Saddle up, dig in for rodeo’s ‘Classic’

<p>Alex Wright of Hagerman, Idaho, rides Ambrose Boobalot for 83 points in last year’s saddle bronc riding at the Farm-City Pro Rodeo.</p>

Saddle bronc riding is one of those events that can be the most exciting event in rodeo if given the proper setting.

The Farm-City Pro Rodeo definitely qualifies to make the guys in the saddle look like superheroes.

Like most roughstock events, the rider must do two things: don’t touch the bronc with his free hand, and hold on tight.

The broncs used in the event are very big horses, outweighing the horses used in bareback riding, typically by several hundred pounds, and offer a more methodical buck that allow the elite riders to develop a rhythm to stay on top.

The event has been characterized by many cowboys as the sport’s “classic” event, which originates from ranchers trying to break in wild horses and having to withstand the big bucks in order to break the horse.

The riders strive for fluidity in the ride, and the two judges scoring the event look for that, along with the cowboy’s technique and how well the horse performs.

Half the score is something the cowboy can’t control; he just hopes he gets a good horse and sticks a great ride on it in order to take home some cash.

The rider is provided a thick braided rope to hang on to while on top of the horse, and the rest is left up to him to stay on.

Prayer and trying to communicate with the rodeo deity doesn’t hurt, either.

His boots are placed in the stirrups of the saddle, which allows the rider to set himself on the horse properly and absorb a little of the shock caused by the bucking.

This is surely going to be one of the most exciting events at the FCPR, and while it doesn’t quite receive the headline-grabbing attention bull riding does, it’s just as tough to stay on a horse that doesn’t want someone on top of them.

Last year, the arena record of 88 points by saddle bronc legend Dan Mortensen was tied by Bradley Harter. His 88-point ride earned him a cool $4,959.

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