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Home > About Us > 2024 Rodeo > Rodeo Event Descriptions

Bareback Riding

Sponsored by MEI Group

Bareback riding, developed in the rodeo arena many years ago, consistently produces some of the wildest action in the sport. A bareback rider begins his ride with his feet placed above the break of the horse's shoulder. If the cowboy's feet are not in the correct position when the horse hits the ground on its first jump out of the chute, the cowboy has failed to "mark out" the horse properly and is disqualified.

Throughout the eight-second ride, the cowboy must grasp the rigging (a handhold made of leather and rawhide) with only one hand. Optimum spurring action begins with the rider in control, his heels at the horse's neck. He then pulls his feet, toes turned outward, to the horse's withers until the cowboy's feet are nearly touching the bareback rigging. A rider is disqualified if he touches his equipment, himself or the animal with his free hand. The rider is judged on his control during the ride and on his spurring technique. The score also is based on the rider's "exposure" to the strength of the horse. In addition, the horse's performance accounts for half the potential score.

Buckle Sponsor: Marion Ag Service

Steer Wrestling

Sponsored by IBEW Local 48

Steer wrestling is the quickest event in rodeo. The objective of the endeavor is evident in its name: to wrestle a steer to the ground using only leverage and strength. The steer wrestler, or "bulldogger," begins his run behind along with his "hazer," a second cowboy whose task is to keep the steer from veering away from the steer wrestler. The steer is given a head start, the length of which varies depending on the size of the arena. After the steer has reached the "score line" and the barrier is released, the steer wrestler and hazer chase the steer on their specially trained horses until the bulldogger is in position to dismount onto the racing steer. The steer wrestler slides down the right side of this horse until he can reach the steer's right horn and grasps the left horn in his left hand, then digs his heels deep into the dirt and uses leverage to bring down the steer. All this occurs in 3 to 5 seconds, depending on the size of the arena. In addition to sheer strength, timing and balance are important to the steer wrestler. The hazer also is an important factor in the equation. Without him, the setter could quickly sour a run by veering away from the steer wrestler. Many hazers also supply horses for the steer wrestlers. If the steer wrestler places, the hazer receives a share of the payoff. If not, both go home empty-handed.

Buckle Sponsor: St. Paul Telephone

Bull Riding

Sponsored by Abby's Legendary Pizza

Unlike the other rough stock contestants, bull riders are not required to spur. No wonder. It's usually impressive enough to remain seated for eight seconds on an animal that may weigh more than a ton and is as quick as he is big. Upper body control and strong legs are essential to riding bulls. The rider tries to remain forward, or "over his hand," at all times. Leaning back could cause him to be whipped forward when the bull bucks. Judges watch for good body position and other factors, including use of the free arm and spurring action. Although not required, spurring will add pints to a rider's score. As in all the riding events, half of the score in bull riding is determined by the contestant's performance and the other half is based on the animal's efforts. A bull rider will be disqualified for touching the animal, himself or his equipment with his free hand.

Buckle Sponsor: Windermere Realty Trust

Tie-Down Roping

Sponsored by HighLine Firearms

More than any other event in professional rodeo, tie-down roping has roots dating back to the Old West. When a calf was sick or injured, it had to be caught and immobilized quickly for treatment. Ranch hands prided themselves on how fast they could rope and tie calves, and soon they began informal contests. Being quick and accurate with a lasso aren't the only requirements in calf roping. A successful roper also must be an experienced horseman and a fast sprinter. After giving the calf a predestinated head start, the horse and rider give chase. As the cowboy throws his loop, the horse comes to a stop. After catching the calf, the cowboy dismounts, runs to the calf, throws it to the ground by hand (called "flanking") and ties any three legs together using a "pigging sting" he has carried in his teeth throughout the run. While the contestant is accomplishing all this, the horse must keep the slack out of the rope, but not pull it tight enough to drag the calf. If the calf is not standing when the roper reaches it, the cowboy must allow the calf to stand before making the tie. When the roper has completed this tie, he throws his hands in the air as a signal to the flag judge. He then remounts his horse and rides toward the calf, making the rope slack.

