ride is completed.
Steer WrestlingTiming, co-ordination, speed and strength are essentials for a steer wrestler. In fact with a world record sitting at 2.4 seconds, steer wrestling is the quickest event in rodeo. The objective of the steer wrestler, who is also known as a 'bulldogger' is to use strength and technique to wrestle a steer to the ground as quickly as possible. It all sounds so simple.
The catch is - the steer generally weighs more than twice as much as the cowboy and at the same time the two come together, they're traveling at (30 miles per hour) 50 kilometers per hour. Speed and precision, the two most important ingredients in steer wrestling, make bulldogging one of rodeo's most challenging events.
The bulldogger starts on horseback in a box. A breakaway rope barrier is attached to the steer and stretched across the open end of the box (end facing the arena). The steer is given a head start and must cross the score line (advantage point), then the barrier is released and the bulldogger takes off in pursuit. If the rider does break the barrier prematurely, before the steer reaches his head start, ten-seconds are added to his time.
Coming out of the starting box, the horse runs alongside the steer and is trained to run on by as the steer wrestler reaches for his steer. When the cowboy reaches the steer, he slides down and off his galloping horse, hooks with a firm grip on the steer's right horn, grasps the left horn with his other hand, then the cowboy hits the ground with his legs extended forward, brings the steer to a dead stop and then using his left hand as leverage under the steer's jaw, he throws the steer off balance and wrestles it to the ground. The steer must be flat on its side and all four feet pointing in the same direction before official time is taken.
This event requires an extra horse ridden by a hazer, whose job it is to keep the steer running as straight as possible. The hazer gallops his horse on the opposite side of the steer from the bulldogger, keeping the steer between them and from veering away from the bulldogger.
Saddle Bronc - Part of the Duane Daines Saddle Bronc SeriesSaddle bronc riding is rodeo's classic event, both a compliment and contrast to the wilder spectacles of bareback riding and bull riding. This event requires strength to be sure, but the event also demands style, grace and precise timing. Saddle bronc riding evolved from the task of breaking and training horses to work with the cattle ranches of the Old West. Many cowboys claim riding saddle broncos is the toughest rodeo event to master because of the technical skills necessary for success. Every move the bronc rider makes must be synchronized with the movement of the horse. The cowboy's objective is a fluid ride, somewhat in contrast to the wilder and less-controlled rides of bareback riders.
To qualify, the rider must have his spurs over the break of the shoulders until the horse completes his first jump out of the chute (called marking out). He will be disqualified for touching with his free hand any part of the animal or equipment, for losing a stirrup or for getting bucked off before the end of the eight-second ride. Each event requires a key component to achieve success and for saddle bronc competition, this component is maintaining a good rhythm. In time with the bronc's bucking action, the rider spurs from the animal's neck, using a full swing, toward the back of the saddle with his toes pointed outwards.
The equipment required by the saddle bronc competitor includes his own CPRA approved saddle, spurs with dull rowels (the revolving disk at the end of each spur), leather chaps and a braided rein. The length of the rein is crucial as it can mean the difference between staying on the bronc for the full eight seconds, or being tossed off. Holding onto the rein with one hand and by adjusting his grip carefully, the cowboy can maintain his balance and, hopefully, prevent himself from being pulled out of the saddle and over the front end of the horse.
Boys Steer Riding
Open to cowboys 11 to 14 years of age as of the current year. The riders wear chaps, and spurs. For safety, they use protective vests and helmets with a face mask. A Boys Steer Rider stays on by means of a flat braided steer rope with a handhold, and a bell underneath. Using his grip and a little dry resin, he keeps that rope tight around the girth of the Steer, just behind the front legs.
Contestants are allowed to ride with one or two hands. If they elect to ride one-handed, they have to abide by the rules of bull riding – they are disqualified for the touching the animal or themselves, or for grabbing with both hands during the eight second ride.
Boys Steer Riders are not required to “mark out” the Steer or spur, but they increase their scores if they do. Once the rider is unseated, whether by his choice or the Steer’s, the bullfighters move in to distract the Steer, allowing the cowboy to get to safety.
As in other roughstock events, half the score is awarded for the cowboy’s ability to ride, and the other half for the stock’s ability to buck.
A crowd favourite, our young cowpokes - gals and guys are placed on the back of a sheep. They have riggin - similar to those used by the bull riders. Our young cowboys and cowgirls of the future place both their hands into the riggin and hold on once the gate to the chute is opened. As they race across the arena on top of their sheep, the spills and thrills are sure to excite everyone in the crowd. Give these future stars a round of applause showing off their grit, determination and fearlessness. Click here to register for Mutton Bustin.
Wild Pony Race
The Wild Pony Race features teams of three kids (between eight and twelve years old) who try to control and ride a wild pony. The way this works is the first team lines up outside a chute gate. They hold onto a lead shank that's attached to their pony's halter. The gate opens and the fun begins. It's a race against the clock and the other teams, with the timer starting the instant the gate is opened. The job is completed when one of the three team members is able to mount and ride the pony for a minimum of two jumps. To say the crowd loves this event is very much an understatement. The roar the kids get, whether successful or not, is as loud as any cheer throughout the rodeo. Click here to register your team of three!
Tie Down RopingThe roots of tie-down roping can be traced back to the working ranches of the Old West. When calves were sick or injured, cowboys had to rope and immobilize them quickly for veterinary treatment. Ranch hands prided themselves on the speed with which they could rope and tie calves, and they soon turned their work into informal contests. As the event matured, being a good horseman and a fast sprinter became as important to the competitive tie-down roper as being quick and accurate with a rope. Today, the mounted cowboy starts from a box, a three-sided fenced area adjacent to the chute holding the calf. The fourth side of the box opens into the arena.
