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The Bull Riders – Part III

The Gear

The Complete Story of ‘The Bull Riders’

Today we will take a look at the Bull Rider’s gear. Surprisingly, it is not a very gear intensive sport. The rider and the bull are pretty much one…well, at least for 8 seconds if everything goes according to plan. Tomorrow we go behind the scenes and follow the athletes as they prepare for event.

The Boot – The bull rider keeps himself on the bull with leg and core strength. Unlike the horse riders, they don’t have stirrups. They simply use the power of their legs to keep them centered over the bull’s back. That being said, they don’t want their boots coming off. A saddle bronc rider will actually put baby powder in their boot so their foot can slide out easier if they are bucked. A bull rider ties his boot on as tight as he can. If a bull rider gets hung up, the rodeo clowns actually have to run out and cut them free as the bull is bucking.
PBR Denver Boot

The Protection – More and more bull riders are choosing to wear both a flack jacket and helmet. I would guess about 80% of them are protecting themselves with a helmet. I can’t blame them. I witnessed a rider take a blow to the head, and walk away with a mild concussion. I’m guessing if he didn’t have the helmet on, things would have turned out much worse. If I were ever to win the PBR championship, and they sent me home with a million dollar check, you bet the next day I would have a helmet on. I would want to enjoy the fruits of my labor for as long as I could.

The Rawl – I didn’t know this, but the spur is what sticks out from the boot, the rawl is spiny thing that chimes when cowboys walk into a saloon. Unlike gunfighters and horse riders, a bull riders rawl is locked down so that they can hold on to the bull better. The rawl is also filed down so that it doesn’t harm the bull.
Bull Riders Boot

The Rope – Other than balance and the strength of the rider’s legs, the rope is all they have to keep them on the bull. Some riders tie it tight, others keep it loose. Basically, it is has a small handle where they grip it and a bell to weigh it down so that it slides off when they break free. A bull rider’s rope will last between one and three years depending on the rider. Prior to the event, they coat it in a resin (tree sap) and glycerin to make it sticky and easier to hold on to.
PRB The Rope

The Glove – It is what it is. It keeps their hands protected and improves their hold on the rope. Most of the riders will tape it tight above their writs. Much like the boot, they don’t want it coming off.
PRB Glove

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  1. Fantastic images of the tools of the trade Justin! The processing suits the narrative and subject perfectly! Love this series!

  2. Dear Jim,
    I am writing a book about rodeo cowboys and I just wanted to thank you because I have found all the information about the technicalities of bullriding I needed from your very helpful website.

    Kind regards


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