How Much Do You Know About Professional Bull Riding?

By: Torrance Grey
Estimated Completion Time
3 min
How Much Do You Know About Professional Bull Riding?
Image: YouTube

About This Quiz

Branded as the most dangerous eight seconds in sports, American bull riding consists of riding a bucking bull with one hand for eight seconds and not touching the beast or self with the free hand. 

Within the bull riding circuit four judges are used, two of which judge the rider out of 25 each and the other two judge the bull. Out of 100 points, most riders score between 70 -80 points. Outside the U.S various rules and guidelines govern professional bull riding as is the case with Argentina, Mexico, Canada, and New Zealand.

It takes quite a lot of equipment to ensure that this dangerous sport is performed safely (to both the riders and the animals), and even then it's not a guarantee. Professional bull riding takes place in an arena; the area must be a large open space with fencing from six to seven feet high and it must be suited with exits to allow the rider a way to get out quickly. 

Riders typically wear chaps that protect their legs and thighs and gloves, usually made of leather, to keep from getting rope burn. But how much do you really know about the sport? Will you set a record or end up with a chafed butt? Let's find out.

What larger exhibition sport is bull riding part of?
the Olympics
X Games
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

True, some people do not consider rodeo a sport. But saying that rodeo competitors "aren't really athletes" is an excellent way to make bull riders very annoyed.

How long is a successful ride?
8 seconds
30 seconds
60 seconds
two minutes
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

That probably sounds very brief to a person attending his or her first rodeo. But you can imagine how long it feels to the rider!

Which of these is a professional bull riding organization?
Championship Bull Riding
American Bull Riding
Professional Bull Riding
both #1 and #3
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

These are the major organizations created solely to oversee professional bull riding events. There are other organizations devoted to rodeo sports in general, including the Professional Rodeo Championship Association.


The confining space in which the rider mounts the bull is called the _____.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

This is where the phrase "out of the chute" comes from. "Right out of the chute" means "from the get-go" or "from the very beginning."

How long does the rider have to get settled on the bull before the ride begins?
10 seconds
30 seconds
1 minute
there's no set time
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The officials wait for the rider to nod that he is ready before opening the chute. Of course, this shouldn't take a veteran rider very long.

True or false: Do some bull riders wear helmets?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

This form of protective gear is increasingly accepted in bull riding. No amount of psychological toughness is going to protect a rider from head trauma.


Which of these is sometimes used to get the steer to charge into the ring?
a cattle prod
a firecracker
a whip
a starter's pistol
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The major organizations, like the PBR, have outlawed the use of cattle prods. But some smaller events still use it, citing the thickness of the bull's skin as a reason that it's not inhumane to do so.

Which of these disqualifies a rider?
his hat flies off
he touches the bull with his free hand
he touches his body with his free hand
both #2 and #3
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Touching the bull, the bull rope, or himself will disqualify a rider. The hat coming off, on the other hand, happens all the time.

How much tougher is a bull's hide than human skin?
three times
five times
eight times
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

This is also said to justify the use of spurs. Spurring a bull isn't necessarily as harsh as it might seem, given the thickness of the hide.


The brave soul who distracts the bull after the rider is off is called a ________.
rodeo clown
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Rodeo clowns often dress and paint their faces like circus clowns. They have a critical role in keeping the riders safe after they have been thrown or leapt clear.

True or false: Is the bull also scored in bull riding?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The bull is scored on the vigor and violence with which he tries to throw the rider. So the maximum score of 100 is 50 points for the rider's skill and 50 points for the bull's difficulty.

What does a rider hang on to during the ride?
the bull's horns
a rope
a saddle
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

A rope is tied around the bull just behind its shoulders. The rider holds onto this for stability.


What is the purpose of the flank strap?
for the clown to grab onto after the ride
for the rider to hold on to
to make the bull buck
to keep the bull in the chute prior to the ride
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

It's a fallacy that the flank strap constricts the bull's genitals in a painful way. But it is close to the bull's hindquarters, and irritates the bull enough to make him buck.

The spiked "wheels" on a rider's boots are called _______.
Catherine wheels
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Spurs aren't just used in bull riding. Cowboys also use them to add extra force when they dig their heels into a mount's side, which, in general, makes a horse speed up.

Under what circumstances would a rider put one hand in the air?
to show off
to call for help
to celebrate a successful ride
he has to keep one hand in the air at all times
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The rider keeps one hand up for the entire 8 seconds of the ride. The other holds onto the rope that circles the bull's upper body.


What are the protective leggings riders wear called?
they just wear blue jeans
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Chaps are like loose (but tough) "sleeves" over a rider's jeans. Motorcycle riders sometimes wear them as well, in case of road accidents.

