Saddle Bronc Riding

2016 Bennington Rodeo Champion
Shane Etbauer

GOAL: The cowboy aims to stay in the saddle on a wildly bucking horse, holding onto nothing but a soft woven “bronc rein.”

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

DISQUALIFICATIONS/PENALTIES: The rider must have his spurs over the animals shoulder points until after the first jump out of the chute is completed, or the ride is a “no score.” The cowboy cannot touch himself, the animal, or the equipment with his free hand, lose a stirrup or hit the ground before the eight second buzzer sounds.

EQUIPMENT: Each cowboy uses an “association” saddle. One soft woven rein, about six feet long, is attached to the horse’s halter. The cowboy wears short shanked spurs with dull rowels and chaps of lightweight leather. The chaps are tight around the thigh but loose from the knee down to accentuate spurring action.

THINGS TO WATCH: The ideal ride has a cowboy rhythmically spurring with the horse’s jumps, going to the horse’s shoulders with his feet when it kicks high behind, moving back toward the saddle’s cantle as the bronc jumps. The smoother and more rhythmic the ride, the higher the rider scores.