Rodeo Rundown


Feel like an expert with our rodeo terminology!


Steer wrestling. A rodeo event in which a horse-mounted rider chases a steer, drops from the horse to the steer, then wrestles the steer to the ground by twisting its horns.



The athletes who protect our bull riders by distracting the bull and directing its attention to the exit gate.

Calf roper


Also known as tie-down roping, calf roping features a calf and a ridermounted on a horse. The goal of this timed event is for the rider to catch the calf by throwing a loop of rope around its neck, dismount from the horse, run to the calf, and restrain it by tying three legs together, in as short a time as possible.


A pen that safely holds the animal in position.


When a rider “covers” his bull, he successfully stays aboard the bull for eight seconds.


The knot that a cowboy uses to finish tying the calf’s legs together in tie-down roping.


rodeo cont

The two partners in team roping – the header throws the first rope, over the animal’s head or horns, and the heeler throws the second rope to catch both of the steer’s hind legs; roping one leg results in a 5-second penalty.


A cowboy or cowgirl who works in the bucking chutes, adjusting the flank strap around the animal before the ride.

Timed events

Timed events include steer wrestling, team roping, tie-down roping, steer roping and barrel racing. The contestant with the fastest qualified run wins.


If a cowboy’s score is affected by equipment failure or a horse or bull that doesn’t buck to performance specifications, a cowboy may be offered a clean-slate chance on a different horse or bull.

Turn out

A contestant may opt out of a rodeo if, for example, if he/she has a scheduling conflict.

Pickup men


Two mounted cowboys who help riders dismount, release a bucking horse’s soft flank strap, and escort bucking horses and bulls to the exit gate after a ride



Common penalties include 10 seconds for breaking the barrier. In team roping, 5-second penalty for one hind-leg catch. In barrel racing, there’s a 5-second penalty added per barrel knocked down.

See these terms in action at the Stockyards Rodeo every Friday and Saturday night! Want more rodeo terminology defined? Let us know on our Facebook/Twitter and we’ll add ‘em to the list!