All About the Most Exciting Rodeo Game “Bull Riding”

All About the Most Exciting Rodeo Game “Bull Riding”

If you think bull riding is all about cruel riders, bulls, and wide rodeo clowns, then trust me, you are wrong. Bull riding is one of the most exciting and popular rodeo games in which riders try to maintain balances on a tamed bull for a particular time duration. It is the most dangerous rodeo sport in which injuries are a part of the game. The game requires coordination. High spirit, courage, and flexibility to compete. 

Bull riding is a famous sport in the USA and in different countries across the globe. At present more and more nations are hosting their bull riding competitions. Bull riding competitions are organized in countries like Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Panama, Guatemala, Honduras, and Australia. All of them compete following the rules of the Professional Bull Riders Organisation. 

What is Bull Riding?

Bull riding is a rodeo event in which the participants try to ride on a bull while the animal opposes violently. The riders try to mount the bull for a particular time. They have to hold the bull using a braided rope that is made of Manila or nylon and is wrapped around the chest of the animal. 

Bull riding is an old game with its roots back from ancient times. However, the current version of bull riding has its roots in Mexican contests of ranching skills known as Charreada. It was previously known as Jaripeo. It was a kind of bullfighting that required riders to ride the bulls to death. The game evolved to simple riding in which the bull is ridden until it stops bucking. 

The popularity of the game raised to a remarkable extent, and it led to the foundation of the Rodeo Cowboy Association (RCA) in 1936. At present, the association is known as the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA). 

Object of Bull Riding

If you love dangerous sports like rugbyMMA, or skiing, then you must surely be a fan of bull riding. It is one of the most dangerous sports that are played across the globe. 

It is a famous game in which the rider has to ride the bull for at least eight-second while the bull spins, twists, and kicks in an attempt to throw the riders off. The rider is allowed to hold only using the riding hand, which makes it challenging for the rider and exciting for the viewers. 

If the rider holds successfully for eight seconds, he gets points on the basis of his riding skills and the hurdles faced during the ride. The judges provide points to the riders. The rider with the highest score is declared as the winner. 

Players and Equipment

Each ride includes a bull and a rider. It might look like bull riding requires less equipment, but it is not trusted. There is a wide range of key pieces of kit that are necessary for safety and performance. Below mentioned are equipment for bull riding. 

  • Bull Rope – A rider holds onto a rope while riding the bull. It is made of a braided rope or any other substances. The size of the rope is adjustable according to the size of the bull. The size of the rope also depends on how the rider tries to control and hold the bull.  
  • Boots – Cowboy boots are an essential part of bull riding. Their spurs help the riders to manage a balance while riding the bull. They can also use the boots to spur the bull into action while attempting to score style points. 
  • Gloves – As rope can burn the hand and cause injury. It is essential to wear gloves while riding the bull. Each rider wears leather gloves in order to prevent burn and manage a good grip. 
  • Chaps – They are worn on the legs of the riders. Chaps render protection and avoid chafing while they are thrown on the bull. 
  • Helmets – It is not essential to wear helmets at the competitions of an adult level. However, they are essential at the junior level. More and more riders are wearing helmets now. 

Bull Riding Scoring

How is bull riding scored? The process of bull riding scoring is straightforward. It starts once the rider continues riding the bull for more than eight seconds. 

In bull riding, scoring for each ride is done out of 100. It has two judges, and each scores the rider out of 50 and the bull also out of 50. The total scores are then added together, and then they are averaged between the judges to calculate the final score for the ride. Judges score various aspects of the rider and the bull. 

Judges score on the basis of how hard time a bull gives to the rider. In short, the harder the ride, the more points they get. The power, agility, and speed that the bull shows also helps in getting more points. While judging the rider, the judges analyze the control of the rider during the ride and the rhythm that they show in harmony with the bull. 

Winning Bull Riding

Now the question is how bull riding works? Or how the winner in bull riding is decided? In bull riding, riders compete for various rounds, which may last for several nights. Each rider has one ride per night. Experienced riders can easily score more than 75, but some can score over 80. There are also exceptional riders who can score a 90 or more than that.

All the scores are added up on the final night, and the top 20 riders have to ride one more time. It is the final round and is known as rodeos. The rider with the maximum point in this round is declared the winner. 

Bull Riding Rules

Below mentioned are bull riding rules. 

  • The rodeo competitions take place for several nights. Each rider is required to ride a different bull each night. 
  • Each bull that will be used in the game should be chosen to display the characteristics of health, agility, and strength. 
  • During the game, the rider climbs the bull in a bucking chute (small enclosure). Here the bull is held steady, and the rider prepares themselves to start the ride. 
  • Once the rider is ready and has an appropriate grip on the rope, the bucking chute is opened. After this, the bull rushes into the area while it is being ridden by the rider. 
  • The riders try to stay on the bull while it twists, bucks, spins, and dismounts them. The rider has to stay for eight or more seconds to get scored by the judges. If the rider is unable to stay for eight seconds, then the rider goes un-scored.
  • A rodeo clown stays closer to the rider throughout the ride in order to help them if they are thrown off the bull. They distract the bull to make sure that the bull does not injure the rider while he is on the floor. Moreover, the clowns also help the riders to leave the area safely. 
  • The riders generally ride on the bull per night during a multiple night ride. The top 20 riders with the highest score ride in the final night. The one who scores maximum points in the final round wins the match. 

Interesting Facts About Bull Riding

There are many myths related to bull riding. People think it is a sport with wild rodeo clowns, cruel rides, and bulls, but there is a lot more than that. Below mentioned are some interesting facts about bull riding. 

  • Riders are required to stay on the bulls for at-least eight seconds to start scoring. If they fail to do so, the ride is un-scored.
  • Bull Riding is not only for fun. It is one of the toughest professional sports.
  • Bull riding has the world’s dangerous and heaviest athletes. Yes, you read it right. The bulls participating in the ride are also considered athletes. If any of the riders hurt the bulls, they are disqualified.
  • In bull riding, there is a strict ban on punishment systems to stimulate the animals.
  • Bull riding is a professional sport that is held across the world on national and international levels. 

Final Words

Bull riding is an amazing sport in which heroes are born and torn apart in a time frame of just eight seconds. The small-time periods decide the winner. Bull riding does not encourage hurting bulls. They are raised to participate in the game and are considered athletes. If you find the information on bull riding helpful, drop a comment. 


rashmi saini

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