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5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Bull Riding

Published On: September 7, 2018

When most people think of  Bull Riding, they usually think of wild rodeo clowns being tossed around by bulls or cruel riders abusing these animals just for fun. But this is far from the truth. Unlike any other entertainment event, there are still countless myths about the sport. Here are five little-known facts to help you understand the extreme world of Bull Riding:

1. Eight Seconds of Pure Adrenaline

The primary objective of Bull Riding seems simple, but it’s actually one of the toughest feats in sports: stay mounted on the bull with one hand in the air for eight seconds without letting go of the rope. Even though it seems like an easy ride, let’s remember that the bull weighs anywhere between 700 and 1000 kg, and the rider has to deal with the bull’s high jumps and turns.

There are three judges that grade the bull rider and the bull.  There’s one beside the bullpen that ensures that the bull is in great condition and the other two that judge the bull’s kicks and jumps, as well as the performance of the rider.

2. Bull Riding is a Professional Sport

Although it was already a popular event at most rodeo events, Bull Riding lacked a standard regulation. This changed when the Cowboy's Turtle Association was created as a result of a collective complaint by cowboys participating in the Boston Garden Rodeo. This new organization boosted the popularity of the recent sport and nine years later, the cowboy society changed its name from the Rodeo Cowboys Association, ending in 1975, to the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) which is now the PBR, the highest body of the sport.

3. World’s Heaviest and Most Dangerous Athletes

In Bull Riding, the cowboys are not the only athletes, the bull itself is also considered an athlete. Genetically the "Plummer" breed was created specifically for this sport. The bulls, which can weigh about a ton, also have to qualify during an event and like the cowboys, the bulls are cared for with rules that watch over their welfare, in which it is strictly forbidden to hurt them and the cowboy can be disqualified for carrying out violent acts against him.

4. Neither "Fiesta Brava" nor "Charrería"

A key difference between Bull Riding and other sports or riding activities is the absence of the use of  electric shocks or whips. In the rodeo or Bull Riding, the use of any punishment system to "stimulate" the animal is strictly prohibited. The bulls come from specialized farms and are raised specifically for this activity since the animal is the one that leads the way of the competitions and embodies the soul of the sport. If the animal is hurt, we are not talking about Bull Riding.


5. Did You Know There is a Bull Riding World Championship?

Bull Riding is a very popular professional sport and competitions are held all over the world at the regional, national, and global levels. The most important competition is the PBR World Finals endorsed by the regulatory organization of rodeo Professional Bull Riders (PBR)


In just eight seconds, heroes and legends are born and torn apart depending on the bull’s temper and the rider’s technique in this sport full of adrenaline.