5 Bull-riding Basics Every Guy Should Know

PBR Professional Bull Rider
Courtesy of PBR

Just like every other sport, bull riding has its own set of quirky terms and rules.

This is your PBR 101.

1. Bucking chute

What it means: Before a bull and the rider enter the arena for a ride, they’re waiting inside the “chute,” the gated steel box on the outer line of the arena. When the rider is all set and ready to go, he’ll nod his head to signal that the gate to the chute should open up.

2. Gold buckle

What it is: The PBR World Champion is presented annually with this sport’s coveted gold buckle, the ultimate symbol of achievement in bull riding. The custom-made belt buckle is valued at more than $10,000.

3. Hung up

What it means: One thing a bull rider doesn’t want to be. If a rider gets thrown from the bull, but his hand remains on the bull rope, it means he’s “hung up” on the bull. The situation can be scary for riders, but more often than not, the bullfighters will come in and help the rider get free from the rope.

4. Muley

What it is: Simply a hornless bull.

How bull riding is scored and judged

A qualified ride lasts eight seconds. The rider must have one hand in the bull rope and one hand in the air. There are four judges. Each ride can earn up to 100 points for the rider and the bull—that’s right the bull gets a score, too—with a maximum of 50 points awarded to the rider and 50 points to the bull depending on how the ride is judged.

The bulls will always get a score—based on their spinning, kicks, if they stumble—for the round, even if the rider doesn’t make it to eight seconds. Riders are judged on balance, effort, endurance, control, and even style. Extra points can be given for spurring.

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