The calf receives a head start that is determined by the length of the arena. One end of a breakaway rope barrier is looped around the calf's neck and stretched across the open end of the box. When the calf reaches it's 'advantage point', the barrier across the arena side of the box is released.
Truly a team effort, tie down roping demands split-second timing as the cowboy and his horse race against the clock and other competitors to catch and tie a calf. The calf must cross the score line (advantage point) before the rider breaks the barrier (a rope across the chute) or a ten-second penalty is added to his score. After roping the calf, the cowboy dismounts his horse, runs down the rope and throws the animal to the ground by hand - a maneuver called flanking. More time is lost if the calf is already down when the roper reaches the animal because the calf must be up (standing) before the cowboy may throw it down. After the calf is flanked the roper uses his piggin string (a short looped rope the cowboy clenches in his teeth during the run) to tie together any three legs of the calf. Once the 3 legs are tied together - the cowboy throws his hands up in the air as a signal that the run is completed. The roper then remounts his horse, rides forward to create slack in the rope and waits as the tie around the 3 legs must hold for six seconds or the roper is disqualified.
The horse, which works with a calf roper, must be able to judge the speed of the calf, be able to stop on cue in a single stride, and then hold the rope taut when the roper runs to his calf. Finding a horse that can be trained to do all this well is a difficult task.
Ladies Barrel RacingThe only ladies' event in professional rodeo. Barrel racing has no judges, which means the event has no subjective points of view. Time is the determining factor and what we can call the determining judge and jury. Barrel racing is graceful and simplistic - one woman, three barrels, a horse and the stop watch. The contestant rides their horse as quickly as possible around a clover-leaf pattern around three barrels and back across the score-line to end time. After all the racers have finished their runs, the clock is the one and only judge. So ride quick and win - hesitate and lose.
Not only have the best in the sport spent countless hours practicing and honing their skill, but they also have invested many dollars in the purchase and maintenance of the talented horses they ride. A proven barrel racing horse can cost as much as or more than $50,000. Not only must the horse be swift, they have to be intelligent enough to avoid tripping the barrels, an infraction that adds 5 penalty seconds to the time and kills any chance for victory. The horse must be able to withstand the long roads a cowgirl must travel to reach the next rodeo. If a horse is fast, competitive and reacts calmly to the demands of travel, chances are good that horse can stop the clock as quickly or quicker than the animal in the next trailer.
A cowgirl starts the run at the end of the arena - crosses a line to start the clock. She then chooses either barrel, on the left or right, (either may be taken first) and completes a cloverleaf pattern thru the 3 barrels, but a contestant will be disqualified for not following the cloverleaf pattern. Remember a five-second penalty will be added to the run time for each barrel knocked down, but a contestant may, from a riding position, hold a barrel from falling. After completing the cloverleaf the cowgirl gallops on her horse back across the start line to end her time. The time is generally taken with the use of an electric eye to the hundredths of a second. The goal - Stop the clock as fast as possible.
Team RopingTeam Roping requires close cooperation and timing between two cowboys, a "header" and a "heeler" who work to rope a steer in the shortest time possible. The event originated on ranches when cowboys needed to treat or brand large steers and the task proved too difficult for one man. The key to success - hard work and endless practice. Team roping partners must perfect their timing, both as a team and with their respective horses.
Similar to tie down ropers and steer wrestlers, team ropers start from the boxes on each side of the chute from which the steer enters the arena. One end of a breakaway barrier is attached to the steer and stretched across the open end of the headers box. The steer then gets a head start and must cross the score line (advantage point), then the barrier is released and the header takes off in pursuit, with the heeler trailing slightly behind. The ropers are assessed a 10 second penalty if the header breaks the barrier before the steer completes his head start.
The header throws his rope to catch the steer with one of three legal head catches: around the head and one horn, around the neck, or around both horns. Any other catch by the header is considered illegal and the team is disqualified. Once the header has caught the steer, he wraps the rope around the saddle horn (dallies) and turns left with the steer in tow, which exposes the steer's hind legs to the heeler. The heeler then ropes both hind legs of the steer and dallies his rope. Once the slack has been taken out of both ropes and the contestants are facing each other, the flag drops and time stops. If the heeler only catches one leg, a 5-second penalty is added. If the heeler throws his loop before the header has turned the steer left, that is called a "crossfire" and the run is disqualified.
Bull RidingRodeo competition, in the beginning, was a natural extension of the daily challenges cowboys confronted on the ranch - roping calves and breaking bronc's into saddle horses. Bull riding, which is intentionally climbing on the back of a 2000-pound bull, emerged from the fearless and possibly foolhardy 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. Bull riding is dangerous and predictably exciting, demanding intense physical prowess, balance, quick reflexes, supreme mental toughness and courage - all stuff of which good bull riders are made.
The bull rider uses one hand to stay aboard during the eight-second ride. A braided manila rope is the cowboy's only security as he rides a wildly bucking Brahma/cross bull. The rope is wrapped loosely around the bull and a weighted cowbell hangs underneath. While spurring a bull can add to the cowboys score, riders are commonly judged solely on their ability to stay aboard the twisting, bucking mass of muscle. When the ride is over, the cowbell pulls the rope free. The bull rider will be disqualified for touching the bull with his free hand or bucking off before the end of the eight-second ride. As it is tremendously difficult just to remain on top of these loose-hided animals, riders are not required to spur.
The successful bull riders keep themselves close to their handhold throughout the whole ride. This prevents the holding arm from straightening and jerking the hand loose. Bull riding, the most dangerous of all rodeo events, demands that a bullfighting clown be in the rodeo arena during each ride. As the cowboy dismounts or is thrown from the bull, the bullfighter distracts the animal until the bull rider reaches safety.