Bull Riding Terminology

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ABR - Amateur Bull Riders

Added Money - The money donated to the rodeo committee by the sponsors to attract the contestants to the rodeo for competition.

Arena Director - The person whose responsibility it is to see that the rodeo goes smoothly and according to the rules of the I.P.R.A.

Arm Jerker - A bull that is really stout and bucks with the power to cause a great amount of pull on the contestant's arm.

Average - The contestant's points are combined from all go-rounds and the contestant with the highest total points wins the average.


Bad Wreck - A seriously painful buck off, commonly followed by getting horned or stomped.

Bailing Out - Getting off the bull the best way you can, generally by throwing your weight against the animal.

Bearing Down - To ride with maximum effort. Giving it 110%.

Blooper - A bull with very little bucking ability that jumps and kicks or just runs around the arena.

Blow-up - A bull that runs out away from the chute before starting to buck.

Boot the Bull - A term used to mean a particular bull can be spurred.

Bufford - A bull that is easy to ride, rope, or throw down.

Bull Rope - A flat woven rope, no larger than 9/16th of an inch in diameter with a bell attached to it. The rope is wrapped around the bull's body, just behind the front legs, and then around the cowboy's hand, to help secure the cowboy to the bull.


Champion - The rodeo champion is traditionally the high-money winner in an event for the given season.

Chute Fighter - A bull that will not stand still and tries to fight the cowboy before he leaves the chute.

Crow Hopper - A bull that doesn't buck, but jumps stiff-legged instead.

Cowboy Up - Getting mentally ready. To get the courage to climb on and give it your all.


Dink - A bull with very little bucking ability that jumps and kicks or just runs around the arena.

Double Kicker - A bull that kicks up with the hind legs, walks on the front legs and then kicks again with the hind legs, before the hind legs touch the ground.

Ducks Off - A bull that is running in a forward direction then suddenly moves off to the left or right.


Entry fee - The money paid by the contestant before competing in a rodeo. Contestants must pay separate entry fees for each event they enter.


Fading - A bull that spins and slowly gains ground in the direction that he is spinning.

Fighting Bull - The kind of bull that you would like to give your mother-in-law. These bulls are almost considered to be head hunters.

Flagman - The official who signals the end of elapsed time in timed events.

Flank strap - A wool-lined strap with a self-holding buckle that is passed around the flank of a bull. As the stock leaves the chute, the strap is pulled tight causing the animal to buck in an effort to get rid of the strap.

Freight Trained - A contestant or clown that gets run over by a bull traveling at top speed.


Go round - The part of the rodeo that is required to allow each contestant to compete on one head of stock.

Ground money - The money paid when the purse for an event is split equally and paid to all contestants in the event. This is done when all contestants entered in an event fail to qualify.


Hat Bender - A bull that does not buck and just runs around the arena.

Head Hunter - A bull that is constantly looking for a two-legged target to hit.

Head Thrower - A bull that tries to hit the cowboy with his head or horns while the contestant is on his back.

Honest Bucker - A bull that bucks the same way every time out of the chute.

Honker - A really rank and hard bull to ride.

Hooker - A bull that is really handy with its horns.

Hung Up - A rider that is off the bull but is still stuck in the bull rope.


IFR - International Finals Rodeo

In the Well - The term used to describe when a contestant comes off the bull on the inside of the spin.

I.P.R.A. - International Professional Rodeo Association


Jump and Kicker - A bull that jumps and kicks its hind feet in a straight-away action.


Kissing the Bull - When a cowboy's face meets the back of the bull's head.


Lounger - A horse that thrusts with its hind feet forward rather than kicking out behind.


Mash Up - A cowboy that clamps with his legs and has no spurring motion.

Money Bull - A bull that when ridden, usually takes the cowboy to the pay window.

Mulely - A bull that has no horns. Making his ears appear large.


NFR - National Finals Rodeo

No time - This means that the contestant has not caught or thrown the stock properly, and does not receive a time for that go-round.


Out the Backdoor - When the rider is thrown over the back end of an animal.


PBR - Professional Bull Riders

Purse - The money paid to the winners of each rodeo event. It equals the total of the added money and entry fees.

PRCA - Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association

Producer - The individual that runs the rodeo and is responsible for bringing all the elements together into a fast, smooth running, and exciting production.


Rag Doll - What a rider looks like when hung up and dragged around.

Rank - A very hard animal to ride.

Re-ride - Another ride given to a bull rider in the same go-round when either the stock or the cowboy is not afforded a fair opportunity to show their best. This can be caused by things like a chute-fighting animal, a fallen animal, etc.

Rowel - The circular, notched, bluntly pointed, and freewheeling part of a spur. Any competitor using spurs that will cause a cut is disqualified.

Run Away -A bull that does not buck and just runs around.


Scooter - A bull that pivots on the front feet and scoots the back end around, instead of pivoting on the front feet and kicking the hind feet.

Seeing daylight - The term used when a cowboy comes loose from a bull far enough for the spectators to see daylight between the cowboy and the animal.

Set you Up -A bull that drops a shoulder like they are going to turn or spin in one direction, and then immediately does the exact opposite.

Slinger - A bull that tries to hit the cowboy with his head or horns while the contestant is on his back.

Snorty - A bull that blows air at a clown or downed cowboy.

Stock contractor - The person or organization that provides all the livestock used in the rodeo events.

Spinner - A bull that tends to come out of the chute and spins to the left or right.

Spurring Lick - A motion of the cowboy's feet.

Sucks Back - A bull that bucks in one direction, then instantly switches to the opposite direction.

Swap Ends - A bull that jumps into the air and turns 180 degrees before touching the ground.


Timers - The person responsible for marking a contestant's time.

Tippy Toe -A bull that walks on its front legs when most of their weight is off the ground.

Toes Out -The preferred style of holding the feet at a 90 degree angle to the animal to ensure maximum spur contact.

Trash - A bull with no set pattern.

Try - Cowboy term for courage.


Union Bull - A bull that bucks until the sound of the 8-second whistle, then quits.


Welly - A bull that throws the rider to the inside of a spin. The "Well" a danger spot for the cowboy

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