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.
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.
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.
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.