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Home First Posted June 9, 2007
Feb 3, 2011

Rodeo and Cowboy Terminology

by Debora Johnson
 
 

Arm Jerker - A really stout animal that bucks with a lot of power.

Association Saddle - A saddle built to the specifications of the Professional Rodeo Cowboy's Association (PRCA).

Ball Out - A horse that comes straight up on hind legs when coming out of the chute and then begins bucking.

Bandana - A cloth made of silk or cotton, usually worn around the neck to protect against winds, rain, and sunburn.

Bedroll - The cowboy's bed. It is made up of blankets and quilts wrapped up in a tarp. The tarp fastens with hooks or snaps on the sides. The bedroll also serves as the cowboy's suitcase.

Bronco - A wild horse.

Bronco Buster - A cowboy who has special skill in taming wild horses.

Boom Town - A town that grew up rapidly. The town was usually a mining town or a town where a cattle trail met at railroad line.

Boot the Bull - Being able to spur during a bull ride. It is not required that a rider spur during the ride but they may receive extra points for doing so.

Branding - Marking cattle or horses with a hot iron that imprints the symbol of the owner on the animal's hide.

Broke - A horse that has been given some education is called a broke horse. A green-broke horse is partially trained. A well-broke horse is well-trained.

Buford or Pup - An easy animal to ride during a competition.

Cantle Boarding - Spurring back to the cantle of his saddle.

Cattle Drive - The movement of a herd of cattle from ranches and grazing lands to the railroad lines for shipment to meat-packing plants.

Catch as Catch Can - Any catch is legal whether it be around neck, body, or back legs.

Chaps - Long leather leggings worn by cowboys over their pants for protection against cactus and other range plants.

Chuck Wagon - The cooking and supply wagon used by ranch cooks during roundups and cattle drives.

Clove Hitch - A knot used by cowboys to tie a rope or lariat to a post.

Community Loop - Throwing an exceptionally large loop.

Cross Fire - The team is disqualified if the heeler tosses his rope before the header has changed the direction of the steer and has the animal moving forward.

Cut - To single out a steer or horse from a herd.

Cutting Horse - A ranch horse specially trained to single out (or "cut") a steer or horse from a herd.

Day Money - Event money paid for that day's events only.

Daylighting - A term referring to a rule in the calf roping. If the calf is laying on the ground when the roper reaches the animal, the roper must pick the animal up and re-throw it, showing daylight between the animal's hooves and ground. Daylighting may also be used to describe a saddle bronc rider who is coming out of the saddle at every jump, showing daylight between his rump and his saddle.

Dogfall - The steer's head is facing in the opposite direction of his body and/or his feet are caught under him. The cowboy must re-throw steer.

Dragger or Trotte - A steer that hangs his head and doesn't run after being roped, many times trotting or stopping.

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

Fanning - Cowboys remove their hats and wave them across the animal during a ride if the horse is not bucking enough. This action may be considered an insult to the stock contractor. The animal may be too easy to ride.

Fleaster - A horse that has little power and jumps with all four feet up and appears to float through the air.

Floating - A technique used by saddle bronc riders in which they appear to be bucked off at every jump. Some bronc riders have such enormous skill that they appear to be floating above the bronc as the horse bucks.

Free Roll - No mark out is required. This occurs when a horse stalls before coming out of the chute and the judge designates the ride as such.

Freight Trained - Being run over by an animal that is traveling at top speed.

Go-Arounds - - Many competitions have a format that involves multiple rounds, sometimes called "Go-rounds." Generally, events span two to three nights. The rider is given a chance to ride one bull per night. The total points scored by the end of the event are recorded, and after the first or first two go rounds, the top 20 riders are given a chance to ride one more bull. This final round is called the "Short go". After the end of the short go, the rider with the most total points wins the event.

Hack rein - Along with the bronc saddle the cowboys use a long thick rein, known as a hack rein, attached to a halter on the horse's head.

Half-Hitch - A knot often used by cowboys to tie a lariat to the saddle horn.

