Bull Riding

2016 Bennington Rodeo Champion
Trevor Kastner

GOAL: The object of this event is to stay on the bull for eight seconds, holding on to the animal with one hand. The bull usually weights anywhere from 1,500 pounds and up.

SCORING: The bull and cowboy are each scored up to 50 points, the total score possible for the ride is 100 points.

DISQUALIFICATIONS: The cowboy cannot touch himself or the bull with his free hand during the ride and can’t hit the ground before the eight-second buzzer sounds. If a cowboy is still up the air and is touching some part of the rope when the buzzer sounds, he still qualifies on the ride.

EQUIPMENT: A flat-braided length of manilla rope, about an inch and a quarter in width, is wrapped around the bull just behind its shoulders. A required weighted bell attached to the rope helps it drop free after the ride. The cowboy wears a riding glove, coated with sticky resin, and a pair of spurs with fixed rowels. The chaps are optional.

THINGS TO WATCH: Spurring is not required, but a cowboy will usually score more points for spurring the bull. Bulls that twist and spin are usually scored higher than those that buck straight out of the chute. The clowns and bullfighters also play an important role in bull riding. Although they do entertain the crowd their major job is to distract the bull when the cowboy hits the ground and to help free the cowboy from the bull if he becomes entangled in his rope.