Steer Wrestling: Speed and strength are the name of this game
Photo by Kathy Gregg
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to wrestle a 600 pound steer to the ground in seconds, immediately after dismounting a horse at 30 miles per hour?
Steer wrestling – a truly thrilling rodeo event – is all about a cowboy’s speed, strength, precision, and technique in wrestling a steer to the ground as quickly as possible. Like all timed events in rodeo, the quicker you are, the better. (#DYK: Steer wrestling is the quickest timed event in rodeo!)
Many rodeo fans don’t realize that the steer typically weighs two or three times more than the cowboy trying to wrestle it. But that’s not the hardest part! Here’s how it works. As soon as the steer leaves the chute, the cowboy has to lean off the side of his horse moving at intense speeds in order to grab or “catch” the steer behind the horns, stop the steer’s momentum, and wrestle ‘em to the ground, making sure all four of the animal’s legs and its head are pointed in the same direction. Whew! Once that is accomplished, a timed score is produced. The only assistance the cowboy gets in this event is from the hazer, the cowboy who rides along the opposite side of the steer to keep the steer running in a straight line.
Take it from steer wrestling cowboy Kamry Dymmek, a seventh generation Osceola County, Florida native who also works his family’s farm growing sod, hay, cattle, horses, and peaches. Dymmek spoke with us about the sport of steer wrestling and his journey to the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Kissimmee, Florida back in March 2015. Dymmek is the 2014 and now the 2015 Southeastern Circuit Champion in the steer wrestling event which allows him to compete at the RNCFR.
The road to compete at the RNCFR is never an easy one. Cowboys travel and compete throughout the year across the U.S. to advance or qualify. When we asked him about winning the 2014 title, Dymmek said, “I wasn’t sure if it was luck, but it was definitely a goal I had. And with the amount of talented bull doggers in the Southeastern Circuit, winning the title certainly wasn’t easy!” (Bull dogger refers to the steer wrestler, as this was the original name for the cowboy in the sport of steer wrestling.)
Dymmek shared more details with us. “I train seven days a week. I go to the gym to work on my core strength, doing low impact cardio, but also working with my horse at the ranch.”
Just like any other professional athlete, cowboys must stay healthy to remain competitive in their rodeo events. The same goes for their horses! In order to keep the horses in competitive shape, they need regular exercise to improve their muscle strength, endurance and speed, and to learn how to keep calm in the box. “The box” is the small chute a steer wrestler backs his horse into before he makes his run.
Steer wrestling requires just as much mental determination as it does physical strength. Both the horse and the steer wrestler have to be in a great mindset. The horse has to remain calm and steady in the box to prepare for the run, while the steer wrestler should visualize a good result. Dymmek said, “It’s real easy to overthink things. You don’t want to let your mind beat you. If you broke a barrier at the last rodeo, you can’t dwell on that for the next rodeo you are competing in. You have to challenge yourself to get better and better.”
We asked Dymmek what’s most the exciting thing about the sport of steer wrestling, and he smiled, “It’s the love of rodeo, the love of the fans, seeing your buddies at the rodeo, telling stories, being around a great family atmosphere, and the having the chance to compete in the sport you love.” It’s fair to say that steer wrestling runs in Dymmek’s blood, as both his father and brother competed in steer wrestling as well.
Dymmek doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. He will be making his return to the RNCFR in Kissimmee in April 2016. “The RNCFR has an even greater appeal since it is taking place in my home state. It raises my personal goals for me to make it back.”
Good luck to all the steer wrestlers who are advancing to the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo in April!
Under the hat quote from Kamry Dymmek: “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” -Vince Lombardi
#DYK: The fastest time in the world for the steer wrestling event clocked in at 2.4 seconds.