RAM NCFR Rodeo Rundown: What is Saddle Bronc Riding? - RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo

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RAM NCFR Rodeo Rundown: What is Saddle Bronc Riding?

RAM NCFR saddle bronc Showdown Sunday during the finals

RAM NCFR Rodeo Rundown: What is Saddle Bronc Riding?

Saddle bronc riding has the deepest roots in the sport of rodeo. This event began on ranches throughout the American West as early as the 1800s. Cowboys competed amongst each other to see who had the skill and style when riding untrained horses. While strength and skill are important in this event, many cowboys believe that saddle bronc riding is the toughest event to master because of the technical work behind it. 

A saddle bronc rider uses a thick rein attached to his horse’s halter, also known as a “bronc rein.” The ride begins with the cowboy’s feet touching the horse’s shoulders until the broncs front feet hit the ground after the initial buck. This is a rule known as the mark out rule. Failure to complete this action may result in disqualification.

Using one hand, the cowboy tries to stay securely seated in his saddle. Keeping his toes out, the rider moves his feet back and forth over the horse’s shoulders to the back of the saddle, all while keeping time with the bronc. Precise timing in saddle bronc riding is important to score well, and the rider must keep this action up throughout the ride. Some cowboys say, this motion can feel like taking a rough ride in a rocking chair. Who knew?

Cowboys must attempt to stay on the bucking horse for at least eight seconds while holding on with one arm. The other arm is known as a rider’s free hand, and it must stay in the air for the duration of the ride. If the rider touches the animal or himself with his free hand, the clock stops and the rider will receive a “no score.” Two judges score the rider from 0-25 points and the animal 0-25 points, these four judged scores are added together with a total maximum score of 100 points. Points are awarded to the animal-based on difficulty, strength, rhythm, and style. Cowboys earn points based off of being synchronized with each move made by the bronc, spurring action and overall control of their ride. 

Saddle bronc riding at the RAM NCFRDuring the second round of the 2019 RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo (RAM NCFR), Chase Brooks climbed aboard 627 Fraid Knot from Korkow Rodeo. You can see that Fraid Knot scored a 20.50 and a 20.00 and Chase scored a 22.00 and a 21.00 totaling 83.50 points, landing him in the number three spot. 

ContestantStock BrandStock Name ScoreStock ScoreContestant Score
Chase Brooks627Fraid Knot83.5020.50/20.0022.00/21.00


Chase Brooks went on to claim the title of 2019 RAM NCFR Saddle Bronc champion! He is currently sitting sixth in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) RAM saddle bronc world standings. Hailing from the Big Sky State of Montana, Chase rodeos in the Montana circuit. He is currently sitting in the 1st place position in the circuit saddle bronc standings. Catch Chase Brooks at the Montana Circuit Finals, January 10-12, 2020, where he will be vying for the year-end title and a trip to the 2020 RAM NCFR in Kissimmee, Florida!

Comments: 2

  • Katelyn killam
    November 28, 2019 6:15 pm

    Is there anyone that can help me! I’m trying to start rodeoing and I’m not sure where to start?