rodeo bull bucking styles

Rodeo Bull Bucking: Styles and How to Identify Them

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some basics on why bulls “buck” during certain rodeo events. From how they’re bred to how this behavior is encouraged (exclusively in safe, ethical ways), there are a number of interesting themes here that many don’t know much about — even those who attend rodeos regularly.

At A Cut Above Buckles, we’re proud to provide custom rodeo belt buckles and other quality materials that are ideal for both practical and aesthetic needs in a rodeo or any similar setting. In today’s part two of our series, we’ll look at several of the most common bull bucking styles you may see — plus the telltale characteristics of each of them.

Jump Kick

One of the most common and well-known bull bucking styles in rodeos today is the jump kick, which is characterized by the bull lifting its back legs high and kicking them out, often to the side of itself. This is a common style for younger bulls that haven’t yet fully figured out the spinning technique (more on this below) — they’re still getting used to having a rider on their back, and their first instinct is often to try and throw them off by jumping and kicking.

If you see a bull doing this, it’s important to stay calm and keep your grip tight. You may be tempted to try and jerk the rope to get the bull back under control, but this will only aggravate it further and increase the risk of injury. Instead, just hang on and try to relax until your ride is over.


While some bulls have this technique even when they’re young, it often takes them a bit more time to perfect it — which is why you may not see many bull spins during a young bull’s first few rodeos. With this style, the bull will usually lose its footing and begin to spin in circles on the spot, often throwing its back legs out wildly as well.

These bulls are often known as “money” bulls because, if they’re ridden correctly, they can rack up a lot of points for the rider. They’re also notoriously difficult to ride, which is why you’ll often see less experienced riders avoiding them if they have the opportunity.

Right Out

Another common bull style is the right out, which refers to a bull that begins bucking immediately out of the chute gate with zero delay. However, these bulls don’t tend to buck in any particular pattern — they simply get going as fast as they can and try to throw off the rider.

This is another style that experienced riders will often prefer if they’re looking for maximum points and a relatively injury-free exit. However, it requires excellent timing and positioning to pull off correctly — otherwise you can get thrown off quickly and lose the chance at achieving some of those high points.

Few Out

Finally, another common style is the few out. This describes a bull that will begin bucking soon after leaving the chute, but will quickly turn to the left or right and stop bucking just as quickly. These bulls are often ideal for novice riders or those with little experience, and will usually reward them with a solid ride time.

At A Cut Above Buckles, we believe that quality materials like custom rodeo belt buckles can make all the difference when it comes to your performance in the arena — no matter which style of bull bucking you’re dealing with! For more on our products, contact our pros today.

rodeo bull bucking why

Rodeo Bull Bucking: Why Bulls Buck During Events

There are numerous important components involved in a rodeo event that involves bull-riding, and the actual bull is one of the single most important. Specifically, the bucking actions that bulls take during bull-riding events are the basis for the entire setup — and did you know that bulls buck in a few different ways, and for a few different reasons?

At A Cut Above Buckles, we’re proud to play just one small role in rodeos and related events: Custom rodeo trophy belt buckles, which we offer to championship bull riders and numerous others for a mixture of style and functionality. We’re also here to help educate many of our clients on the wide world of rodeos, including certain areas that even some regular rodeo attendees might not be fully up to speed on. Why do bulls “buck” during these events, and what are some of the different bucking styles that have been identified? This two-part blog series will go over everything you need to know.

Breeding Themes

First and foremost, the vast majority of bulls used in bull-riding events are bred specifically for their bucking abilities. There are a few different reasons for this, but the biggest one is that it’s simply more entertaining for the fans to see a good bucking bull than it is to see a placid steer.

Breeders will often cross different breeds of bulls in order to create offspring that have the best chance of inheriting the bucking gene. There are certain physical characteristics that bucking bulls tend to have (more on that later), and breeders will often select for these when creating new generations of bulls.

