A Beginners Guide To Professional Bull Riding

A Beginners Guide To Professional Bull Riding

by Michael Satterfield

Professional Bull Riding, better known as PBR, is back in full swing with in-person events that are the perfect way to experience one of the most exciting rodeo sports, bull riding. But if you have never been to a PBR event, you likely don't know what to expect, I recently went to the PBR Aggieland Classics, and here is everything you need to know about going to your first PBR event.

It's Not a Rodeo:

Unlike traditional rodeos that feature multiple events like barrel racing or calf roping, the PBR is 100% bull riding, and unlike rodeos which can often be held at your local fairgrounds, many PBR events are held in sports stadiums.


Tickets Are Affordable:

General admission tickets at many venues start at around $20 per person, you can also upgrade to include other experiences like Q&A sessions with top riders, photo packages, and even a tour that allows you to get up close to the bulls.

It's Coming to a City Near You:

You don't just have to travel to Texas or Montana to see PBR, the tours crisscross the country and end at the championship in Las Vegas, Nevada. So check the PBR schedule and see when the next event is coming to your neck of the woods.

The Rules Are Simple:

A cowboy gets on a bull and tries to hang on for 8 dramatic seconds. Riders who manage to stay on the full 8 seconds are judged and given a score that is worth up to 100 points, 50 points for the bull, and 50 points for the rider. Four judges award up to 25 points each to the rider and the bull. The scores are combined and then divided by two for the official score. This score is used to rank the rider and the bull.

A Beginners Guide To Professional Bull Riding

The Bulls Are Celebrities:

Known as "The Toughest Sport on Dirt" the bulls are stars the same as the riders and have their own athlete pages, points system, and ranking depending on how difficult they are to ride. Bulls with names like Chiseled, Smooth Wreck, and Mezcal face off against the best riders from around the world like Kaique Pacheco, Cooper Davis, and Keyshawn Whitehorse

You Don't Need a Cowboy Hat:

While you can wear a cowboy hat and your favorite boots, PBR attracts fans from all lifestyles and all are welcome. Dress in whatever makes you comfortable and enjoy the show. You can always pick up some PBR merch on sight if you feel the need to blend in with the hardcore fans.

You'll Be Close to the Action:

The average PBR arena is just 85-feet by 140-feet meaning there isn't a bad seat in the house. 

You're Going to Have Fun:

Between the rodeo clowns, the pageantry, the food, drinks, music, and the incredible action, you are going to enjoy yourself. Even if you have never been to any kind of rodeo-type event, PBR's production makes it easy to follow and enjoy.

A Beginners Guide To Professional Bull Riding

Terms You Might Need To Know:

Rosin: Each bull rider has their own mix of the sticky substance that provides extra grip, most recipes involve soap.

Bull Rope: A braided nylon or natural fiber rope that is wrapped around the bull and is what the rider hangs on to during their ride. The ropes have a leather handle braided into the top and a weighted bell at the bottom so it will fall off quickly once the rider has lost his grip. Most bull ropes are used for only one season.

Chaps: Leather leg protectors that are mostly used for showing off a riders' personality or sponsors.

Down in the well: This is when a bull is spinning in one direction and the force pulls the rider down the side of the bull, this can be a very dangerous situation.

Kissing the bull: This is when a cowboy's head meets with the top of the bull's head during a ride.