Known as the classic event of rodeo – this event came from the early days of ranch cowboys matching themselves against one another on broncs known for their spirit, wiliness and overall difficulty to ride.
Little has changed over the years in the match of cowboy and horse. For the cowboy to achieve a high score in the required 8-second ride, he must synchronize the timing of his spurring action with the action of the horse producing a wild ride while maintaining control.
He holds a buck rein with one hand of choice, and the remaining free hand is used for balance and control. Feet are very important as they must be properly positioned to start the ride and they must remain in the stirrups throughout the ride.
Judges give up to 50 points each to horse and rider. The ranker the horse, the better the action of the cowboy—the higher the score.
There is only a flat, braided rope for the cowboy to hold onto in this event. Coupled with the rope the cowboy has only his spurs to hold on to the 2000-pound, loose-skinned package of speed, power, and unpredictable motion known as a bull.
The cowboy can hold on to the bull rope with only one hand while using his free hand for balance and helping him move his body around to match the actions of the bull. The cowboy is required to remain aboard for 8 seconds while not touching the bull with his free hand.
As with the bronc riding, judges give up to 50 points each to the bull and the rider. Great action by the bull, good rider control and movements countering those of the bull, combine to secure a high score.