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Most rodeo events originated on ranches and cattle drives of the old west.

Roping cattle and riding broncs in competition were natural extensions of ranch work. Climbing onto a bull, however, was not.

Many people, in fact, view attempting to ride a surprisingly agile and powerful 2,000 pound bull as a concept that is not totally sane. But those who make their living riding bulls swear by the lifestyle.

Bull riding requires balance, coordination, quick reflexes, flexibility and (perhaps above all else) a positive mental attitude.

The bull rider holds a flat-braided rope during the 8 second ride. In preparation for his ride, he pulls the tail of the rope through a loop, then wraps the rope around his riding hand, sometimes weaving the rope through his fingers to secure his grip. He nods his head as a signal for the chute gate to be opened and the ride to begin.

Each bull has a unique style of bucking. Many bulls spin, or continuously circle in one area of the arena. Others add a jump or kick to their spin, making them more difficult to ride. Still others jump and kick in a straight line, move side to side during a jump or lunge forward in an attempt to rid themselves of the rider.

The cowboy’s control during the ride and the bull’s bucking efforts each account for half of the rider’s score.