Bareback Bronc Riding
Most cowboys agree that bareback riding is the most physically demanding event in rodeo, taking an immense toll on the cowboys body. Muscles are stretched to the limit, joints are pulled and pounded mercilessly, and ligaments are strained and frequently rearranged. The strength of bareback broncs is exceptional, and challenging them is often costly.
Bareback riders suffer more abuse, suffer more injuries and carry away more long-term damage than all other rodeo cowboys. To stay aboard the horse, a bareback rider uses a rigging made of leather and constructed to meet PRCA safety specifications. The rigging, which resembles a suitcase handle on a strap, is placed atop the horses wither and secured with a cinch.
As the bronc and the rider burst from the chute, the rider must have both spurs touching the horses shoulders until the horses feet hit the ground after the initial move from the chute. This is called MARKING OUT. If the cowboy fails to do this, he is disqualified.
Making a qualified ride and earning a money winning score requires more than just strength. A bareback rider is judged on his spurring technique, the degree to which his toes remain turned out while he is spurring and his willingness to take whatever might come during his ride. It is a tough way to make a living, all right. But, according to bareback riders, it is the cowboy way.