Marble Falls, Texas Rodeo 2009, Friday July 17

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Alison and I met Tom at the Marble Falls Rodeo on Friday evening so Alison could see her first rodeo. The competitions started with the bare back bronc riding which had few entries, incredibly difficult but one rider did last 8 seconds. Bareback bronc riding is one of the most physically demanding events in rodeo, with a high injury rate. Cowboys ride the bucking horse one handed and cannot touch or hang onto anything with their free hand. They use a leather rigging that includes a handle that resembles that of a suitcase, where riders place their hand. To make the event more difficult for the rider, they are required to lean back and spur in a highly stylised manner that was never historically used in actual practice. The cowboys spurs have to be above the point of the horse's shoulders at the first jump out of the chute and touch the horse on every jump for the fill time requred for a qalifying ride. They have to stay on the horse and ride with proper technique for 8 seconds in order for the ride to be judged and scored. Once the 8 seconds is over the rider may hold on with both hands until he (or occasionally she) is reached by the pick-up riders, who assist the rider in getting off the still moving horse. Cowboys are judged on their control and spurring technique, and the horse is judged on their power, speed, and agility. These two scores are added together to maket the total with the highest possible score 100 points. Click on pictures to see videos from these events

Bareback bronc riding, 10 MB
Click to see bareback riding video

Saddle bronc riding.
Bronc riding, either saddle or bareback competition, is a rodeo event that involves a rodeo participant riding on a horse (sometimes called a bronc or bronco), that attempts to throw or buck off the rider. Originally based on the necessary horse breaking skills of a working cowboy, the event is now a highly stylized competition that utilizes horses that often are specially bred for strength, agility, and bucking ability.

As you can see in these videos, these competitions are often people attempting the impossible, and sometimes succeeding. It is very dangerous, with an ambulance and EMTs in attendance. This evening only one cowboy was taken to the hospital, apparantly when a bull stepped on his back in the bull riding competition. "Minor" injuries are common.

Saddle bronc riding, 5 MB
Click to see saddle riding video

Steer wrestling, also known as bulldogging, is a rodeo event in which a horse mounted rider chases a steer, drops from the horse to the steer, then wrestles the steer to the ground by twisting it's horns. Note that the steer often weighs over twice the cowboy, this is not an easy thing to do.

Rules
The bulldogger's horse must not break the rope barrier in front of it at the beginning of a run, but must wait for the animal excaping from the adjacent chute to release the rope or a 10 second penalty is added to the time. If the steer stumbles or falls before the bulldogger brings it down, he must either wait for it to rise or help it up before wrestling it to the ground. If he misses the steer on his was down, he will receive a "no time".

Bareback bronc riding, 8.5 MB
Click to see steer wrestling video

Mutton Bustin is an event that allows the young kids to get involved. We take the kids and put them on top of sheep in the bull chutes. Two sheep per chute, then we turn the sheep loose and the kid that stays on his or her sheep the longest is the winner. This can make for some interesting viewing and the kids have a ball. Mutton Busting, 3 MB
Click to see mutton busting video

Breakaway roping is a rodeo event that features a calf and one mounted cowgirl (sometimes cowboys). The calves are moved through narrow pathways leading to a chute with spring loaded doors. A 10 foot rope is fastened around the calf's neck which is used to ensure that the calf gets a head start. On one side of the chute will be the breakaway roper who will attempt to rope the calf. The breakaway roper is behind a taut rope fastened with an easily broken string which is fastened to the rope on the calf. When the roper is ready she calls for the calf and the chute man trips a lever opening the doors. The suddenly freed calf breaks out running. When the calf reaches the end of his rope, it pops off and simutaneously releases the barrier for the roper. The roper must throw the rope in a loop around the calf's neck. Once the rope is around the calf's neck, the roper signals the horse to stop suddenly. The rope is tied to the saddle horn with a string. When the calf hits the end of the rope, the rope is pulled tight and the string breaks. The breaking of the string marks the end of the run, fastest run wins. Breakaway Roping, 4.5 MB
Click to see breakaway roping video

Calf Roping
The calves are in a chute with spring loaded doors. A lightweight 28 foot rope, attached to a trip lever, is fastened around the calf's neck. The lever holds a taut cord that runs across a large pen at one side of teh calf chute, where the horse and rider wait. The barrier is used to ensure that the calf gets a head start.
Timing is critical. From a standstill, a rider will put his horse into a gallop from the box shortly after the calf leaves the chute, so that the horse saves valuable seconds by being at near full seed the moment the barrier releases. however, if the rider mistimes his cue to the horse and the horse break the barrier befoe it releases, a 10 second penalty will be added to his time. (Cowboy speeding ticket)
The rider must lasso the calf from horseback by throwing a loop of the lariat around the calf's neck. The roper signals the horse to stop quickly while he dismonuts and runs to the calf. The calf must be stopped by the rope but cannot be rhrown to the ground by the rope. If the calf falls, the roper loses seconds because he must allow the calf to get back on its feet. When the roper reaches the calf, he picks it up and flips it onto its side. Once the calf is on the ground, the roper ties three of the calf's legs together with a short rope known as a "pigging' string". The roper throws his hands in the air to signal "time" and stop the clock. The roper then returns to his horse, mounts, and moves the horse forward to relax the tension on the rope. The timer waits six seconds, during which the calf must stay tied before an official time is recorded.
Calf Roping, 10 MB
Click to see calf roping video

Team roping (also known as heading and heeling), freatures a steer and two mounted cowboys or cowgirls. The first roper is the "header" and ropes the head of the steer, usually around the horns. The second roper, the "heeler" then ropes the steer by the hind feet. Team roping is the only rodeo event where men and women compete equally together. Team Roping, 8 MB
Click to see team roping video

In Barrel Racing a horse and rider attempt to complete a pattern around preset barrels in the fastest time. Though both boys and girls compete at the youth level and men compete in some amateur venues, in collegiate and professional ranks, it is primarily an event for women. It combines the horse's athletic ability and the horsemanship skills of a rider in order to safely and successfully maneuver a horse through a clover leaf pattern around three barrels placed in a triangle in the center of the arena. Barrel Racing, 8 MB
Click to see barrel racing video

Bull Riding
When the cowboy climbs over the chute to get on the bull, he must have complete concentration on the animal that he's drawn. He has to be reday to react to anything that the bull does. Bull riders ride with only a flat braided rope pulled tight around the bull and across the gloved riding hand that is sticky with resin. The rider usus his free arm and his body to counter the bull's spins and sunges, while holding on and possbly spurring with his feet. For a qualified ride, the rider must hold onto the rope without touching the ground or any part of the bull's body with his free hand. Extra points are awarded for spurring and turning out his toes. Whe the ride is completed, the clown/bullfighter distracts the bull so that the rider can make his escape.
Bull Riding, 8.5 MB
Click to see bull riding video

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This video was taken with the Panasonic PV-GS320

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