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Steer Undecorating

Steer undecorating is a rodeo sport that involves ripping a ribbon from a steer’s back as quickly as possible. At the beginning of the competition, the steer sits between two horseback rides: the participant and the “hazer,” whose role is to prevent the steer from moving too far away to the side. The steer is given a head start before the participant rides after and catches up to the steer, bends down, pulls the ribbon off the steer's body, and hold it aloft. As this is a timed event, the fastest time wins the competition.

Is this activity known by any other names?

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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. Steer undecorating competitions have existed since at least the 1970s in the United States and Australia, and shortly thereafter they spread to Alberta and then other parts of Canada as part of rodeo tours.

Who takes part?

Males and females of diverse ages may participate, although many rodeo athletes are White females from rural areas. Historically, steer undecorating was designed as a female event to complement the predominantly male event of steer wrestling.

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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