Riding and gymkhana events

Riding Events

The three specialty events are bareback bronc riding, saddle bronc riding, and bull riding.

Two professional rodeo judges evaluate both the cowboy’s and the animal’s performance.
Each judge scores the overall performance out of a total of 50: 25 points for the cowboy’s riding skills and 25 points for the animal’s bucking skills, which establishes the degree of difficulty.
A score around 80 points is considered good; anything above that is exceptional.

Bareback bronc riding

Description

The cowboy “marks out” by positioning his feet at or above the point of the horse’s shoulder as he takes his first jump out of the chute. To get the highest score, the rider times his movements to coordinate with the horse’s every motion, and spurs his mount, feet positioned outward, from shoulder to rigging.

Equipment

Lead rope with leather handle

Spurs with blunt tips

Flank strap, a wide, adjustable leather and sheepskin belt that fastens behind the horse’s abdomen

Scoring system

50% to the animal, judged by height of leaps and bucking power

50% to the rider, judged by control and spurring technique

Time limit

8 seconds

Bronc riding

Equipment

Saddle

Spurs with blunt tips

Flank strap, a wide, adjustable leather and sheepskin belt that fastens behind the horse’s abdomen

Scoring System

50% to the animal, judged by height of leaps and bucking power

50% to the rider, judged by control and spurring technique

Time limit

8 seconds

Description

The rider is seated in the saddle and holds a thick, braided lead rope attached to the halter on the horse’s nose. With the first jump out of the chute, the rider “marks out” with his feet positioned above the horse’s shoulder.

A favourite discipline in western rodeos, saddle bronc riding is easily distinguished by the signature rocking movement of the cowboy on the animal.

Bull riding

Description

The rider mounts the bull by grasping the flank strap, a cotton belt fastened just ahead of the hind legs.
He relies on balance and leg strength to remain seated on the animal’s back for the regulation eight seconds.
Both competitors are given points: the rider for style and the bull, for his bucking skill.

Equipment

Flat, braided rope with handle

Spurs customized for this event

Flank strap, a cotton belt fastened just ahead of the hind legs

Optional helmet and protective face mask

Scoring system

50% to the animal, judged by bucks, direction changes and spins

50% to the rider, judged by control and style

Time limit

8 seconds

Speed events (Gymkhana)

The gymkhana comprises three specialties: a barrel race, rescue race and exchange rider race.

Rodeo speed events require skill and agility. Competitors must complete the event as quickly as possible without breaking any of the rules so as to avoid receiving time penalties.

Barrel race

Description

The rider is required to steer the horse cleanly around three upright barrels in the arena. Knocking down a barrel means a 5-second time penalty added to the rider’s time, for a maximum of 15 seconds.

Extra info

The competitor owns her mount.

Fastest run wins.

Rescue race

Extra info

The competitor owns his mount.

Fastest time wins.

Any pole that gets knocked down during the race disqualifies the rider.

Description

This event requires two riders and one rodeo horse. The first rider starts at a gallop and rides around the first of three poles placed in the arena. Between the second and third poles, the first rider “rescues” his standing teammate by picking him up. At this point, the horse is moving at about 75 km per hour. The two riders then race to the finish line, legs on both sides of the horse.

Exchange rider race

Description

This event requires two riders and one horse. The first cowboy starts the race and negotiates two poles. Between the second and third poles, he dismounts and leaves his place for the second rider who must cross the finish line with a leg on each side of the horse.

Extra info

The competitor owns his own horse.

Fastest time wins.

A pole that gets knocked down during the race disqualifies the rider(s).