The American rodeo has been a tradition since the days of the cowboys back in the Wild West. Since then, the American rodeo has hosted many events involving cows, bulls, sheep, horses, ropes and equestrian riding styles — you name it. If a cowboy had access to it, it was probably in the show. Rodeos get a lot of spectators from boarding high schools all around the world who really get into the spirit — making for a spectacle that’s exciting for everyone involved.
Steer Wrestling: A Fast Event
In steer wrestling, the cowboy must jump off the back of a running horse onto an enormous steer and catch it by the horns. If you don’t think that’s intense enough, the cowboy must then wrestle the 600-pound steer to the ground with all four legs and head pointing in the same direction. This is known to be a fast event — meaning that riders at college prep boarding schools and younger audiences must pay close attention while performing.
Barrel Racing Requires Skill, Speed and Wit
One event that’s offered at certain college prep boarding schools is barrel racing. This is an event that cowgirls participate in and that requires skill, speed and wit. The cowgirl must ride her horse across the starting line, make a run around three barrels and then make it back to the starting line. If you hit a barrel, it’s not a big deal — but knocking one over can add five seconds on to your time. The only judge in this event is the clock, meaning that you need to be fast and precise.
The Physically Demanding Bareback Riding Event
The main event at a rodeo is bareback riding, which is judged on performance — not only by the rider, but while the rider is on the bucking horse. The cowboy must hold onto a rope handle and try not to fall off for as long as possible. The rider earns points for how long he stays on, as well as for maintaining his upper body strength and the position that his feet are placed in. Cowboys agree that this is probably the most physically demanding sport in the rodeo.
The Classic Saddle Bronc Riding Event
Saddle bronc riding is a classic rodeo event usually reserved for the most experienced students. It’s similar to bareback riding, but there are more chances of being disqualified. Because the horse is saddled, it makes bucking a little slower — but there is still a lot of physical strength required. The way the horse is handled as well as the spurring action is taken into account during the event.
The Most Dangerous Event: Bull Riding
Let’s move onto bull riding, one of the most dangerous events at the rodeo — again suggested for experienced riders. A cowboy sits on a bull that weighs close to 2000 pounds. A rope is placed around the bull, making the bull noticeably uncomfortable, while the rider holds onto the bull without falling off. This event requires skill and coordination, with judges also rating you based on where your feet sit.
Calf Roping Is Based on Speed
Calf roping is a real cowboy event. While on a galloping horse, a cowboy will rope a running calf, and once the calf is on the ground, the cowboy ties three of the calf’s legs together. This is a popular event and requires a student cowboy or cowgirl’s skill level to be on par with students from college prep boarding schools or similar boarding high schools. The calf is given a head start, but if a cowboy leaves his box too soon, the cowboy receives a penalty. How fast you tie the calf can make the difference between winning and losing in this event.
Team Roping Utilizes Two Riders
And finally our last event: team roping. Similar to calf roping, this event has two riders, each in charge of roping either the head or the heels of a running calf. The header ropes the calf around the head and tries to get it on its left side so that the heeler can get a rope around the calf’s heels. The clock is stopped when both ropers have roped the calf.