It's an exciting eight second joust between man and horse, nothing quite equals the classic pose of horse and rider pitched high in the air, six legs off the ground. For the contestant, bareback riding as an event is a grueling combination of strenuous athletic training, riding skill, balance, stamina, and pure nerve.
If riding on the back of an ill-tempered bull isn't enough, there's always "doggin" a steer! Most steers used in this event weigh between 650 and 700 pounds and are chased down by a rider on horseback, at about 30 miles per hour! This is an event of speed, skill and raw nerve and the event that made Bill Pickett famous.
For excitement and the ultimate danger in rodeo, there is nothing to match bull riding. With the bull weighing nearly a ton and with surprising agility, bucking bulls generally are very bad tempered. Many of the crossbred Brahmans go a whole season without being ridden the required eight seconds by any bull rider.
When it comes to the importance of rider and horse working as a team, there is nothing like barrel racing, which is one of two events open to cowgirls only. Ropers and steer wrestlers often borrow mounts and win, but take a barrel racer off her horse and it's a whole different world.
Mutton busting is an event held at rodeos similar to bull riding or bronc riding, in which children ride or race sheep. The sport is about as simple as it is obscure: Take willing kids, age 6 and under, strap a hockey helmet to their heads, put them on the backs of live sheep and see how long they can hang on.