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Rooftop Rodeo July 9-14 Let’s Rodeo!

 You’ve probably heard the expression, “This ain’t my first rodeo!” but what if the Rooftop IS your first rodeo? What can you expect to see and how’d they come up with those wild and crazy competitions in the first place? Let’s start with Rough Stock events, which are timed and judged. The three events are Saddle Bronc, Bareback Bronc and Bull Riding.

Saddle Bronc Riding- Rodeo’s classic event came straight from the need to break and train horses to work cattle ranches. A cowboy sits atop a bucking horse or bronc in the chute. When the gate opens, the cowboy is expected to stay on the horse for eight seconds. The horse is judged on his bucking action and the cowboy by his ability to mark out, spur in sync with the horses bucking motion, stay in the saddle, keep his feet in the stirrups, hang on to a thick, braided rein attached to the horses halter with one hand and not touch the horse with his free hand! This event takes a lot of skill and finesse on the part of the rider.

Bareback Bronc Riding-This one-handed, eight second ride is without a saddle. The event is judged on the cowboy’s spurring ability, his upper body control, and the horse’s bucking action. The PRCA website says this event is the most physically demanding on a competitor’s body because the strength of bareback broncs is so exceptional.

Bull Riding- In this truly crazy event, the rider must stay atop a bull for eight seconds. The simple rules are-hang on to the bull rope, don’t use your free hand, and don’t fall off before finishing your eight second ride! This event is by far the most unpredictable at the rodeo and quite frequently the bulls win! During this event be sure to watch the bullfighters and the barrel man protect the cowboy when he’s in the dirt.

Next we’ll look at the Timed Events. These events are judged by the fastest time, including penalty seconds added to the times. The events include, Team Roping, Tie-Down Roping, Steer Wrestling, and Barrel Racing.

Team Roping- The team consists of two mounted ropers called the header and the heeler. The header ropes the steer’s horns or neck and gets the steer in position for the heeler to rope the hind legs. The clock starts when the team leaves their boxes and stops when the ropes are taut and the horses are facing each other. Penalties are added when a heeler catches only one leg, or the steer doesn’t get a head start.

Tie-Down Roping- First, a rider must rope a 250 lb. calf, if the cowboy is successful, he dismounts, lays the calf on it’s side and ties any three legs together with a piggin’ string he carries in his mouth. Watch the horse perform, as he backs up to hold the rope taut for the cowboy.

Steer Wrestling- In this exciting event, a mounted contestant races after a steer, as he leaps from his horse, he tries to grab the steer’s horns and wrestle him to the ground. This event is so difficult no champion has won consecutive titles in over ten years. Steer wrestling takes timing, technique, strength, and a bit of luck!

Barrel Racing-In high gear, a horse and rider circle three barrels in a cloverleaf pattern. If a barrel is knocked over, penalties are added to the time. This race is extremely fast and every second counts.

Even if this isn’t your first rodeo, please join us at the Fairgrounds at Stanley Park for the Estes Park Rooftop Rodeo, July 9-14. Gates open at 5:30 p.m., with a pre-show by the Riatta Ranch Cowboy Girls at 7:00 p.m. and rodeo performance at 7:30 p.m. To learn more about the Rooftop Rodeo go to and sign up for a Behind the Chutes Tour!

© 2014 Estes Park News, Inc

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