In addition, bulls will be trained on knowing when and when not to buck. For example, a bull that is constantly bucking in the chute prior to an event will generally be penalized, as this is considered bad behavior.

Flank Straps

Similar to a lead chain for a dog or a bit in a saddle horse’s mouth, flank straps are sometimes used to exert pressure on a bull’s hindquarters in order to get it to buck. To be very clear, these straps do not cause pain in the bull — rather, they incentivize it to buck as hard as possible. Contrary to some myths, the strap does not come into contact with the bull’s genitals, and it’s actually one of the most humane ways to get a bull to buck.

Bulls Are Not Hurt

We wanted to emphasize this again, because it’s a major myth among some who don’t know about rodeo events. Modern rodeos and their training formats do not hurt bulls in any way. Bulls are well-cared for and respected animals, and the events that take place are all in good fun.

In part two of our series, we’ll go over the different ways a bull may buck during a rodeo event. For more on this, or to learn about any of our trophy rodeo belt buckles, speak to the staff at A Cut Above Buckles.

rodeo bull riding scores formats

Texas Rodeo Bull Riding Scores: Point Formats and Extra Points

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the basics on how judging works within various bull riding rodeo events. While many are aware of the simple themes these events involve, such as staying atop a bucking bull for a period of time, fewer are aware of how these events are actually scored and how winners are determined.

At A Cut Above Buckles, we happily provide cowboys and many others with quality belt buckles for clients throughout Texas and nearby areas, including custom rodeo belt buckles that come in several different styles. Part one of our series went over the judges and a couple simple themes for these events — today’s part two will look at some of the simple rules at play, plus how extra points can be awarded.

Stock Points

As we noted in part one, scoring for bull riding events is based not only on the rider’s performance, but also on the difficulty of the bull. This latter area is referred to as “stock points,” which are tallied and announced after the ride. Bulls are given a rating from 1 to 100, with the higher numbers corresponding to more dangerous bulls. A bull that rates at 95 is generally considered “rough,” whereas one that rates at 50 would be considered relatively easy.

For instance, if the bull in question just runs and kicks in a straight line, with no spinning or bucking, it would score low on the stock point scale. But if the same bull bucks and twists unpredictably, it would score much higher.

Control and Rhythm

Once again, despite noting it in part one, here’s a reminder: The simple amount of time the rider spends on the bull is a factor for scoring, but not the only one. In addition, judges will be looking for themes like constant control and rhythm, as well as proper hand position and spurring.

Extra Points

In addition, there are certain ways riders may gain extra points during their ride. For instance, if the rider spurs the bull to encourage bigger bucks during their ride, they may be given extra points. Alternatively, if the rider manages to hang on for an additional eight seconds after the required time has expired, they will receive bonus points.


In some cases, if a rider’s score comes out very low due primarily to poor bull performance — such as if the bull stumbles or runs into a fence — the judges may offer the rider a “re-ride.” This means the rider gets to try again on another bull, with the hope of scoring higher and offsetting the low score from their first attempt.

The rider will have to give up his original score here, but this is usually just fine given that the score was low. They will then wait until all other riders have completed their rides, and the event will then be judged as a whole.

We hope this two-part series provides a little more insight into how scoring works during bull riding rodeo events. Be sure to check out A Cut Above Buckles for all your buckle needs in Texas and other areas!

cowboy rodeo equipment flank saddle

Cowboy Rodeo Equipment: Flank Strap, Tape, Saddle, Rope and Bell

In parts one and two of this multi-part blog series, we went over some of the most common and important pieces of equipment worn by rodeo cowboys. From belt buckles to a variety of other items, cowboys need to be properly stocked to ensure they’re both safe and stylish during any rodeo event.

At A Cut Above Buckles, we’re proud to be your one-stop shop for all custom rodeo belt buckles, including our Championship series and several others. In addition, we’re happy to assist rodeo cowboys and many others with all their important needs for any event they’re taking part in. Today’s final entry in our series will look at a few additional items that should be considered for any rodeo event cowboy.

