Ready to ride, the cowboy lifts one hand in the air while the other hand holds tightly to the rigging, a leather hand-hold placed around the horse. Once out of the chute, the rider must keep his feet above the horse's shoulder before its front hooves hit the arena dirt on the first jump. This is called "marking out". Points will be deducted from the rider's score if he fails to mark his horse out, and will be disqualified if his free and touches the horse, himself, or the rigging at any time during the ride. The cowboy must rely on his strength & technique, without assistance from any equipment during the 8 second ride.
Saddle Bronc Riding
Rodeo's classic event evolved from the Old West when gritty cowboys fought to tame nature by breaking and training wild horses from their cattle ranches. As soon as the chute opens, the rider's hand tightens around the soft woven rein attached to the horse's halter, and the dance begins. A rider can receive a point deduction for simply missing his "mark out". The rider can also be disqualified if he touches any part of the horse or his body with his free hand at any time during the 8 second ride.
Breakaway roping is a variation of Tie-Down Roping where a calf is roped, but not thrown down and tied. It is a rodeo event that features a calf and one mounted rider. The hot pursuit does not begin until the calf reaches its head start point and triggers a trip lever, releasing the barrier in front of the roper's chute. Once the barrier has released, the horse runs out of the box while the roper attempts to throw a lasso around the neck of the calf. Once the rope is around the calf's neck, the roper signals the horse to stop suddenly. The rope is tied to the saddle horn with a string. When the calf hits the end of the rope, the rope is pulled tight and the string breaks. The breaking of the string marks the end of the run.
Tie Down Roping
Derived from the practical method cowboys use to gather cattle for medical treatments or branding. The hot pursuit does not bein until the calf reaches its head start point and triggers a trip lever, releasing the barrier in front of the roper's chute. In seconds, the roper and horse will go from a standstill to full tilt gallop, racing after the calf and against the clock. The horse is trained to move backward to maintain tension on the rope. With strength & adrenaline, the rider lifts the calf, lays it on its side and ties three of the calf's legs. Calf must remain tied for six seconds after the rider remount his horse.
Participants ages 6 to 12 attempt to pull a ribbon from the tails of the calves released in the arena. The first 3 participants to bring a ribbon to the center of the arena will receive 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes.
Ranch Bronc Riding
The ranch rodeo bronc riding event is derived from the need for horses to be broke to ride, turned into usable ranch horses in the pasture. It is in some ways similar to traditional saddle bronc riding. Time starts for each ride when the horse comes out of the bucking chute with a rider for an 8 second ride. Unlike Saddle Bronc Riding and Bareback Riding there is no mark outs. Ranch Bronc Rider can use a night latch and must use a regular working saddle and one-rein backing horse halter.
This event will consist of participants ages 3 to 5 taking off both boots or shoes which will be put in a pile; participants will run down to the pile to search for their boots or shoes, putting them back on and running back to the judge. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place will be awarded a prize.
In the event, a sheep is held still, either in a small chute or by an adult handler while a child is placed on top in the riding position. Once the child is seated atop the sheep, the sheep is released and usually starts to run in an attempt to het the child off. There are no set rules for mutton busting. Age, height, and weight restrictions on participants generally prevent injuries to the sheep, and gear such as spurs are banned from use. Children are required to wear helmets and parents must sign a waiver.
Opportunity for youth to experience bull riding on a smaller bull. Western wear and safety equipment are required. Parents must sign a waiver.
Two riders on horseback are positioned on either side of the steer's chute in preparation for the wild chase. After the steer gains a head start, the first roper, known as the header, must rope the steer in one of three ways: around both horns, around one horn and the head, or around the neck. If the header ropes the steer in any other fashion, the team is disqualified. After the header ropes the steer and quickly dallies his lasso (ties it around the saddle horn), he must quickly turn the steer to the left to set up his partner, the heeler. The heeler's task is to lasso both of the hind legs. Time is called when both horses turn to face each other with no slack in the ropes holding the steer.
Timing is truly everything in barrel racing as a contestant's run is racing against a clock and measured in hundredths of a second. Entering the arena at full speed, the horse and rider races to complete a cloverleaf pattern around the three barrels in a triangle formation before crossing the timer and exiting the arena. Riding at top speed, the rider and horse must be accurate or else they risk knocking over a barrel and adding a penalty of five precious seconds to their total time.
Junior Barrel Racing
Opportunity for youth to experience barrel racing. Western wear is a requirement.
A bull rider must be made tougher than most men, as bull riding is often considered the most dangerous sport in rodeo. The fate of the ride is in the cowboy's own hands as he grips the bull rope through the roughest ride of his life. A bull rider can be disqualified for touching the bull or himself with his free hand during the ride. A bull rider's dream is an eight second ride, time isn't the only factor in the score. The bull's bucking efforts account for half of the rider's points. The cowboy must ride for eight seconds to have a qualified ride.