Bull riding is considered one of the most popular sports amongst rodeo competitions. Riders are tasked with staying on top of a bucking bull for as long as possible without being thrown off. The sport is very challenging as the bull does everything possible to knock the rider off by twisting and turning viciously. The longer the rider stays on the more likely they are to win the competition.
A standard arena for a rodeo and/or bull riding is 70x200 feet and the cost estimate to own that is about $107,500. One could obviously rent out an arena, but when thinking about the costs of putting a rodeo together and the ordeal it is, owning an arena is definitely a plus. Arena owners are also able to rent out their arenas to traveling rodeos, making money even when they aren't hosting their own rodeo. If you have the interest and finances, owning an arena could be a great investment.
Boot ties are a strap that goes around a rider's boots. The strap is usually leather for fashion and strength, as the point of a boot tie is to tighten one's boots around their feet so they don't fly off when they are riding a bull. These straps also help boots hold a firm grip around the lower leg of riders for comfort. Boot straps tend to be about $20 and can be found online at stores such as RodeoMart.com.
A bull rope is the rope that goes around the bull, mainly its neck, and is what the rider holds when riding a bull. These ropes have padding where the rope is supposed to meet the bull's skin and are very strongly woven together. The ropes are also made with a loop at the end to hold onto, for the bull rider. Some bull ropes could be around $30 for beginners and youth bull riders. Other bull ropes that are very strong are worth about $150.
A cattle prod is a handheld device that is a long stick with a grabber on the end. Cattle prods are used to touch and push animals, specifically bulls before bull riding. These devices will get the bull riled up before someone rides that bull and attempts to stay on. Cattle prods are used to poke bulls directly before they are let into the arena with a rider on them.
Chaps are similar to shorts, but they just around your upper legs. They are worn by bull riders to protect their pants and upper legs from rash when trying to ride a bull. Chaps are very useful for bull riding. They have also become somewhat fashionable for some people, as chaps are many different colors with many different designs. They can cost about $500 depending on style and quality, but can be purchased for less if you are looking for lower quality apparel. Chaps have a belt and are buckled over pants.
Chutes are what a bull waits in before the bull rider gets on the bull and then they both are released into the arena together. The chutes are very compact and fit one bull very tightly. The bull rider gets into the chute by climbing in from the top and getting straight on the bull. The chute then opens up to the arena, where the bull runs into, with a rider on top. Chutes have a front and back door.
Chute ropes are in a bull's chute. They are what a bull rider holds onto as the bull rider gets on the bull in their chute. The chute ropes are on the sides of the chute and are stable. They allow the bull rider to get stable on the bull, before releasing them into the arena. Usually, a bull rider will be holding both chute ropes and put their foot on the bull to see how the bull will react and to let the bull know that their full weight is coming.
A clown barrel is where a barrelman sits and eventually draws the attention of a bull. After a bull rider has fallen or gotten off of a bull, the barrelman pops out of the clown barrel and gets the bull's attention by yelling and waving at the bull. This allows the rider to safely exit the arena and the barrelman is able to get into the clown barrel when the bull runs at them. The clown barrel may get knocked over by the bull, but it is safe and is used to help the rider safely exit the arena.
A core exercise machine has a wide variety. Really anything that helps strengthen your core could be used to train for bull riding.There are simple exercises that one could do, weights, machines that are relatively cheap, and more high-tech and expensive machines. Machines are simple to find as they could be used for any type of exercise, including training for bull riding. An example is 'The DB Method' which is a machine that works your whole core with different exercises. The machine used is $230 dollars.
Cowboys boots are mid-calf high boots that have a heel and a pointed toe. They tend to be made out of leather for fashion and quality. These boots fit into foot-holders on a bull really well and bull riders wear them when riding bulls. Cowboys boots have been around for a long time and have always been worn by cowboys when working and lounging. Cowboy boots could be found for around $150. Nice ones are more expensive and worth around $300.
A cowboy hat is a hat with a broad and curled brim and a high crown. They tend to be made out of felt and are worn by cowboys to keep sun and dirt out of their eyes. Traditionally, cowboy hats have been used to hold water for a horse or for a cowboy. Bull riders wear cowboy hats when riding a bull for protection from the elements and for fashion. The price range of nice cowboy hats ranges from about $150 to $500.
