Considered rodeo's"classic event," the saddle bronc competition has always been the premier event of the Lake County Round-Up. Saddle bronc is a technical event that requires balance, timing, and grace - all on a 1000 pound bucking horse. The bronc rider must "start" his horse by having his feet touching the horse's shoulders on the first jump out of the chute. After that, to be successful, the rider must keep in time with the horse by spurring back all the way to the saddle's cantle while the horse is going up in the buck, then snapping his feet forward again to the point of the shoulders while the horse is coming back down, making a fluid, controlled ride. Both the horse and the cowboy score points, with the horse judged on how hard he bucks and how difficult overall he makes the ride for the cowboy. The cowboy is judged on the control he demonstrates during the ride.
The element of danger plays an important role in the concept of bull riding. This alone can generate a high level of excitement for the spectator. The rider slips his hand into a split in the rope that fits snugly around the bull just behind the bull's shoulder. To qualify, the cowboy must stay on for eight seconds, careful to keep his free hand in the air. Both the rider's style and the bull's bucking are scored, and combined in a final score for those riders fortunate enough to go the distance. Today's bull rider is a trained athlete, finely tuned in both physical and mental stamina.
Bareback riding may be the toughest event on a cowboy's body. As he jams his riding arm into a leather rigging with a suitcase like handle, he demands from his body some very difficult tasks. He needs to spur widly, yet have complete control of his body. Timing and strength are vital in maintaining control. The more gyration the better the score, but the torque the riding arm takes is unbelievable. The rider is judged on the skillful manner in which he achieves the ride, on the amount of spurring, and of the roughness and wildness of the horse.
The cowgirls you see riding in this event have developed a close bond or trust and confidence in the horses they ride. As a timed event, you see these girls riding at break-neck speed in an effort to ride a clover-leaf pattern around three barrels faster than their competitors. Their well-trained mounts know just how to approach each barrel, and make the turn around the outside without knocking over the barrel. The challenge comes when the rider and the horse cut corners by making the tightest turn possible around a barrel while maintaining the momentum and speed that makes for a winning run. This is an exciting event that requires guts, speed, and a strong horse.
As the cowboy nods for his calf, his horse must wait behind a score line until the calf passes. The horse then leaves at break-neck speed, stops on cue as the roper makes his catch, and must work the rope as the cowboy ties any three legs on the calf. Calf roping is a timed event in which many variables can lead to an outstanding run. A highly trained horse, one which can run and stop, a good draw, and a little good luck can turn this into one of the most pleasurable events of the rodeo to watch.
Team roping is an event that takes cooperation and anticipation between two cowboys - a header and a heeler - and their horses. Team roping is a timed event. The steer to be caught is given a head start. If the header does not allow the steer the full head start, he has broken the barrier and will be penalized ten seconds. Upon a clean head catch, which can be around the horns, head and one horn, or around the neck, the header dallies his rope around his saddle horn, actually turning the steer away from the heeler who rides into position to catch the heels. If the heeler catches only one leg, the team is assessed a five second penalty.
Of all the events in a rodeo, it can be argued that bull dogging offers the greatest amount of eye-appeal to the spectator. It is a display of strength and an exhibition of finesse and skill. With the aid of a hazer, the contestant must jump off a horse running early 30 mph, reach for the steer's horns, slide him to a stop, and lay him on the ground. The challenge as a spectator is to decide which is most impressive: timing, strength, or courage.
Local Events -
Open Barrel Racing - Sunday & Monday performances, $100 entry fee, $1000 added purse, no age limit, one run
Kid's calf riding, Kid's speed barrel, Local team roping, Women's team roping, steer riding, rawhide race, goat tying, and track events (TBA). (Goat tying, calf and steer riding only on Sunday)
(Team roping events qualify in Sunday's slack performance. Top 6 teams rope in Sunday's rodeo performance.)
For information on all kids events, contact Mesa Greenfield at email@example.com or 541-219-0439.