Hat Bender - A horse or bull that does not buck at all. He just runs around.

Head Hunter - A bull that is constantly looking for someone to charge.

Header - The header is the first out of the chute. It is his responsibility to throw a lasso around the steer's horns and turn the animal back so the heeler can throw his loop around the steer's hind heels.

Heeler - In team roping the heeler must rope both hind legs of the steer.

Hickeyed - The honda of the rope catches on the steer's horn. No time is given.

High Roller - A horse that leaps high into the air when bucking.

Hobbles - Restraints that fasten around a horse's front legs below the ankle. Hobbles are designed to keep a horse from running off while the cowboy is out of the saddle.

Hollihan - Flipping the steer over end-over-end.

Jerky - Strips of dried meat that could be stored for long periods. No refrigeration is needed.

Lap and Tap - No barrier is used.

Lariat - A braided rope used by cowboys.

Lasso - A lariat tied with a special knot so that the lariat can be tightened when thrown over the head of a steer or horse.

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

Mark Out - The cowboy must have both feet over the point of the horse's shoulders before the horse's front feet hit the ground.

Mash Up - Clamping onto the horse with both legs and having no spurring action.

Money - Prize money contributed by the rodeo committee. It is added to the entry fees paid by the contestants.

Money Barrel - The first barrel in the barrel racing. A good first barrel sets the rider up for a good pattern.

Mustang - A wild horse.

Out the Back Door - When a rider is thrown off over the hind end of the animal.

Outlaw - A horse that cannot be broke or ridden.

Pantyhose- The heeler has roped the heels and the rope passes beyond the steers hocks and catches up under both flanks of the steer.

Pegging - When a steer wrestler sticks the steer's horn into the ground.

Pick-up-Man - Saddle bronc and bareback riders dismount with the help of a pick-up man who rides up on a horse and helps them to the ground.

Poke - A pouch or bag used by cowboys to carry small personal items.

Pulling Leather - Holding onto the saddle horn to keep from getting thrown when a horse is bucking.

Quirt - a weighted, short-handled whip made of braided rawhide or leather.

Rake - Spurring action.

Range - An large open area of grassland where cattle and horses graze.

Rawhide - The untanned cattle skin; a skin that has not been processed to make leather.

Rodeo - A display of skill in bronco busting and roping that began in the 1870s and remains popular in the West today.

Roundup - The bringing together of a ranch's cattle for branding. The beginning of a cattle drive.

Scooter - Pivoting on the front end with no real kicking action from the back.

Seeing Daylight - The rider comes far enough off the horse that daylight is seen between the rider and the animal.

Short Go-Around - Many competitions have a format that involves multiple rounds, sometimes called "Go-rounds." Generally, events span two to three nights. The rider is given a chance to ride one bull per night. The total points scored by the end of the event are recorded, and after the first or first two go rounds, the top 20 riders are given a chance to ride one more bull. This final round is called the "Short go". After the end of the short go, the rider with the most total points wins the event.

Spurring Lick - Getting in rhythm with the bucking action of the animal.

Spurs - Spurs are have a heel band, a shank, and a rowel. It is a tool used to persuade but not injure, the horse to move on.

Star Gaze - A saddle bronc that bucks with his head up. This makes it difficult for the rider to keep the slack out of his hack rein and to balance.

Sucks Back - An animal suddenly changes the direction in which it was bucking.

Suicide Wrap - The wrap bullriders take when wrapping the bull rope around their hand.

Suitcase Handle - Bareback Rigging Handle

Sun Fisher - The animal twists his body in the air so that daylight shines on his belly.

Team Roping - The only true team competition in rodeo.

Tenderfoot - A newcomer to the cowboy life; also called a greenhorn.

Well - The center of the spin. Riders may get into the well and not be able to regain their balance. A very dangerous area for riders to dismount into.

Whipped Down - Generally used to describe a rider that his jerked forward on the bull and his torso and/or face comes in contact with the animal.

Wrangler - The person on a ranch or cattle drive who took care of the horses.


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