The Kiwanis Rodeo is a PRCA ProRodeo Event. We feature the following events…
To compete in bareback riding, the cowboy rides with no rein or saddle, but instead a leather rigging, which looks like a heavy piece of leather with a suitcase style handle. Riding one handed, the cowboy cannot touch the horse with his free hand and, in this event, he will lean way back onto the haunches of the horse for position. As with saddle bronc riding the mark out rule is in effect –they must have their spurs set above the shoulders when the horse jumps out of the chute or they will be disqualified. The cowboys spur the horse from shoulder to rigging, to make a qualified ride of 8 seconds.
Steer Wrestling requires strength, speed and timing. It is a timed event and cowboys compete against each other and the clock. Competitors start out in the box. The steer wrestler catches up to the steer as quickly as possible, with help from his hazer, another cowboy riding on the other side of the steer to keep him running straight. The wrestler jumps off of his horse and grabs the steer, turning it flat onto the dirt and thus ending the run. The amount of time it takes him to complete this could be as fas as just 4 seconds.
Team roping is the only team event in rodeo. Like other rodeo events team roping grew out of the ranch chores of the past. Larger cattle would have to be constrained for branding and doctoring by two ropers due to their strength and size. Today, two cowboys (known as the header and the heeler) work together to rope the horns and the back feet of a steer. The team that finishes the fastest, wins. If they only catch one back leg, they receive a 5-second penalty to their time and if they break the barrier strip-the head start line for the steer, they are penalized 10 seconds.
Saddle Bronc Riding
This event grew naturally out of ranch cowboys breaking wild broncos in the late 1800s to use as working cow horses. Modern saddle bronc riding has a few modifications, mainly in equipment. Saddle Bronc saddles are lightweight and have no saddle horn. Cowboys use a long hack rein, attached to a halter on the horse’s head. Saddle bronc riding relies less on strength and more on timing, finesse and skill of the rider. Riders must hold their boots over the horses shoulder at the first jump from the chute and they must stay on for 8 seconds. The cowboy spurs from the front shoulder of the horse back to the skirt of the saddle in an arcing motion. He must constantly lift on the hack rein to keep his seat in the saddle.
Like the steer wrestlers and team ropers, tie-down ropers start in the box ready to compete. The calf is released and the cowboy must ride his horse out of the box quickly, rope it and then dismount. He then sprints to the calf and lays it on its side, called flanking. With a pigging string, usually held in the cowboy’s teeth, he’ll tie up any three of the calf’s legs. The clock stops when the cowboy throws up his hands. Immediately the roper remounts his horse, puts slack in his rope by walking his horse forward and waits 6 seconds for the calf to struggle free. If the calf gets free of the pigging string, the cowboy gets a “no time” much to his disappointment.
Barrel racing is a timed rodeo event, where the fastest time wins. Cowgirls race their top barrel horses around a cloverleaf pattern of 3 barrels. The riders enter the arena at full speed, quickly rounding each barrel and then exiting where they entered. A laser timer is used registering to a hundredth of a second. Speed is what it is all about in this event. But if a rider knocks over a barrel, it is a 5-second penalty.
Bull Riding is the most dangerous of all the rodeo events. As with bareback riding and saddle bronc, bull riders ride with one hand and cannot touch the bull with the free hand. Bull riders hang on to a thickly braided rope with a cowbell attached. The cowbell acts as a weight, allowing the rope to safely fall off the bull when the ride is over. Cowboys can spur for extra points, but just staying on the bull for 8 seconds is the main priority.
Clown and Barrelman
This year’s clown and barrelman is one of rodeo’s most entertaining, Hippie Engelkes, from Steamboat Rock, Iowa.
“I rode bulls for about 10 years,” Engelkes says. “Along the way, I discovered that I could get paid for ‘playing with the bulls’ and clowning around in the arena, making people laugh.”