Rodeo’s “classic” event, saddle bronc riding, has roots that run deep in the history of the Old West. Ranch hands would often gather and compete among themselves to see who could display the best style while riding untrained horses. It was from this early competition that today’s event was born. Each rider must begin his ride with his feet over the bronc’s shoulders to give the horse the advantage. A rider who synchronizes his spurring action with the animal’s bucking efforts will receive a high score. Other factors considered in the scoring are the cowboy’s control throughout the ride, the length of his spurring stroke and how hard the horse bucks.
Disqualification results if, prior to the buzzer which sounds after eight seconds, the rider touches the animal, himself or his equipment with his free hand; if either foot slips out of a stirrup; if he drops the bronc rein; he fails to have his feet in the proper “mark out” position at the beginning of the ride; or he bucks off.