To score well in this event, the rider must maintain balance, rhythm, and control, while at the same time spurring vertically above his head and horizontally away from the animal, with the follow-through of each spurring lick up the neck and shoulders of the horse. Broncs are scored for high kicking action, power - how hard they kick, lunge, and hit the ground - changing direction, and rolling and twisting. Judges stand on either side of the chute, and the first thing they look for is whether the rider's feet are over the point of the horse's shoulders when the animals front feet hit the ground on the first jump out of the chute. Each judge will mark one side, using a span of 1 to 25 points each for horse and rider. The four marks will be totaled for the score: 100 points would be the perfect bareback ride. Horses must be ridden eight seconds. A rider cannot touch the horse with his free hand.
The cowgirl is allowed a running start; the time begins as soon as the horse's nose reaches the starting line and is stopped when horse's nose crosses the finish line. The cowgirl must run barrels in cloverleaf pattern, starting at either side. A five-second penalty for each barrel knocked down will be assessed. No two girls may ride the same horse.
Two loops will be allowed if two ropes are carried. Each rope is tied to saddle horn with string. Rider, starting when the barrier drops, rides after the calf, throwing loop over its head. As rider pulls up her horse, the running calf breaks the string and the rope falls free from the saddle horn. A white flag must be attached to the rope at the saddle horn so judge can tell when rope breaks free. Time is called when judge drops his flag. Ropes must be released from contestant's hand to be a legal catch. Horse must clear box before loop is thrown. A ten-second fine for broken barrier will be assessed.
Bull riding is is to be done with one hand and a loose rope, with bell attached. Bull must be ridden eight seconds. A rider will be disqualified for being bucked off or touching the bull with his free hand. A resined soft leather glove is worn on the hand the rider uses to grasp the bullrope. Only the squeeze of his hand on the handhold and the wrap of the rope's tail hold him to the bullrope. The bull rider's chaps, perhaps more than any other event, afford protection against scrapes, stomps and bruised. His dull roweled spurs complete his equipment list. Each of the two judges scores a bull from 1 to 25 on how hard he bucks and kicks, whether he spins, and if he rolls and twists and changes directions during the ride. A high kicking spin is much more difficult for the rider than is a flat spin, and a change in direction in spin is a most difficult move for the rider to adjust to. The rider, on a similar point spread, is scored on his balance, timing, and, most important, his degree of control. A bull rider is not required to spur the animal, as are bronc riders, but his score is higher if he does. Watch the motion of his free arm, for there is the key to balance in the ballet he performs on the bull's back.
If cowboy intends to use two loops, two ropes must be carried. Catch as catch can. Cowboy must dismount, go down rope, throw calf by hand, and cross and tie any three feet. If calf is down when roper reaches it, he must allow calf to get up and then throw him. If roper's hand is on calf when calf falls, calf is considered thrown by hand. Tie must hold for six seconds after roper calls for time, and slacks rope. There will be a ten-second fine for breaking the barrier.
No choke ropes, tiedowns, or wire around the horse's neck will be permitted. A horse must be ridden with a bridle (with bits in mouth and no noseband or bosal), or hackamore. A quirt or bat may not be carried. Time allotted each horse to work is 2 1/2 minutes. A judge marks from 60 to 80 points. Any rider who allows his horse to quit working or leaves the area before his allotted time is up will be disqualified for that go-round with no score. A horse will be given credit for his ability to enter a heard of cattle and bring one out with very little disturbance to the herd or the one brought out. The horse should never get ahead of the animal and duck it back toward the herd to get more play, but should let the turnback man turn it back to him. A horse will be penalized for the following: each time the back fence is used for turnback purposes; each time he is reined or visibly cued in any manner; if an animal that he is working gets back to the head; if additional cattle are picked up from the herd; if a horse quits a cow or must be restarted by his rider, and if a horse clears the herd with two or more cattle and fails to separate a single animal before quitting. If a horse turns the wrong way with tail toward animal being worked, he will be disqualified for that go-round with no score.
The goat is tied to a stake with a rope ten feet in length. The starting line is 100 feet from the stake. The cowgirl must be mounted and ride from the starting line to the goat, dismount, throw the goat by hand and tie any three legs together with a leather thong or pigging string. If goat is down when roper reaches it, the goat must be elevated by roper so that at least three legs extend directly underneath before being thrown. Time is called when the roper stands back with hands raised. The judge waits six seconds to determine that the goat is securely tied.
The pole bending pattern is to be run around six poles positioned in a straight line. Each pole is to be twenty-one feet apart and the first pole is to be twenty-one feet from the starting line. Starting either to the right or left of the first pole, the rider runs the course pattern. There is a five second penalty for each pole knocked over. No two girls may ride the same horse.
The mounted steer wrestler is placed in a box behind a barrier; his hazer in a box on the opposite side of the steer. The steer must be given a head start. The contestant and his hazer overtake the steer at speeds up to 30 miles per hour. He starts to leave the saddle as his horse reaches the steer's tail. The hazer is allowed only to keep the steer running in a straight line. As the steer wrestler drops over the steer, the horse carries him up to the steer's head. He scoops the right horn in the crook of his right arm, and grasps the left horn in his left hand. The horse carries his feet out in front and at a slight angle for the best position to make the throw. Timing is critical; the point is to turn the steer back instantly so that its own momentum aids in wrestling it to the ground.
As in the other riding events, the two judges on either side of the chute each score the horse and rider on 1 to 25 point spreads, for a total possible 100 points. The saddle bronc, like the bareback horse, is rated on how high he kicks, the strength and force of his bucking action, his reverses in direction, and for rolling and twisting action. For the control looked for by the judges, the saddle bronc rider's spurring action must be exquisitely timed to the horses bucking rhythm. The more the rider turns out his toes, the more his spurs will drag in contact with the horse. Length of stroke from neck rearward to the back of the saddle also increases the rider's score. Riding rein and hand must be on the same side. To qualify, rider must have spurs over the break of the shoulders and touching horse when horse's front feet hit the ground first jump out of the chute. Ride to be eight seconds. Rider will be disqualified for being bucked off; changing hands on rein; losing stirrup; or touching the animal, saddle or rein with free hand. The classic event of rodeo, an outstanding saddle bronc rider is a beautifully choreographed dance of man and wild horse pitted spirit to spirit in intense poetry in motion.
Team may be composed of two boys, two girls, or a boy and girl. In dally team roping, ropes are loose from the saddle horns, and after making the catch, the ropers must take a wrap around the horn. Time is taken when both ropes are tight and both horses are facing the steer. There are strict rules defining a fair head catch. The rope must be around both horns, the neck, half a head. There is a five-second fine for a head catch that also catches a front foot or for catching only one hind foot. There is a ten-second penalty for breaking the barrier.