Bull Riding

Bull Riding

What is bull riding?

With a rich history originating in ancient Greece, bull riding has been drawing crowds to its dirt-filled arenas for hundreds of years. It's one of the last sports revolving around an untrained animal. Bull riding was commonly associated with the rodeo until an 1852 bull riding event in Texas popularized the use of bulls in competition. The biggest misconception about bull riding is that the rider's goal is to stay on the bull as long as they can. Bull riding is much more complex than this and is actually scored on the rider's control of the bull and the rider's ability to keep his body aligned with the bull.

Bull riding currently has fans all over the world, but organized bull riding is the most popular in the U.S. The Professional Bull Riding Association, most commonly referred to as PBR, was created in 1992 to give bull riding its spotlight away from the rodeo and since then the notoriety of bull riding itself has only increased.


Bull riding is scored out of 100 points by two judges. 50 points are for the bull's performance and 50 points to the rider's performance. In most cases, the riders and bulls are paired up randomly ahead of the tournament. To have a qualifying run, the rider must stay mounted on the bull for eight seconds and refrain from using their non-riding hand during the run. This means riders can not slap the bull, let go of the rope during their run, or switch riding hands. To gain extra points, riders can spur the bull by back-kicking it; this excites the bull, which causes it to jerk around more, adding points to the bull's score.

If a rider is bucked off the bull after the gate opens, which is quite common, the rider receives a zero. Most experienced riders can score between more than 75. The only circumstance in which riders get a second run is when the bull has a bad run and fails to jerk or spin enough to garner the rider the points. In this case, the rider has the option to decline because the possibility of getting a zero by getting bucked off is very common when bulls are forced to run again.