Bareback Bronc Riding Event

Bareback Bronc Riding Event

An event that tests even the toughest cowboys, bareback bronc riding is known as the most demanding performance at the rodeo often leaving riders with a wounded ego and serious injuries.  The bareback bronc riding event is comprised of three elements: the rider, a saddle-less bronc, and the judges.  To score, the rider must mark out, ride for eight seconds, and keep his free hand from touching himself, the rigging, or the bronc.  Sounds straight forward until you are on a wild eyed 1500 lb bronc who wants you off at any cost, even if it must kill you.

Marking Out

Marking out, also referred to as the spur out rule, is a necessary action to score in bareback and saddle bronc riding events.  Rules may vary between different bareback bronc events based on hosting parties.  One such example is many local rodeo judges may not look for a mark out, while most professionally hosted events will leave a rider scoreless if they fail to mark out.  To mark out a rider must have both his spurs positioned in front of, as well as touching, where the neck meets the shoulders, known as the shoulder break.  This spur positioning must be held prior to the bronc’s first movement out of the chute as well following the bronc’s front hooves hitting the ground for the first time.  If the bareback bronc rider follows this through, he will have successfully marked out.

The Ride

Once properly marked out the bronc rider will then engage in spurring the bronc.  Spurring the bronc will provide at least two benefits to the rider.  The rhythmic spurring action allows the rider to perform a more stable ride creating a better chance to ride for the full 8 seconds.  By spurring in rhythm, the bronc rider will be adjusting his center of gravity in accordance to every leap and bound the wild beast unleashes.  The spurring action may excite the wild-eyed animal sending it into an even more fervent buck and spin to get the rider off.  The goal is to maintain rhythmic spurring with the horse’s buck and maintain a smooth ride despite the efforts of the bronc to throw the rider off.  Lastly, the most important part of the ride is to hold on for 8 seconds.  After the 8 seconds buzzes, pickup men will assist the rider on dismount, remove the flank strap from the bronc, and escort the horse to the exit gate.

Scoring

There are only two components to the scoring system for bareback bronc riding: the rider and the livestock.

Rider Score

For the rider to score, he must ride for 8 seconds and mark out.  For the rider to receive a better score he must demonstrate good technique.  Timing his spurring action jump for jump and maintaining control of his body will improve the rider’s score.  The rider will be penalized if his toes are not turned out and in contact with the bronc.  Further penalties are incurred if continuous spurring is not performed, and the rider is not centered on the animal.

Livestock Score

The livestock score, for the most part, is dependent only on the bronc.  Some broncs are known to be naturally high scoring animals among bareback riders and the rider’s score is heavily affected by which livestock they draw for their ride. The score of the bronc is judged by their buck, strength, and will.  Broncs that kick out far and high with their hind legs will receive a better score.  A bronc that twists, spins, and rolls will add points to the livestock score.  Judges also look at the bronc’s desire to unseat the rider.  A livestock that is wild with the rider on its back, kicks hard, and jumps with absolute intent to remove the rider at all costs will benefit the rider with a higher score: that is of course if the rider can hold on for 8 seconds.  A bronc that merely crow hops and bolts around the arena will provide a measly score.  If the livestock provides a pitiful opportunity for the rider to receive a score, the judges may allow the rider a reride.  The rider on a reride will be provided a different horse and a clean slate opportunity to score.

Remember to have a qualified ride and score, the rider must mark out and keep his free hand from touching himself or the bronc.  Lastly the most important thing a rider must do is COWBOY UP!

 

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