A Brief History of Bull Riding
Bull riding, a sport that originated in the 1600s, gained popularity in the United States during the 1800s. While commonly associated with southern states, the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) organization brings the excitement of bull riding to audiences across the country through tours and broadcasts.
Rules of the Ride
The rules of bull riding are straightforward. Riders must hold the rope with one hand and keep their other hand in the air while staying on top of the bull. If the free hand touches the bull or any part of the rider’s body, no points are awarded. To earn points, riders must remain mounted for a minimum of eight seconds. Judges then provide a score, with up to 100 points available, 50 for the rider and 50 for the bull.
About the Bulls
The bulls used in bull riding competitions are specially bred for the sport. Weighing between 1,200 to 2,000 pounds, these bulls typically have a lifespan of 15 years. They start competing at around 3 to 4 years old and continue for two to four years.
The Professional Bull Riders (PBR)
Established in 1992 by 20 bull riders, PBR is the premier bull riding league. Its founders aimed to bring more mainstream attention to the sport and invested $1,000 each to create a better experience for fans. Today, PBR has over 800 members and hosts more than 200 events annually, including the prestigious “Unleash the Beast” tour from November to May.
In the exciting new Camping World Team Series, which launched in 2022, eight teams participate in an 11-event season that coincides with the “Unleash the Beast” tour. The Texas Rattlers emerged as champions in the 2023 team championship held in Las Vegas.
The Risks Involved
Bull riding is an inherently dangerous sport, and injuries are common. Tragically, there have been fatalities in competitions, such as in 2019 when a rider suffered fatal injuries after being stomped on by a bull in Denver. Another rider lost his life in 2021 when he became trapped beneath a bull during an event in California.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.