Rodeo Terminology

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You might hear a few new words or phrases that aren’t in your regular vocabulary at are rodeos. It’s all part of the fun.  The following guide will help you decipher the drawl:

All-around cowboy –  A title given to the athlete who accumulates the most money in two or more events.

Barrier –  Two pieces of rope connected by a piece of kite string in front of the chute. In timed events, if the cowboy breaks through the barrier before it is released by another rope tied to the steer or calf, a 10-second penalty is assessed.

Chute – The area where an animal is held prior to the event. In rough stock events, this is where the cowboy gets on the animal just in front of the grandstands. The timed event chutes are at the west end of the stadium.

Initial contact rule – Term used in bareback and saddle bronc riding referring to where the cowboy’s heels, or spurs, are positioned on the animal when it leaves the chutes. The cowboy’s feet are required to be above the horse’s shoulders; if not, a judge will throw a yellow flag, nullifying the ride. The rule doesn’t apply to bull riding.

Hazer – The cowboy who rides alongside the steer to keep it running straight in steer wrestling. Generally, steer wrestlers give 25 percent of whatever they win to their hazers. Often, one hazer will haze for several steer wrestlers, and many wrestlers haze for other wrestlers.

Hooey – The knot a tie-down roper uses to secure the calf. Header/Heeler In team roping, the cowboy who catches the steer’s horns (header) and hind legs (heeler).

 

Rank – No, this is not the animal’s (or cowboy’s) smell. It’s a term used to describe a particularly vicious bull or bucking horse. Most often, it’s used as a compliment — generally, the ranker a bull or bronc, the higher the score.

Riding Events –  A term used to refer to the saddle bronc, bareback and bull riding events.

Rough Stock – Livestock used in riding events as opposed to timed events.

Slack – Often, more contestants enter a rodeo than there are slots to compete. Contestants not scheduled to compete post their times or score during slack, held after the Friday night performance. Scores and times from slack count just like those posted during the regular performance.

Timed Events – Any event in which a competitor is racing against the clock. Steer wrestling, tie-down roping, team roping and barrel racing are the most common.

%&$! AKA –  Gosh Darnit!, a term you might hear when a bull rider fails to ride the necessary eight seconds or a heeler fails to rope a steer’s hind legs. A good time to cover your child’s ears with your cowboy hat.

Hyah! –  A one-syllable version of “Giddyup” used to spur a horse along.

Manure –  That byproduct that comes from horses’ and livestock’s derrieres responsible for the arena’s fragrant aroma. Howdy Typical cowboy greeting, morning, noon and night. Sometimes doubled up to “Howdy, Howdy.”

Chaps – (pronounced “shaps”) Leather leggings worn over jeans to prevent derrieres and thighs from getting chafed. Pronounce it “chaps,” and you’re referring to a Ralph Lauren cologne.

Yeehaw! – Multi-purpose exclamation of approval or encouragement.

Lawn-darted/Chilled – Terms used to describe various degrees of ugly, head-landing buck-offs. Use: “Boy, Big Red lawn-darted you. You got chilled.”

Buckle bunny/polisher – Female rodeo fan.


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