Flank Strap

For both bronc and bull riding, flank straps are used to help the rider keep his grip and control on a bucking animal. The flank strap is applied to the bowels of a horse and, when tightened properly, is extremely effective at keeping a cowboy in place as he rides.

Despite some silly myths to the contrary, flank straps are not tied around the groin area of the animal, but rather the hips and stifles. If you’re a cowboy competing in this type of rodeo, remember to never cross your leg over the flank strap!


Roughstock events are straining and stressful on the body, and many cowboys will use tape to wrap their joints and limbs. Ankles, wrists, knees and elbows are common spots for athletes to apply sports tape to reduce the risk of injury during competition.

Rodeo Athletic Tape is a good option for cowboys looking for high-quality adhesive athletic tape that can withstand outdoor elements while still providing support or protection where needed. It’s also available in a variety of colors, which can be used to help cowboys coordinate their outfits while still offering the support they need.


In most bronc riding events, contestants bring their own saddles to use as equipment. The type of saddle cowboys bring with them will vary depending on the event and their personal preferences.

Rope and Bell

For those who compete in bull riding events, a rope and bell is necessary as equipment. This particular piece of gear is used as both protection and decoration during rodeo competitions.

Typically, this rope will be a 16-foot braided piece of polypropylene, with a bell at the bottom of the coil. If you’re a bucking bull rider, this is equipment you should have, allowing you to maintain a solid grip for any bucking type event.

For more on the equipment often kept and utilized by rodeo cowboys on a regular basis, or to learn about any of our trophy or championship belt buckles, speak to the pros at A Cut Above Buckles today.

rodeo bull riding scores format

Rodeo Bull Riding Scores: Judges and Basic Format

While many are at least familiar with the sport of bull riding during rodeo events, fewer know exactly how this sport works. Most know that it involves attempting to stay atop a bucking bull, but do you know how such events are judged, scored and eventually determined for winners?

At A Cut Above Buckles, we’re proud to offer a variety of custom rodeo trophy belt buckles and other buckle types, plus expertise and tips to those who take part in rodeo events — including those who are newer to these areas and just learning about them for the first time while taking on a new interest. For those in this position, here’s a primer on how judging and scoring works in bull riding across a two-part blog series.


First and foremost, it’s important to know how bull riding events are judged. Like with most other roughstock events, there will be two judges watching the ride — they will be paying attention not only to the rider, but also the bull itself.

Each judge will score both the rider and the bull on a scoring range of 0-25. Higher numbers for the rider indicate a better job done during the ride, while higher numbers for the bull indicate a rougher ride and a more difficult time for the rider.

For a given bull ride, then, there will be four scores: Two from each judge for the rider and beyond that, two more scores for the bull (one each from each judge). A final ride score can range from 0 to 100, with 100 signaling the “perfect” ride (these are virtually never achieved).

Staying On Doesn’t Mean Winning

For those new to bull riding or who have only seen it on TV once or twice, there’s a common misconception that simply staying on the bull for eight seconds is good enough — in truth, it’s just the bare minimum for earning points in a bull riding event. If you are able to stay on the bull for eight seconds, you will earn at least seven points, with each point being worth one tenth of a second.

If you stay on through all eight seconds but only by leaning back or otherwise not managing to secure a grip on the bull, you will only earn six points. These numbers will vary based on a few other specifics, as well.

There are slightly different systems for points being awarded to bulls, but we’ll go over these in part two. In addition, we’ll look at certain forms of extra points that may be earned, plus certain situations where a re-ride might be allowed to the rider.

For more on how bull riding events in a rodeo are judged and scored, or to learn about any of our rodeo or other belt buckles, speak to the team at A Cut Above Belt Buckles today.

cowboy rodeo equipment spurs gloves

Cowboy Rodeo Equipment: Spurs, Gloves, Riggin, Glue

In part one of this multi-part blog series, we discussed some of the most common and important pieces of equipment maintained by roughstock cowboys for various rodeo events. From basic safety and protection to that well-known cowboy style that must be maintained, the average cowboy might utilize a variety of different equipment pieces within a single rodeo.

