Saddle bronc riding is rodeo’s classic event since it derived from the practice of “breaking” or training saddle horses in the Old West. The contestant sits in a standard saddle attached to the back of the horse – but with no saddle horn. For leverage, he holds a thick “rein” or rope that is attached to the horse’s halter, which can only be held with one hand.
When the gate swings open, the cowboy must adhere to the “mark-out” rule in which he must have his heels touching the animal above the point of the horse’s shoulders when it makes its first jump. Otherwise, the cowboy will be disqualified and given a “no score.” Synchronization with the horse’s movements earns higher scores. When the horse’s front feet are on the ground, the rider’s heels must be in front of the horse’s shoulders, toes turned out. As the horse resets for its next move, the cowboy brings his heels to the back of the saddle, all the while anticipating the animal’s next jump. If the contestant touches any part of the horse or himself with his free hand during the 8-second ride, he will be disqualified. A high-scoring ride is in the 80s or 90s out of a possible 100 points.
2022 PRCA World Champion: Zeke Thurston, Big Valley, AB, Canada
2023 VDRR Champion (tie): Houston Brown, 87 points on Powder River Rodeo’s Toss Across, and Stetson Wright, 87 points on Powder River Rodeo’s After Party
VDRR Arena Record: Kent Cooper, 93 points on Kerby’s Hang ’em High, 1980
This year’s Saddle Bronc Riding is sponsored by: