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Bull Riding

Bull riding is a rodeo sport that involves riding on a bull that attempts to throw off ("buck") the rider. Participants attempt to remain on the bull for at least eight seconds after the gate of the holding pen is released. In competitions, participants are judged based on their showmanship and control as well as the bull’s ability to buck. Participants receive higher scores if they are able to show a sense of control in syncing their movement with those of the bull. Participants can only hold onto the rope attached to the bull with one hand, and must keep the other arm free in the air for the full eight seconds. Due to the power of the specially trained bull, there is a high risk of injury associated with this rodeo sport.

Is this activity known by any other names?


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. Bull riding, specifically, had its earliest competitions in the United States 1935, from where it quickly spread to Canada.

Who takes part?

Males and females of diverse ages may participate, although many participants are White adults from rural areas. Children are often trained to ride using miniature bulls or steers, as they are seen as safer alternatives.

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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