At A Cut Above Buckles, we’re here to help. We offer a huge selection of custom rodeo belt buckles to clients throughout Utah, including our Competitor Series that can be customized in several ways to meet your design and practical needs. What are some of the other most important items you’ll often find on a cowboy at any major rodeo event, and why does each of them matter? Here’s a primer.


For those unaware, spurs in the rodeo world refer to small metal tools attached to the heel of a boot, allowing the rider to dig into the flanks of their mount in order to spur them into action or force them to move in a certain direction. These tools (generally) come in two varieties: “Texas” and “Garrison.”

The former style employs longer rowels (the circular piece with protruding spikes that is responsible for the spurring action) with long, pointed bobbles (which help prevent against getting their shanks (the metal piece mounted to the spur) caught in a rope or other obstacle), while the latter are shorter but utilize more points of contact for additional control over the horse. These are just two styles that have endured throughout history despite many others that have faded into obscurity.


Also vital for rodeo cowboys are riding gloves, which are used to protect the hands from rope burns and small cuts that can cause serious problems. They also help maintain that traditional cowboy appearance by being made out of leather. Modern versions are usually substantially better than the classic “chamois” style, though chamois are still available if one is trying to be true to tradition.


Referring to a handhold that’s customized to the grip of the rider, “riggin” is a piece of equipment that is often made of leather and placed around the neck to assist in maintaining a proper position on top of cattle, horses, or bulls. This holds true whether one is riding “free-style” (no animal) or mounted atop an actual competitor. It’s most common in the bareback riding event, and will typically be made of leather and rawhide.

Glue (or Rosin)

Roughstock riders will often use glue, also known as rosin, to improve their grip on anything from their spurs to rigging. It can be found in a paste form, as well as powdered and applied via brush – the former is more common for those interested in having a more traditional look.

For more on the important pieces of equipment you’ll see used by cowboys during rodeo events, or to learn about any of our custom rodeo belt buckles in Utah, speak to the staff at A Cut Above Buckles today.

cowboy rodeo equipment belt buckle

Cowboy Rodeo Equipment: Belt Buckle, Hat, Chaps, Vest

Today’s modern rodeo cowboy needs the right equipment for both practical use and showcasing their style, and at A Cut Above Buckles, we’re here to help in one major area: Belt buckles. Our wide selection of custom rodeo trophy buckles and other belt buckles is ideal for any and all rodeo cowboy needs, and we’ve helped numerous clients outfit themselves both safely and in-style.

The belt buckle is just one of several pieces of rodeo equipment that play both practical and aesthetic roles for cowboys and cowgirls, and we’re here to assist you with your entire setup for any rodeo event. This multi-part blog series will go over a number of important equipment pieces specific to roughstock rodeo events like bull riding, saddle bronc riding and bareback riding, ensuring you’re completely set up for your next event.

Helmet or Cowboy Hat

One of the most visible and well-known pieces of rodeo k is the cowboy hat, and this is a practical and aesthetic piece of equipment that you’ll need to use throughout your rodeo career. Depending on the type of event, cowboys will utilize a different style of helmet or cowboy hat – for example, those competing in saddle bronc riding might have a harness holding their cowboy hats in place as they ride horseback.

In other cases, cowboys will wear a helmet for certain events – bareback riders and bull riders opt for helmets due to the dangerous nature of their respective events.


For these kinds of roughstock events, chaps are used to protect the rider’s legs. Chaps are made out of leather or wool, depending on the preference of each individual cowboy, and are designed to help protect against injuries during the event.

Chaps come in many different styles – some have fringe while others are plain, made from various materials and with particular decorative elements that represent a certain rodeo association. These personal touches make chaps more than just equipment – they represent a cowboy’s identity and spirit.


