Women’s breakaway roping is comparable to men’s tie-down roping, except the cowgirls are not required to dismount and tie the calf. In breakaway roping, the cowgirl has a flag tied close to the end of her rope and a nylon string tied from the rope to the saddle horn. When the rope grows tight after the calf is roped, the string breaks away from the saddle horn and the flag goes flying, signaling the timer to stop the clock.
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One of the first rodeo events and as western as the word itself, the wild horse race started in the 1800’s as a competition between ranch teams. From its roots as a race through town with only wagons as fences, the wild horse race is now a fully grown rodeo event. In today’s wild horse races, true wild horses are no longer used. Instead, cowboys race ranch-raised horses.
10 or more teams of 3 cowboys each with their own job, saddle the horse and ride it across the finish line.
When the pistol is fired the teams begin
The mugger’s job is to keep control of the horses head, so it doesn’t rear back.
The shanker holds the lead rope so the horse doesn’t run away.
The rider must saddle the horse and race it around the track.
The first team to successfully ride the horse across the finish line wins.
Barrel Racing evolved from the relay races in the old wild west shows. Introduced into rodeo as an exclusive event for women on horseback, our barrel racing is sanctioned by the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association. The competition shows true teamwork between rider and horse.
Barrel racing uses electric timers and three barrels set in a clover-leaf pattern. They may enter the arena at a leisurely pace, but when they run between the timers it is full speed ahead. They can go around the left or right barrel first depending on what their horse likes best. They circle the second then third barrel and race back across the line stopping the clock.
If the contestant breaks the pattern they are given a no time.
A 5-second penalty is added to the contestant’s time for any barrel that is knocked over.
While it is not uncommon for these equine athletes to sell for over $100,000, Four-time Cheyenne Frontier Days Barrel Racing Champion, Kristie Peterson won on her legendary horse, Bozo, that she bought for $400.
Beginning as a chore that can be traced back to the 1800’s at the old working ranches of the west, derived from roping calfs for medical treatment and branding, tie-down roping started when ranch hands went head-to-head to see who was the fastest roper. Starting out as informal competition between ranch hands, tie-down roping now relies on good horsemanship and cowboy athleticism just as much as roping.
The quickest tie-down roper takes home the buckle.
Here in Cheyenne the calf is given a 30 foot head start, if the rider starts before then, a 10 second penalty is given
While the cowboy flanks and ties the calf, the horse assists by keeping the rope tight.
The clock stops, and the rider must remount his horse, slacken the rope and wait 6 seconds. The calf must remain tied, The fastest time wins.
Animal care is a top priority at Cheyenne Frontier Days, and we make sure that animals are treated with the utmost care and respect.
Team Roping started in the old working ranches of the west, when two ropers were needed because the size of the animal was too much for a single man. One cowboy would rope the steer around the horns while the second would rope the legs to allow for branding or vaccination. These skills are essential to a working ranch and are still in use. Team Roping is an event that both men and women compete together.
The Header and Heeler, work together to rope a 600 pound steer in the quickest time to win
Here in Cheyenne the Steer is given a 30 foot head start, if the rider starts before than, he is given a 10 second penalty in given.
Once a clean head catch is made, the header must turn the steer.
Then the heeler tries to rope both hind feet. (emphasis on “tries.”)
Team roping was the last addition to the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo, the first year it was added the rodeos payout topped 1 Million dollars for the first time.
Steer wrestling or Bulldogging is an event where men try to wrestle a 600 pound steer to the ground. Steer Wrestling has a long history at Cheyenne Frontier Days, first being introduced in 1904. It is said that the event is influenced by working cattle dogs who would grab the cattle when they were unruly. Steer Wrestling has evolved and now has a hazer and the Bulldogger. Cattle dogs are still used on ranches today to help manage the cattle.
The Steer is given a 30 foot head start in Cheyenne.
Fastest time wins.
All the steer’s legs must be facing the same way as the nose for the ride to qualify.
Bareback riding is one of rodeos most physically demanding events. It grew in popularity in the early 1900s when there were no set rules, so some riders would hold on to the horses mane, or a loose twisted rope around the horse’s girth. A rigging similar to the one used today was introduced in the 1920s by Earl Bascom who invented it.
The rider must hold on for 8 seconds. His hand is wedged into the handle of the rigging and that is the only thing keeping him on the horse.
The rider must keep his boots above the horse’s shoulders with his spurs touching the horse until it’s front feet hit the ground on the first jump. Failure to do this results in a disqualification.
The rider must hold on for 8 seconds with only a small leather rigging to hold on to.
The rider must “Mark Out”, keeping his boots above the horse’s shoulders until the front legs drop on the first jump.
All while not touching the horse with the free hand.
The Cheyenne Frontier Days Arena Record in Bareback Riding was set by Joe Alexander in 1974 with a Score of 93.
Placement of a hand on a buck rein in saddle bronc riding can mean the difference between success and failure.
Saddle bronc riding is built around finesse, balance and agility. A modified western saddle is used that is usually custom-made to the contestant’s specification. The buck rein is unique to the event. It is attached to a halter and then it is up to the rider to decide exactly where he places his hand on the rein and how he holds it.
If the contestant places his hand too low on the rein, he doesn’t allow the animal enough head movement to buck, limiting the horse’s ability. If he puts it too high, he risks getting pulled over the horse’s head and being bucked off. Contestants share information about the horses and how much “rein” to give them.
Competitors must ride for eight seconds with one hand on the rein and must not touch any part of the horse or themselves with their free hand. They also must keep both feet in their stirrups and have their spurs touching the point of the shoulder when the horse’s feet touch the ground on the first jump. This is the “mark out” rule.
Saddle bronc riding is known as the classic event of rodeo and is likely where rodeo’s roots come from. Two judges are in the arena and score the rider and the horse on a scale of 1-25. Their scores are added together for a possible 100 points.
When it all comes together it is a demonstration of timing between horse and rider with the rider’s feet moving in rhythm with the animal. A good score is over 80.
All while not touching the horse with the free hand.
Saddle Bronc riding was the first rodeo event to be introduced to Cheyenne Frontier Days.
Gaining popularity in the nineteenth century, Bull Riding started as a competition among cowboys to determine who was the toughest rider. Starting on small ranches and moving to wild west shows and finally going on its own, bull riding has become the rodeos most popular event to-date.
Some Bulls even become more famous than the riders, a Bull named “Mr. T” bucked off every bull riding champ of the 1980s. He was ridden for the first time in Cheyenne. Only two other men ever rode “Mr T” before he was retired in 1990.
The rider must hang on with one hand for 8 seconds to qualify. Sounds easy, right?
All while not touching the bull with the free hand .
Exclusive Bull Riding Events grew out of Rodeo and have become popular with both fans and contestants.
... getting to come here to Cheyenne, it’s been quite the deal of the century. It’s special to be a part of something that's tradition and history - not to mention the greats that have been here. It’s just, it’s awesome. - Cody Webster