RODEO 101

rodeo101aRODEO SPECIALISTS

Rodeo Announcer: The voice of the rodeo. This person must have many skills and is one of the hardest working people during a performance.   They work with the requests of the rodeo association that has hired them, become part of the clown act, keep the fans and contestants up-to-date. They have the longest performance, lasting more than 8 seconds and up to three hours.  An announcer must do his homework to ensure that he knows something about the competitors during each performance; they must be able to act quickly to fill the voids and work hard to get the crowds going.

Music Person: The sound of Rodeo.  The Music Person’s job is to ensure they have a great play list of music and special effect sounds for the rodeo at their fingertips. Concentration is key in this role to ensure you are watching the announcer, the arena action, the clown and the response of the crowd to the music. Everything needs to be timed and in-sync.  

Event Timers: The custodians of the contestants times and scores; the event timers is another job that takes great concentration.  Whether it’s a small jackpot or big money the contestants want fairness and accurate timing.  There are often up to three3 timers for events to ensure that time and scores are collected accurately.  Some events use barrier based equipment that completed the timing for you but you still need the back up.  Taking a break is not an option for these people who sit sun, rain and yes sometimes snow to make sure the information is gathered and delivered the the rodeo office.

Event Judges and officials: The Decision Makers.

No one has a harder job than the rodeo judge.

It is one of the most demanding and difficult positions on the rodeo team. Standing or sitting on their horse in the arena with a clipboard or flag and a watchful eye.  It takes patience, and attention to detail and knowledge of all of the rules to score the rider and the animal at the same time in the rough stock events and note the penalties during the  timed events.  Judges are often in the line of danger especially when they are on the ground during the rough stock events. The judges hold every cowboys fate on their clipboard and their flag.  Their decision will decide who win’s or looses the go round or the championship. Judges work in every mode of weather conditions from rain, sun, hail or snow they stay in the arena to focus on their jobs.  Like any other sport judges are sometimes subjected to much scrutiny with decisions they make. Rodeo fans may think a score should be higher, but often do not understand the scoring system. There is no play back video, like the NHL or NFL to change their decision.

rodeo101bBarrier Judges: During timed events such as break-away, tie-down and team roping, as well as steer wrestling (bull dogging), the steer or calf leaves the chute with a head start advantage and trips a barrier line with a red flag attached to it.  This signals the competitor to commence his or her event.  When the competitor leaves the box too soon the barrier is broken and this adds 10 seconds to their time.  It is the Barrier Judge's job to let the timers know a penalty has occurred.

Flag Judge: During timed events such as break-away, tie-down and team roping, as well as steer wrestling, the Flag Judge will raise the flag when the run begins and drop the flag when it is complete to notify the timers to stop their stopwatch.  If they wave the flag side to side there is no time for that run. Eg: Steer Wrestling: With the hazer paralleling the steer to keep it running straight, the steer wrestler leans off his horse at top speed and reaches for a firm grip on the steer's horns.  Once on the ground, the wrestler must plant his feet, bring the steer to a stop and wrestle it to the ground. The flag drops and the time stops when the steer is on it's side with all four feet pointed in the same direction.

Rough Stock Judge: Two or more judges combine scores to mark each horse or bull up to 50 points for bucking ability and each cowboy up to points for riding skill and style. Rough stock is a wild eight-second ride on a bucking bull or horse.  Once the chute gate is opened the judging begins, the rider cannot touch himself, the equipment or the animal with his free hand. Points are awarded for the bucking pattern and power of the animal, as well as the rider's strength, control and spurring action, The animal and rider can each accumulate up to 50 points over the eight-second ride.

Barrel Man and Rodeo Clown: The entertainer and rodeo protection athlete of the rodeo.

Originally, the rodeo clown was a single job during the bull riding events.  It has evolved over the years.  This can not only be  "bullfighting" protecting the riders thrown from the bull, it can be the person who provides comic relief.

Today, this job is split into two separate ones, hiring bullfighters who protect the riders from the bull and entertainers -- a barrel man and a clown -- who provides comic humor.

Parking Attendants: Many rodeos hire or have volunteers to ensure that people park appropriately (rodeo fans parking and contestant parking) so there is room for the fans and the contestants.  Coordinating the contestants can be a challenge with the large horse trailers the cowboys use today.  Contestants want in early and out as soon as their event is done -- especially if they are heading to another rodeo.  Dealing with a range of very cooperative and polite cowboys and rodeo fans to, frustrated, angry, and even pompus people can either make this a job for a person with great organization skills and thick skin.

Security: Security has become one of the most important roles at rodeos. From fans wanting to enter the contestants or restricted areas, to crowd issues and keeping a watchful eye on the rodeo stock overnight -- this group keeps busy.  

Rodeo Association Directors: Are a group of very dedicated people working together to bring rodeo together.

Rodeo Photographers:  There are several kinds of photographers at a rodeo, from fans taking great memory and selfie shots to professional rodeo arena photographers who get out in the dirt to get that great shot, plus media photographers who are looking for the best shots for their media outlet.  These folks have a great eye for those unique shots that can either show the sheer determination of the contestant and the animal, the slump of defeat and the excitement of the crowds and behind the scenes.

Sports Medicine: This group is a highly skilled and trained team of people who not only love the sport of rodeo, but are the caregivers who help rodeo athletes by providing care enabling the competitors to be at their best.  Sports medicine is not just first aid treatment, it ranges from athletic therapy, massage therapy and chiropractic care.

Veterinarian: Animals sometimes need to have a helping hand or be checked out to ensure that they can perform.  All BCRA rodeos must have a vet on site or on call during the event.  Like a professional athlete, the rodeo stock and event horses are trained to perform their best.  With great conditioning of the animals and quick response to any injuries, these animals can continue their events throughout the season.

Stock contractors: Rodeo stock contractors know that their animals are their livelihood. They are expert stockmen and take pride in the conditioning and athletic ability of their animals. Like a well-trained human athlete, an animal can perform to the best of its ability only if it is healthy and in top physical condition. Stock contractors sort, load and transport their own animals to rodeo events. They know which animals get along with each other, so they are loaded into their traveling compartments with that in mind. This helps to alleviate stress while traveling. 

For the Williams Lake Indoor Rodeo the stock is brought from their home ranch each day and taken home as soon as the performance is over.  With only a thirty minute drive there is no stress for this stock.  Rodeo judges inspect the livestock prior to each rodeo performance and any animal suspected of not being able to compete to the best of its ability is pulled from the performance roster. Rodeo judges are responsible for enforcing association rules, including a section that deals exclusively with the humane treatment of livestock.

Wild Horse Race: This is thrilling rodeo event where a three-person team works together to slow a running horse, calm it down, saddle and then ride it around a barrel -- all while avoiding a collision with the other teams and horses in the arena.

Do you enjoy a challenge? Local entries are welcomed with entry dates two weeks prior to the rodeo. There are plenty of BC events, so consider a rookie membership and compete for championship buckles. More information is available on the Canadian Wild Horse Racing Association website at wildhorseracing.ca.