Especially in bull riding, but also sometimes in bronc riding and other events, you’ll see contestants wearing vests to help protect their chests from injury. Just like chaps, vests can have a variety of configurations and designs that represent the cowboy’s personal style.

Belt Buckle

While some may not realize it, cowboy belt buckles play both a practical and stylistic role for rodeo cowboys. A strong, durable belt buckle helps a cowboy carry the right equipment while also showcasing a sense of style.

At A Cut Above Buckles, we’re proud to offer our rodeo belt buckles in wide variety of shapes and styles that allow you to find the best option for your needs and preferences. Whether you prefer simple or ornate designs, silver or gold, we have a buckle for you.

Contact us today to learn about any of our products or how we can help outfit you for your next rodeo.

history custom belt buckles

The History Behind Today’s Custom Belt Buckles

The custom belt buckle is a vital part of many rodeo, equestrian and other Western events, but it’s a product with a history that dates back much longer than these pursuits. Belts and buckles have been around in some form for hundreds or even thousands of years, though opinions differ slightly on when custom belt buckles truly became part of our culture.

At A Cut Above Buckles, we’re proud to offer a wide range of custom belt buckles for any purpose, and we’re also cognizant of the long history behind our products — both in the Western US and throughout the world. For our clients who are interested, here’s a brief history of belts and custom belt buckles so you can trace the origins of these products in our society.

Ancient Introduction

Technically speaking, the first buckles of any kind in known human history were created by the Greeks during the period of the Roman Empire. These buckles were made of either metal or bone, at least in most cases, and were used to secure clothing (a strange concept by today’s standards, of course). There are also tools created specifically for the purposes of creating these buckles, including the first rivet-making tools.

Belt Buckles

However, most agree that when it comes to buckles specifically for belts, it would be several hundred more years before the first such products were seen. Most accounts trace this back to the 16th century in Italy, where people began using ornately designed belts with metal buckles to secure their pants or other forms of lower-body clothing.

Of course, these buckles weren’t intended for personalization or much other decoration — the buckle was simply meant to serve its purpose. However, people were creative by nature, and soon they began adding embroidery or enamel work on top of these belt buckles.

Western US and Cowboys

Belt buckles were largely a functional item for several hundred years after this point, up to a vital piece of history for our company: When cowboys began using them for several purposes, including within rodeos and other Western events in the late 1800s.

Custom buckles really became a thing in the Western US, and it didn’t take long before just about every cowboy owned one. One way to tell a real cowboy from a pretender was which buckle they wore — that is, until other people started using them just for decoration or even fashion purposes.

And over the last several decades, custom belt buckles have served both these purposes well. They’re both must-have items for rodeos and equestrian events plus quality style options for many people, even those who don’t regularly compete in such events.

For more on the history of custom belt buckles, or to learn about any of our custom buckle options, speak to the staff at A Cut Above Buckles today.

men’s belt buckle style templates

Men’s Belt Buckle Style Templates Found Today

While many who wear them are well aware that custom belt buckles provide aesthetic advantages that can’t be matched by more traditional styles, there’s a lesser-known benefit here as well: Versatility. Custom belt buckles are available in several different style templates, serving different needs or desires in both the practical and aesthetic realms simultaneously.

At A Cut Above Buckles, we’re happy to provide a huge range of custom belt buckles, from our Signature Series designed specifically for rodeo or equestrian events through three-piece buckles and numerous other options, meeting every practical and stylistic need you may have. What are a few of these different styles you might consider for your belt buckle? Here’s a primer.

Plate Style

Originally popularized by military belts and related items, the plate style belt buckle is one that’s ideal for those customizing a specific design onto their buckle. They’re very easy to design, with nearly limitless possibilities for color and design schemes, whether your tastes lie in the realm of pop culture, sports teams or classic western.

They’re also detachable, making them ideal for switching up looks if needed. They’re often worn in casual settings, but can also be utilized for rodeos, equestrian and other events.

