Tough Enough to Wear Pink night at the rodeo is on Sunday, September 3. Fans are encouraged to wear pink to bring awareness to breast cancer.
The parade through downtown Elk City takes place at 10 am on Saturday, September 2.
Bareback riding is one of the wildest and most physically demanding events in rodeo. Contestants must ride a bucking horse for eight seconds, holding nothing but a single-handhold riggin’ cinched around the horse’s girth.
A rider is disqualified if he touches his equipment, himself or the animal with his free hand, or if he is bucked off before eight seconds.
Half the cowboy’s score comes from his spurring technique and “exposure” to the strength of the horse; the other half is determined by the bucking strength of the horse.
Saddle Bronc Riding
Rodeo’s “classic” event – saddle bronc riding – was truly born in the Old West, where ranch cowboys would test themselves against one another and the rankest of unbroken horses.
Not much has changed.
Today, the cowboys are still climbing aboard bucking horses, and the competition between man and man – and man and horse – remains as intense as ever. A bronc rider must begin the ride with his feet placed over the bronc’s shoulders, then synchronize his spurring action with the animal’s bucking style in order to receive a high score after the eight-second trip.
The concept seems straightforward enough – drop from a horse, grab a steer by the horns and wrestle it to the ground, stopping the clock as quickly as possible.
Easily said. Not easily done.
In fact, steer wrestling is so difficult that no champion has won consecutive titles in the sport since Ote Berry captured back to back crowns in 1990 and 1991.
Timing, technique, strength and the horsemanship of the hazer, who guides the steer in a straight path for the cowboy, are the primary necessities of this popular event.
Tie Down Roping
A tie-down roping run begins with a mounted cowboy giving a head start to a calf of about 250 pounds, then giving chase down the arena.
After roping the calf, the cowboy dismounts, runs down the rope (which is anchored to the saddle horn), lays the calf on its side and ties any three of its legs together with a “piggin’ string” he carries clenched in his teeth.
It requires a great athlete to accomplish the mad dash in a matter of a few seconds.
Team roping requires precise timing and anticipation between header and heeler, making it rodeo’s only true team event. The header’s job is to rope the steer around the horns, neck, or a horn-neck combination, then turn the steer to the left so that the heeler can ride in and rope both of the steer’s hind legs. The clock is started when the ropers leave their respective boxes, and it stops when their ropes are taut and their horses are facing each other.
If the heeler catches only one leg, a five second penalty is assessed; if the header fails to give the steer its allotted head start, the team receives a ten second penalty.
Women’s Barrel Racing
Barrel racing has no judges, which means the event has no subjective points of view. Time is the determining factor.
Barrel racing is graceful and simplistic – one woman, three barrels, a horse and a stopwatch. The horse is ridden as quickly as possible around a cloverleaf course. At the end of the performance, after all of the racers have finished their runs, the clock is the one and only judge.
Ride quickly and win. Hesitate and lose.
Because so many barrel racers have finely tuned their skill, the sport is timed to the hundredth of a second. When the racer enters the arena, an electronic eye starts the clock. The clock is stopped the instant the horse completes the pattern.
Bull riding is perhaps the easiest event in rodeo to understand. A cowboy tries to ride a bull for eight seconds while holding a simple rope looped around the bull’s midsection. The rules aren’t complicated: don’t use your free hand, and don’t fall off. Scoring is based on a possible perfect score of 100 points, with half deriving from the contestant’s efforts and half coming from the bull’s. Sounds simple enough. But it’s not. With rank bulls weighing up to a ton trying to throw their cowboy riders off, it’s one of rodeo’s most unpredictable events.