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Bareback Bronc Riding

Bareback bronc riding is a rodeo sport that involves riding on a saddle-less horse that attempts to throw off ("buck") the rider. Participants attempt to remain on the horse for at least eight seconds after the gate of the holding pen is released. In competitions, participants are judged based on their showmanship as well as the horse’s ability to buck. Participants receive higher scores if they are able to lean back and show a sense of control in syncing their upward and downward motions with those of the horse. Horses are not saddled or reined, but the participant uses a leather strap rigging in order to hold on to the horse. Due to the difficulty in balancing on the horse bareback while performing complex motions, there is a high risk of injury associated with this sport.

Is this activity known by any other names?

Bareback bronc; Bareback riding

What are the origins of the activity abroad and in Canada?

Rodeo sports developed from cattle ranching tasks in the western United States. These sports became professionalized in the late 1800s as several major competitions, including the Calgary Stampede, were established. Their popularity has grown recently in the GTA, with upwards of 50 rodeo events taking place over the calendar year. Bareback bronc riding, specifically, originated as a professional sport in the early 20th century, with some of the first developments of this sport occurring in Alberta.

Who takes part?

Males and females of diverse ages may participate, although many participants are White males from rural areas.

When does it occur / How often do you take part?

Rodeo competitions occur throughout the year. The Ontario High School Rodeo Association hosts several competitions throughout the school year. The Ontario Riding Association hosts professional and amateur rodeo events on a monthly basis. Professional rodeo circuits also host events in the GTA area occasionally during the year.

Are there any organized clubs, groups, organizations or leagues?

The Ontario High School Rodeo Association; Ontario Rodeo Association; Canadian Rodeo Association

Cultural Significance

While rodeo sports do not hold cultural significance with specific ethnocultural groups, these activities and their associated “cowboy culture” can be viewed as symbolically important in some rural Canadian communities.

Is there anything else we should know?



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