Exercise balls are also known as yoga balls and are soft elastic inflated with air ranging from 14 and 34 inches. They are another great way to strengthen the core and get used to bull riding. Sitting on an exercise ball helps you learn to stabilize yourself on a moving object, kind of similar to a bull. Exercise balls tend to be around $20. Bull riders will use exercise balls to strengthen their core, work on their posture, and be more used to sitting on a bull.
Flank ropes, or flank straps, are a sheepskin-lined, padded strap. Flank ropes are put around the torso of a bull and are used to help enhance the bull's bucking. It doesn't force the bull to buck, but when the bull does buck with a flank rope, it helps the bull kick out and up. The bull doesn't really feel the flank rope and its effects until it is tightened around them. Flank ropes are tightened around the bull in the chute.
Hand gloves are worn by the bull rider when they are on a bull. In bull riding, the bull rider is allowed to hold onto a rope on the bull with one hand, as their other hand must be in the air. So bull riders will wear one hand glove on their dominant hand, which they use to hold the rope on the bull. Hand gloves are priced between $20 and $40 and are specifically made for bull riding, as it is tighter around the knuckles.
Headgear in bull riding is not worn by every bull rider, but it is recommended and very useful. Some bull riders simply wear a cowboy hat. Some bull riders will wear headgear, which is a helmet that looks similar to a catchers mask, as it has a mask too. Headgear in bull riding is fitted to each bull rider and secured on their head before they get on the bull. Headgear is worn by bull riders to protect their heads from injury if and when they fall off of a bull.
Holding pens in bull riding are where bjoulls are held before they are moved to the chute to be mounted and then let into the arena. The holding pens are not visible to the crown at a rodeo and are behind the chutes. When getting a bull ready for bull riding, they are brought to the chute from a large holding pen, where they have space, food, and water.
Joint braces are worn by bull riders and tend to be worn on the knees and/or the elbows of the dominant arms. They are braces that support the joints; bull riders joints will get thrown around, as they try to hold onto and stay on top of a bull. The pricing depends on where one wears the braces. Brace material tends to be made of Drytex.
Mechanical bulls are a device that attempts to replicate or simulate what it is like to ride a real bull. They can be made of hard plastic or can be inflatable which is less similar to real bull riding but also safer. You are able to rent a mechanical bull, inflatable or not, from many places. As said earlier, to buy a mechanical bull, one would probably have to spend in between $2,000 and $15,000 depending on the quality of the bull.
Mouth guards are worn by most bull riders. They could be custom made to fit a bull rider's mouth better, as they go around your upper teeth. Mouth guards are made of hard plastic and when custom made, they fit around your teeth well in a mold to protect them from chipping and/or falling out when bull riding. A good, custom mouth guard will cost around $100 to make, buy, and use.
Neck rolls are a collar-like support that goes on the back of a bull rider's neck while they are bull riding. They are able to be buckled around your chest, to stay on when riding bareback on a bull. These offer support to help prevent back and neck injuries from getting thrown around when riding a bull. Neck rolls provide support with a design to minimize neck extension and head rebound. A neck roll is worth around $50.
At rodeos, bulls are kept in their chutes and/or holding pens with panel fencing and panel gates. The fences and gates are paneled with bull wire, which is strong and keeps the bulls put. It also allows the bull to see out and people to see in. This helps the bull feel more comfortable rather than being put in a blocked off pen. These fences also allow workers to see the bull without having to get in the pen with it.
Protective vests are worn by bull riders very often. High quality protective vests are made with high quality leather and are padded in the chest, shoulders, and back areas. They have straps to tighten around your upper body and protect bull riders from some injuries. When bull riders are thrown off of a bull, these vests help with the high impact of hitting the ground. A high quality protective vest is worth between $250 and $500.
Rope bells are very similar to cowbells. They are also called bull bells. At rodeos, they are tied onto ropes. These bells are used to get the bulls attention before and after a rider had attempted to ride that bull. Bull bells are available for around $25. These bells are very loud and very effective at getting a bull's attention. They are also helpful in getting a bull riled up and bucking with a rider on board.
