22 Rodeo Terms You Should Know

Whether you’re new to rodeo, what we would call a “greenhorn,” or an avid rodeo fan, it never hurts to learn new things or test your rodeo knowledge. Below are 22 words you should know when you attend a rodeo.

Breaking the barrier:
Ensures that cowboys don’t get a head start as they chase after the calf or steer.

An untamed horse that habitually bucks.

The rodeo word for a bull or bronc “kicking” in roughstock events.

Otherwise known as a steer wrestler, this is the cowboy who wrestles the steer to the ground.

After each bull ride, this person distracts the bull so the cowboy can escape the arena safely.

Made of sturdy leather, they are designed to protect the cowboy’s legs during a ride.

A pen that holds bulls, horses, steers, and calves before each rodeo event.

The name of the pattern riders have to run in barrel racing.

Cowboy nod:
Indicates to the judge to start the clock and/or open the chute gate.

Flank strap:
A sheepskin-lined or padded leather strap that encourages the roughstock to buck.

Cowboys must have one hand holding on to the animal and their other hand up in the air.

This is the cowboy that helps keep the steer running straight for the steer wrestler to catch in steer wrestling.

This is the cowboy that ropes first in team roping, aiming for the steer’s horns.

This is the cowboy that ropes second in team roping, aiming for the steer’s hind legs.

Hung up:
When the cowboy gets caught on one of the bull’s horns during bull riding.

No score:
This occurs when the rider falls off the stock before eight seconds in roughstock events or misses the steer or calf in timed events.

Pickup men:
After each ride, these men will help direct or catch stray stock and lead them to the exit.

If a rider receives a low score due to poor performance from the bull or bronc, they will be given the chance to do a re-ride.

This is a type of suitcase hold, customized to a rider’s grip.

Roughstock events:
This refers to the category that bronc and bull riding events fall into. All of the other events are called timed events.

Tipping a barrel:
In barrel racing, the rider has to go around all three barrels in the arena. But, sometimes riders will knock barrels over.

Spurs act as a way to encourage the stock to perform or speed up (in the timed events.)


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Silver Spurs Rodeo in Kissimmee
In roughstock events, both rider and the bronc or bull will be loaded into and start their ride from the chute.
barrel racing at the Silver Spurs Rodeo
In barrel racing, contestants must run around three barrels without knocking any over.
Steer wrestling at the Silver Spurs Rodeo
In steer wrestling, the objective is for the contestant to turn the steer over on its side the quickest.
Bronc riding at the Silver Spurs Rodeo
There are three types of roughstock events in rodeo: bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, and bull riding.