Frame Style

For more formal, traditional belts, frame-style buckles are the most popular option. Easily customizable as well, this style buckle comes with a detachable center drape, allowing for greater design possibilities on the foil of your choice. They’re also highly durable and resistant to scratches or other damage from daily use, making them perfect for various riding events if you choose to go this route.

Frame style belt buckles tend to be square or D-shaped, but can also be round in some cases.

Box Frame

The style that many of our custom belt buckles come in is the box frame alignment, which involves a larger design up front and a strap that presses against the inside. This belt type does not require holes, and fits right inside the hollow box that contains the outward design. For the largest and most prominent custom belt buckle designs, the box frame is typically the way to go.

O-Ring and D-Ring

These styles refer to belt buckles where the belt is fastened by threading it through the buckle. These options often can’t be customized quite as much, but they’re extremely durable and long-lasting. They also tend to be more traditional in overall design, especially when it comes to classic western belts.

For more on the general belt buckle style templates out there, or to learn about any of our custom Western or rodeo belt buckles, speak to the staff at A Cut Above Buckles today.

How to Clean Your Rodeo Belt Buckle in Utah

How to Clean and Maintain Your Rodeo Belt Buckle in Utah

When you receive a custom belt buckle in Utah from A Cut Above Buckles, you’re not just getting a stylish accessory — you’re getting a lasting memory of an achievement. Many of our clients buy our buckles as gifts, but intend to keep them in the family as heirlooms. But whether you plan on sharing your rodeo belt buckle in Utah with future generations or not, you’ll need to know how to keep it in its best condition. From your favorite custom belt buckle maker, here is a guide on how to maintain your buckle.

Understanding Rodeo Belt Buckles in Utah

There are several different methods of making rodeo belt buckles. One of our most used techniques starts with casting a buckle using a non-precious metal and a mold. Using non-precious metal for the base of the buckle maximizes the product’s durability, and using a mold allows us to work tiny, intricate details into the buckle.

Next, we plate the cast buckle with a precious metal, such as silver, gold, bronze, brass, or copper. This creates the elaborate shine and color you usually see in a trophy buckle.

Knowing how your buckle was made and what materials it’s made from will help you better understand how to clean and maintain it. Using the wrong tools and materials to clean your plated buckle could cause some of the plating to be damaged.

How to Clean Your Belt Buckle

Although we recommend finding out what type of metals your buckle is made of before cleaning, if you’re unsure you can always use a 100% cotton polishing cloth. This can be used safely on all metals. Start by simply wiping the buckle with the cloth. However, you can add some mild soap as needed. Be sure to always remove all excess soap and water when you’re done cleaning.

If your belt buckle has many tiny relief details, a cloth may not be able to reach all of the nooks and crannies of the design. For buckles like these, you can use a soft bristled toothbrush to gently remove tarnish and dirt from your buckle.

You may be tempted to use silver polish or jewelry cleaner on your belt, but it’s better to avoid these items. Abrasive silver polish pastes, aerosol silver cleaners, and other jewelry cleaners can be far too harsh on your belt buckle. Using the wrong products on a rodeo belt buckle in Utah can actually cause the buckle to become more tarnished.

Whatever materials you end up using, be sure to clean the buckle slowly and gently, and never soak your trophy buckle in water.

Maintaining Custom Western Belt Buckles in Utah

You can make cleaning your belt buckle easier on yourself by doing some routine maintenance on your buckle.

Storing your belt buckle in cloth bags designed for silver, or even in an old tube sock, can help to prevent scratches and tarnishing. Buffing your buckle with a cotton cloth once a week will also help keep the tarnish away. And finally, avoid getting lotions, perfumes, hand sanitizers, and other harsh products on the buckle.

At A Cut Above Buckles, our products are made to last. If you take these steps to clean your rodeo belt buckle in Utah, it’ll look good as new for years to come.