A rope can is a tin carrier for ropes. It holds a strong rope that is to be used in a rodeo for bull riding. Rope cans are protective cases for a bull rider's rope. It is important for a bull rider to keep their rope in great quality, as that is what they will be holding onto when trying to stay on a bucking bull. Rope cans can be bought from bull riding sites for around $100, but can be found for cheaper as well. Rope cans have a handle to make carrying the can simple.
Rosin is a solid form of resin, which is a highly viscous substance of plant origin. Rosin is usually obtained from pines. Bull riders will rub it on their gloves prior to riding a bull. Bull riders use rosin to give them a better grip on the rope. It essentially acts as a grip enhancer for bull riders. Rosin and rosin bags can be bought for around $15.
A rowel is a spiked revolving disk at the end of a spur. The PBR rowel is most commonly used in bull riding today. It is a self-locking rowel. Rowels help bull riders lock their feet into their foot-holders when on a bull. High quality rowels are sold for around $40. Rowels do have to be replaced occasionally, as they get worn out over time. Rowels are important for bull riders to be in a position to stay on a bull for longer than eight seconds.
A spur is a metal tool worn at the heels of cowboy boots for riding. They were originally made to help a rider tell an animal, like a horse, what direction to go. Bull riders have to wear spurs, despite them not caring what direction they go. The spurs alert the bull that the rider is there and urges the bulls to buck, which is the point of bull riding. High quality spurs are worth around $100.
Spur straps are worn around a bull rider's cowboy boots. Spur straps are used to hold a spur at the end of them, by snapping the spur and the spur strap together around a cowboy boot. These straps are worn tightly around the ankles of bull riders and some wrap around a cowboy boot twice, to act as a spur strap and as a boot strap. Leather spur straps are worth around $25.
A spur strap cover goes on the inside of a spur strap, in between the spur strap and the front of your boot. Spur strap covers are used by bull riders to protect their boots from getting creased and worn out quickly. Spur straps are worn tight around a bull rider's ankles and boots, so spur strap covers are worn as protection for cowboy boots. Adult leather spur strap covers are worth around $20.
Stock trailers are used to transport animals. So for bull riding, bulls are put in stock trailers to be brought to and from arenas for rodeos. Stock trailers allow bulls to put their head out of a window or keep it inside the trailer as they travel. Stock trailers are sturdy, efficient ways to transport bulls. Stock trailers are pretty open and give bulls space to be more comfortable for travel. Some stock trailers have gates in the middle and are able to fit multiple bulls for transportation.
Tape is worn on by bull rider's on their gloves. Tape is used to give bull rider's a better grip to hold onto the rope on the bull when bull riding. Tape could also be used to tighten articles of clothing on a bull rider, like their cowboy boots or protective vests. Athletic tape is worth around $3 and leather glove ties are worth around $5. Tape is also worn on a bull rider's wrists to prevent chaffing when holding the rope.
Timers are an essential part of the sport of bull riding, as the purpose of bull riding is for the rider to last on top of the bull for longer than eight seconds. At rodeos, timers and buzzers are used to alert the audience and riders when the time starts and the bull and rider are released into the arena. They are also used to alert the audience and rider when the time stops and the rider has fallen off of the bull.
Bull riding requires a lot of equipment as it is imperative for riders to follow all safety precautions. There are six pieces of equipment all riders must have:
Bull riding equipment is vital to the safety of the rider as well as the bull. This sport is truly one of a kind because of the relationship between the bull and the rider. While the bull is trying as hard as possible to knock the rider off, the rider is hanging on for as long as possible creating a very dangerous environment. Therefore, the rider needs to ensure he has all the proper protection to help him not only perform, but minimize injury as much as possible.
Chaps, helmets, vests, spurs, gloves, and boots are all essentials when it comes to gearing up for a Rodeo. Almost all of the equipment is designed to protect the rider. You must ensure that you have well fitted equipment to reduce as much risk of injury as possible before riding the bucking bull.
Bull riding is not cheap. There are various parts a rider must purchase to ensure their safety. The average cost of the six most important pieces of equipment averages around $1,500. Riders can find cheaper or more expensive gear if they desire. However, this gear is for the rider's safety, so it may be worth spending more.