The Championship Bull Riding professional series is called the Road to ______ Tour.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

This is for the simple reason that the CBR championship is held in Cheyenne, Wyoming. It's part of a larger event called Cheyenne Frontier Days.

Which network broadcasts the "Road to Cheyenne" tour?
Fox Sports
the CW
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

You can watch professional bull riding on the Fox Sports Network. This should not be confused with just "Fox," usually found lower on the dial, which is mostly entertainment programming.


One of the most famous bullriding events is at the Calgary ______.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The Calgary Stampede is justly famous for its rodeo, among other outdoor events. It is held in the city of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

What is a castrated bull called?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

This is relevant to bull riding because in earlier days, steers were used instead of bulls. They weren't as aggressive in the ring, but were much easier to transport from event to event.

What is a "short go"?
a bull that is small in stature
a rider who is small in stature
a "finals" round among top scorers in an event
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

You'd find a "short go" in an event with multiple rounds. The highest scorers compete in the short go, and the top scorer in that is the winner overall.


What's the name of the equestrain sport that is most similar to bull riding?
barrel racing
bronco riding
show jumping
calf roping
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

"Saddle bronc" or "bareback bronc" is the sport/art of riding a bucking horse. Horses, due to their size and build, don't have the same power to throw a rider as a bull -- nor, without horns, are they as dangerous to a rider who has been thrown.

Why do riders wear a cowboy hat?
it distracts the bull if it comes off
it protects the head in a fall
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The hat serves no real purpose. It's a nod to the way the sport had its origins among real working cowboys and ranchhands. More than one rider might feel half-dressed without it!

What is "sunfishing"?
a midair twisting movement by the bull
the bull spinning in tight circles
spurring the bull for extra points
waving the free hand showily for style points
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

For a bull to twist in the air with two hooves or all four off the ground is called sunfishing. Bucking broncos can do this, too.


Which of these was a famous bull rider?
Laird Hamilton
Lane Frost
Rudolf Nureyev
Tony Hawk
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Lane Frost died at age 25 of injuries sustained in a ride. A movie was made about his life, with Luke Perry playing the lead.

In which state is the Professional Bull Riders association headquartered?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Fun fact: the PBR recognizes a "World Champion Bull" as well as a champion rider. As of 2017, a bull named Sweet Pro's Bruiser held this title.

Which of these is an excellent score for a ride?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The maximum possible score is 100. If the rider is thrown off, the score is 0.


The ______ brothers of Canada had a large influence on bull riding.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The Bascoms introduced Brahma bull riding to rodeo, at a time when steers were commonly used instead. Earl Bascom was also a well-known cowboy painter and sculptor.

Where is the Bull Riding Hall of Fame located?
Pueblo, Colorado
Monterey, California
Talladega, Alabama
Forth Worth, Texas
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The Hall of Fame only opened in 2016. Better known is the ProRodeo Hall of Fame, which is located in Colorado, but does not specifically honor bull riding.

In which of these countries is bull riding NOT popular?
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Bull riding is largely popular in the Western Hemisphere, of which India is not a part. Beyond that, the Hindu religion views cattle as sacred, making bull riding an obvious nonstarter.


Behind the United States, which nation claims the most PBR World Champions?
New Zealand
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Brazil's PBR successes go almost back to the organization's inception in 1992. More recently, Brazilian Silvano Alves won the championship in 2011, 2012 and 2014.

Which of these groups does not participate in bull riding?
boys under 18
gay men
indigenous peoples
all of these groups have a tradition of bull riding
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

There are Indian rodeos (and "First Nations" rodeos in Australia), gay rodeos, and juniors bull-riding circuits. Competitors from all these groups make their way into the professional circuit.

Former bull rider Ty Murray is also known for which of these?
being married to singer Jewel
competing on "Dancing with the Stars"
hosting a celebrity bull riding reality show
all of these
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Murray did all these things. His then-wife, Jewel, was supposed to compete on DWTS with him (or rather, "against"), but had to withdraw because of an injury. Murray and Jewel later divorced.


Bull riding has drawn fire from _________ groups.
civil rights
indigenous people's
women's rights
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Animal-rights activists object to the use of the flank strap and the cattle prod, used to "incentivize" the animal to greater aggression or speed. Rodeo supporters say that a bull in pain will turn listless and won't buck, and therefore the use of those tools is clearly not inhumane.

Which of these is required at a bull riding event?
a Humane Society overseer
a concessions stand
a veterinarian
a band to play the National Anthem
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

All bull riding events must have a veterinarian on hand to provide medical care for the bulls. This is in response to criticism that bulls are mistreated in rodeo.

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