Revised Fall 2008

Rodeo: ro•de•o ˈroʊ diˌoʊ, roʊˈdeɪ oʊ - [roh-dee-oh, roh-dey-oh] –noun
1. a public exhibition of cowboy skills, as bronco riding and calf roping.

Rodeo is a sport that most likely everyone around the world has heard about. Certainly everyone residing in and around Montana has attended at least one rodeo in their life, and maybe even competed in one. This sport involves competitions amongst cowboys and cowgirls with the use of livestock (primarily horses and cattle).

Contestants must be 18 years or older to compete in rough stock events. Otherwise they will compete in the Junior’s event or are required to have a parent/guardian signature. Entry fees are required to enter all events. The entry fee amounts vary from rodeo to rodeo, from event to event. Prizes, usually in the form of money, trophies, and belt buckles are given to the first five places.
Contestant will be disqualified under the following circumstances:
o Fighting.
o Attempting to fix an event or bribe a Judge and/or rodeo official.
o Entering the arena or contestant area under the influence or in possession of alcohol, narcotics, or illegal drugs of any kind.
o Inhumane treatment of animals.
o Illegal or unauthorized drugging of animals.
o Intentionally subjecting the rodeo or IGRA to bad publicity.
o Contestants working rodeo livestock other than participating in the event or without authorization from the local rodeo officials.
o Any intentional attempt to change the order of livestock.
o Sharing of contestant numbers and/or passes.
o Excessive abusive language, gestures, or intimidation of any kind towards any rodeo official.
o Unauthorized entry into secretarial area.
o Abusive language or gestures towards any spectator, contestant, or volunteer at registration, the rodeo, or awards ceremony (subject to review by the Rodeo Director).
The most popular events at a rodeo include:
Saddle Bronc Riding — Known as rodeo’s classic event, saddle bronc riding is judged similarly to bareback bronc riding but there are additional possibilities to being disqualified; that is, losing a stirrup or dropping the thickly braided rein that is attached to the horse’s halter. The cowboy sits on the horse differently due to the saddle and rein, and the spurring motion covers a different area of the horse. Saddle broncs are usually several hundred pounds heavier than bareback horses and generally buck in a slower manner.
Calf Roping — Calf roping is an authentic ranch skill that originated from working cowboys. Once the calf has been roped, the cowboy dismounts and runs down the length of the rope to the calf. When the calf is on the ground, the cowboy ties three legs together with a six-foot pigging string. Calves are given a head start, and if the cowboy’s horse leaves the box too soon, a barrier breaks and a 10-second penalty is added to the roper’s time. In all of the timed events, a fraction of a second makes the difference between winning and losing.
Bull Riding — Bull riders place a flat braided rope around a bull that weighs almost 2000 pounds. The bull rope is placed around the animal, just behind its shoulders. It is then looped and threaded through itself and the cowboy wraps it around his riding hand with only his grip holding him in place. The rider relies on balance and leg strength to make the eight-second buzzer. Look for bull riders to sit up close to their bull ropes and to turn their toes out because rides are judged on the riding style of the competitor and the bucking ability of the bull.
Cowgirls Barrel Racing — This event is a horse race with turns. The cowgirl’s time begins as she rides her horse across the starting line in the arena. She makes a run around three upright barrels, which are in a cloverleaf pattern, and back to the starting line where the clock stops. Tipping a barrel is permitted, but if it is knocked to the ground, a five-second penalty is added to her time.

The burdensomeness of the jurdic load placed upon a rodeo is that competitors are unable to pick the livestock used or in what order they compete. It comes down to luck of the draw for the bull riders, bronc riders, calf ropers, and barrel racers. One might have a tough ride in the bull or broc riding event and be thrown immediately, thus being disqualified. Or they might have an easy ride and get a low score. Calf ropers might get a calf who jets off to either side of the arena making it difficult to rope. Finally, the last barrel racer picked at random for her turn is going to be riding in extremely loose dirt because it has been torn up so much by those before her.

If the rodeo being held is an official and public event then the rules and regulations will and must be followed. However, a way in which individuals could be free from following the laws of rodeo is to hold a private rodeo with only selected individuals invited to attend. By doing this individuals would be able to bypass all the regulations listed above. However, they would have to do this in a somewhat deserted place so others didn’t find out, but in Montana this is very possible. I know where I’m from there is this lady who puts on private youth rodeos at her ranch. She does it privately like this so there are no fees to be paid by the children to enter. The whole day is free for everyone who attends – food, drinks, prizes. She even provides the horses for those who don’t have one or are not able to haul the horse(s) to her ranch.

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