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More Rodeo Questions Answered

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More Rodeo Questions Answered

A calf roper attempts a successful run.

Photo © Ray Forester
The seasoned rodeo fan knows the sport inside and out, rarely asking any questions. However, newbies to the rodeo world are often overwhelmed with the mind-boggling amount of information available for every single sport. This article serves to answer a few more of those burning questions.

How Does Someone Get Started in Rodeo?

Most rodeo enthusiasts grow up in the ring. The National Little Britches Rodeo Association, the oldest junior rodeo association in the country, has been hosting competitions for young rodeo fans since 1952. Many local riding clubs also host events for young riders. Older enthusiasts are also encouraged to join in the rodeo lifestyle. Decide what events you like best, gather your gear and contact your county extension office for a listing of local clubs and rodeo organizations.

Are There Age Limits in Professional Rodeo?

Under Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association guidelines, a cowboy must be at least 18 years of age before he is allowed to apply for a professional rodeo card. The Women's Professional Rodeo Association also requires that permit holders be at least 18 years of age, although they also have a Juniors program that allows girls under 18 to participate. There is no upper age limit for either organization.

How Are Scores Tabulated in Rough Stock Events?

Saddle bronc, bareback, and bull riding contestants are evaluated by two different judges. Each judge is allowed to award a maximum score of 25 points to the cowboy and 25 points to the rider. The scores are then added together for an overall total with a maximum potential score of 100 points. Cowboys are judged on their overall balance, body position and spurring technique, while animals are scored on the strength and power of their jumps, their spinning style and speed of movement.

What is the National Finals Rodeo?

The National Finals Rodeo is essentially the Super Bowl of rodeo. The 10-day long event is currently held at the Thomas and Mack center in Las Vegas at the beginning of December. The top 15 money earning cowboys and cowgirls in each event are invited to compete for millions in awards and prize money. At the end of the grueling 10 day competition, the richest participant in each event is crowned World Champion.

What Are Those Straps Around the Bull's Flank?

Flank strap is the technical term for the bit of leather fastened around the bull's flank. Contrary to popular belief, flank straps do not apply pressure to the bull's genitals to cause pain or discomfort. They sit directly over the animal's ticklish spot, encouraging him to jump and buck during a ride. The flank strap is removed as soon as the bull exits the arena.

Why Do Cowboys Wear Spurs?

Spurs are an essential tool for every cowboy. Rough stock riders wear blunt-tipped or smooth roweled spurs to give them extra grip during a ride. A bull's skin is nearly seven times as thick as human skin, and proper spurs should never cause the animal harm. Timed event cowboys and cowgirls wear spurs to encourage their horses to run faster and to give them a little extra balance and control while in the saddle.

Is There a Woman's Only Event at the National Finals Rodeo?

Barrel racing is the only female-dominated event at the NFR. Most PRCA barrel racing events are sanctioned by the WPRA, which only allows female contestants to compete. Other organizations, such as the National Barrel Horse Association, allow men to compete in their year-end finals.

Which Cowboy Has Won the Most Money in Rodeo?

Trevor Brazile is the richest cowboy even in the history of professional rodeo. He's the only cowboy ever to surpass $3 million dollars in lifetime earnings, and has 8 All Around World Championships under his belt. Brazile is currently on track to win another Championship buckle, with more than $209,000 in earnings during the 2012 season.

What's The Purpose of the Second Rider in Steer Wrestling?

The second rider is called a hazer. The hazer's duty is to run next to the steer to keep him from veering off course as the steer wrestler swoops in to grab the animal by the horns. Hazers are often other steer wrestling competitors awaiting their turn in the box.

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