Definitely the most dangerous event in rodeo, bull riding requires a positive attitude from the cowboy as he faces a test of nerves with a tough bull. A braided rope, of varying width, is wrapped around loosely around the bull with a weighted cowbell hanging underneath, allowing the rope to fall free with the ride is completed. The rope has a woven handhold that is pulled tight around the riders hand and with one more wrap taken to ensure a snug fit. During the ride, the cowboy must keep himself close up on the handhold to prevent his arm from straightening and jerking his hand loose. He will be disqualified for failing to have a bell attached to his rope, touching the biull with his free hand or bucking off before the end of an eight-second ride. Riders are not required to spur, as staying on these loose-hided animals is difficult enough. But naturally, if they do they will receive a better mark. Pick up men are not used, as a bull would just as soon fight a man on horseback as one on foot. The rider must depend on bullfighters to distract the bull until the cowboy is safely out of the bull’s range.
Riders try to spur the horse on each jump, reaching as far forward as they can with their feet, then bringing their spurs back toward the riggin. While they look wild and out of control, the great bareback riders are anything but – keeping their bodies in the middle of the horse’s back while working their spurs to advantage for the entire eight seconds.
2017 CFR Champion Garrett Smith