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Rodeo 101

Explore the thrilling world of rodeo events! Get ready for heart-pounding action and adrenaline-fueled rides. Discover the excitement of Bareback Riding, Saddle Bronc Riding, Bull Riding, and Mutton Busting.

THE RULES & REGULATIONS: Roughstock Events

According to PRCA, professional rodeo action consists of two types of competitions, roughstock events and timed events. Each competition has its own set of rodeo rules and order of events. The first annual Tangier Shrine Rodeo will only have roughstock events.


In the roughstock events a contestant’s score is equally dependent upon his performance and the animal’s effort. To earn a qualified score, the participant, while using only one hand, must stay aboard a bucking horse or bull for eight seconds. If the rider touches the animal, himself or any of his equipment with his free hand, he are disqualified.


In saddle bronc and bareback riding, a cowboy must “mark out” his horse, which means he must exit the chute with his spurs set above the horse’s shoulders and hold them there until the horse’s front feet hit the ground after the initial jump out of the chute. Failing to do so results in disqualification.


During the regular season, two judges each score a cowboy’s qualified ride by awarding 0 to 25 points for the rider’s performance and 0 to 25 points for the animal’s effort. The judges’ scores are then combined to determine the contestant’s score. A perfect score is 100 points.


Bareback Riding

Experience the raw power and wild ride of Bareback Riding. Hold on tight as you try to stay on the back of a bucking bronco for 8 seconds. Feel the rush of the wind and the thundering hooves beneath you. It's a test of strength, balance, and sheer determination.

This is one of the most physically demanding events in rodeo competition and has a very high injury rate. Cowboys ride the bucking horse one-handed and cannot touch or hang onto anything with their free hand. Riders use leather rigging with a handle, similar to that of a suitcase, to hold on. To make the event more difficult for the rider, they are required to lean back and spur in a highly stylized manner that was never historically used in actual practice. The cowboy’s spurs have to be above the point of the horse’s shoulders at the first jump out of the chute and touch the horse on every jump for the full time required to earn a qualifying ride. The participant must stay on the horse and ride with proper technique for eight seconds in order for the ride to be judged and scored. Once the ride is complete, the rider may hold on to the rigging with both hands until reached by the pickup riders, who assist the rider in getting off the still-moving horse and arriving safely on the ground. Cowboys are judged on their control and spurring technique, while the horse is judged on power, speed and agility. The two scores are added together with the highest possible score being 100 points.


Saddle Bronc Riding

Saddle up and take on the challenge of Saddle Bronc Riding. Ride like a true cowboy as you grip the reins and try to stay on the back of a bucking bronco. Feel the thrill of the ride as you showcase your skills and compete for the top prize. It's an exhilarating display of horsemanship and bravery.


Saddle bronc riding is originally derived from the daily demands of the hardworking cowboy. From as early as the 1800s, brave cowboys stepped up to the challenge of breaking wild horses in the open for use on the ranch. This event is built around balance and agility. When saddle bronc riding was first brought to a rodeo, the qualifying time was a whole 30 seconds; that time was then brought down to 10 seconds, and eventually to eight seconds, which is used today. In this event, a modified western saddle is used that is custom to each rider. Competitors must keep both feet in the stirrups and have their spurs touching the point of the shoulder when the horse’s feet touch the ground on the first jump, also known as the mark out.


Bull Riding

Get ready for the ultimate test of courage and skill with Bull Riding. Face off against some of the toughest and most powerful bulls in the rodeo circuit. Hold on tight as you try to stay on the back of a bucking bull for 8 seconds. It's a battle of strength, agility, and nerves of steel.

This event involves a rider getting on a bucking bull and attempting to stay mounted while the animal tries to buck off the rider. Once seated on the bull, the rider secures a firm grip on a flat braided rope then nods to signal he is ready. The bucking chute (a small enclosure which opens from the side) is opened and the bull storms out into the arena. The rider must attempt to stay on the bull for at least eight seconds, while only touching the bull with his riding hand. His other hand must remain free for the duration of the ride.

The bull bucks, rears, kicks, spins, and twists in an effort to throw the rider off. This continues for a number of seconds until the rider bucks off or dismounts after completing his ride. A loud buzzer or whistle announces the completion of an eight second ride. Throughout the ride, bullfighters, also popularly known as rodeo clowns, stay near the bull in order to aid the rider if necessary. When the ride ends, whether intentionally or not, the clowns distract the bull to protect the rider from harm.

Judges award points based on several key aspects of the ride including constant control and the rhythm of the rider in matching his movements with the bull’s. Points are usually deducted if a rider is constantly off balance. For points to be awarded, the rider must stay mounted for a minimum of eight seconds and he is scored only for actions during those eight seconds. The ability to control the bull well allows riders to gain extra “style” points. These are often earned by spurring the animal. A rider is disqualified for touching the bull, the rope, or himself with his free arm.

Mutton Bustin

A fan favorite and kid-friendly event. Mutton bustin allows young children to experience the thrills of rodeo events, but with a lesser degree of danger than in competitions such as bull riding and saddle bronc riding. 

The event is simple in nature, as kids loaded up with protective gear attempt to hang onto a sprinting sheep for as long as they can. The participants wrap themselves around the sheep, which is held in a chute before being released into the arena.

There are a few limits for those with little ones hoping to take part, such as age and weight requirements. Sign up information will be available soon.

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