Buckle Sponsor: Brown Insurance

Junior Bull Riding

Sponsored by Astound Broadband

Junior Bull Riding is an exciting, crowd-pleasing event added to each rodeo performance where fearless 8-12 year old cowboys and cowgirls test their mettle atop spirited, bucking bull calves, all hoping to ride to the buzzer!

Buckle Sponsor: KG Farms

Entry Information

A limited number of entrants are accepted. For entry information call Matt Wieshoff at 503-803-0680.

Breakaway Roping

Breakaway Roping 101

Sponsored by Empire Batteries, Inc.

Breakaway Roping starts with a calf in a roping chute. The roper is in a box on the heeler’s side (right side) of the roping chute. Once the roper positions their horse in the corner facing straight ahead and gives the nod, the calf is released. Most times, the calf has a small rope around its neck. This rope is connected to the barrier that the roper and their horse cannot cross until the calf has a head start. The connecting rope breaks when the calf reaches the right distance, and the roping can begin!

The goal is to throw a bell collar catch around the calf’s neck. Immediately upon snagging the calf, the roper’s horse slams on the brakes, cinching the rope taut. When this happens, the string that ties the rope to the saddlehorn breaks and this signals the end of the run. When the string breaks, the clock stops.

Buckle Sponsor: McKay Agriculture

Saddle Bronc Riding

Sponsored by Wilco/Valley Agronomics

Rodeo's "classic" event, saddle bronco riding, has roots that run deep in the history of the Old West. Ranch hands would often gather and compete among themselves to see who could display the best style while riding unbroken horses. It was from this early competition that today's event was born. Each rider must begin his ride with his feet over the bronc's shoulders to give the horse the advantage. A rider who synchronizes his spurring action with the animal's bucking efforts will receive a high score. Other factors considered in the scoring are the cowboy's control throughout the ride, the length of this spurring stroke and how hard the horse bucks. Model spurring action begins with the rider's feet far forward on the bronc's point of shoulder, sweeping to the back of the saddle, or "cantle," as the horse bucks. The rider then snaps his feet back to the horse's neck before its front feet hit the ground. Disqualification results if, prior to the buzzer, which sounds after eight seconds, the rider touches the animal, himself or his equipment with his free hand, if either foot slips out of a stirrup, if he drops the bronc rein, or if he fails to have his feet in the proper "mark out" position at the beginning of the ride.

Buckle Sponsor: Kerr Supply

Team Roping

Sponsored by Wrangler

In rodeo's only true team event, two ropers, a "header" and a "heeler", work together to catch a steer. The header is the first cowboy out of the box. He may rope the steer around the head and one horn, around the neck or around both horns, which are specially wrapped for the event. As with all timed events, if the header fails to give the animal its allotted head start, a 10-second penalty is added to the total time. After making his catch, the header rides to the left, taking the steer in tow. The heeler moves in and ropes both hind legs. Catching only one hind leg results in a five-second penalty. If the heeler tosses his loop before the header has changed the direction of the steer and has the animal moving forward, it's called a "cross-fire," and it results in disqualification. The clock is stopped when the slack has been taken out of both ropes and the contestants are facing each other.

Buckle Sponsor: Wrangler

WPRA Barrel Racing

Sponsored by French Prairie Gardens

Although barrel racing may look less harrowing than some other rodeo events, it certainly is not for the faint-hearted. The horsemanship skills and competitive drive in this fast and furious event make it a crowd favorite. In barrel racing, the contestant enters the arena at full speed on a sprinting American Quarter Horse. As they start the pattern the horse and rider trigger an electronic eye that starts the clock. Then the racer rides a cloverleaf pattern around three barrels positioned in the arena, and sprints back out of the arena, tripping the eye and stopping the clock as she leaves. The contestant can touch or even move the barrels, but receives a five-second penalty for each barrel that is overturned. With the margin of victory measured in hundredths of seconds, knocking over one barrel spells disaster for a barrel-racing competitor.

Buckle Sponsor: Hilton Trenching

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