So for all of you out there who AREN’T completely obsessed with bull riding…I though I’d lay out what the fundamentals of the sport are, and some terms that you might hear if you’re watching it.
This is a work in progress.
The object of the sport of bull riding is simple: Stay on your bull for 8 seconds.
Riders must only use one hand to hold on to the bull rope, and the other hand must be in the air at all times and never touch the bull.
Scoring is out of 100, with 50 points possible each for both the rider and bull.
1. 8 Seconds
Not 7.94…which I’ve seen. It has to be 8. If the rider is bucking off, but still has a hold of the bull rope,
this is considered to be the 8 seconds.
2. Bull Rope.
A corded rope. Either in the American or Brazilian Style.
3. Flank Strap.
The strap that goes around the bull’s flank…NOT their testicles. It is line with sheep’s wool for comfort.
A bull rider’s spurs are primarily used for holding on. The rowels (spinning part) are actually taped into place. The edges of the spokes are blunt.
Where the bulls are kept and where the riders get on the bulls.
6. Helmets vs. No Helmets.
Helmets are not required to be worn. Some riders claim that the extra weight throws off their balance, but I have seen plenty a rider’s life be saved, or them spared a concussion because they were wearing a helmet. Mike Lee is a perfect example.
The sticky sap-like substance that bull riders put on their ropes to help the rope stick to their glove.
8. Bull Fighters vs. Rodeo Clowns.
Bull fighters have the most important job. They are there to distract the bull while the rider safely gets away. Many people believe that bulls are attracted to the color red…but in fact they are attracted to movement. Bull fighters will tap a bull’s head, or run away from them in order to goad the bull into chasing them and not the rider, who has just been thrown off. Frank Newsom, Shorty Gorham and Jesse Byrne are the Dickie’s DuraBull Fighters for the PBR…and they are AMAZING.
Rodeo Clowns are GENERALLY there for entertainment only. Flint Rausmussen is the resident rodeo clown for the PBR and he’s HILARIOUS.
Buttt…I’d have to say that the best is Timber Tuckness. And it’s not even because I know him personally. It’s because before I even knew him, I saw him at the Lost Dutchman Days Rodeo with his YMCA act, and I almost peed my pants.
Timber is legitimately one of the smartest guys I know. He’s insightful, cool, calm, funny and an all-around great guy. He actually started Frank Newsom.
He’s one of the few left who not only does his rodeo clown act…but also fights bulls. Nowadays, the fighters and clowns are getting to be further and further apart. In Timber’s days (which he still has PLENTY of), the men did both.
All of the bulls that are ridden are just that…bulls. Uncastrated male cows, whether they have horns or not.
10. Bull Horns.
If a bull’s horns are upturned, they have to be cut down to the size of a half-dollar piece.
11. Hung Up.
When a rider dismounts, sometimes his hand will get suck in the bull rope. This is called getting hung up. The key is for the rider to stay on his feet. If he falls, he usually gets stepped on.