Talk the talk: rodeo slang

“That horse was a blooper.”

“Are you sure? He seemed like kind of an arm jerker if you ask me.”

“Wait, what are you guys even talking about?”

Whether this year’s Sheridan WYO Rodeo is your first time experiencing the sport or you’re a decades-long observer, keeping up with some of the terminology associated with rodeo can be confusing. Certain cowboys have specific nicknames for animals, events and scores. Some are official Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association terms, while others were picked up along the long road of the rodeo circuit.

The terminology is seemingly endless — sometimes staying in the chutes only — but here are a few common words and phrases to get you started as announcer Will Rasmusson belts information from the speakers.

If you already know most of these terms, well, you can just tell your friends, “This ain’t my first rodeo.”

Arm jerker: A ferocious bronc or bull that bucks in a way that puts tremendous strain on the riders grip

Average: Often confusing for first-timers, it’s actually the total score or time for a cowboy’s rides combined

Biting the dust: Getting thrown from a horse or bull

Blooper: The opposite of an arm-jerker; an animal that hardly bucks, also known as a dink

Bulldogger: A cowboy who competes in steer wrestling

Cloverleaf: The pattern a barrel racer makes around the barrels, different from the event’s original figure-eight pattern

Go-round: One round of competition for a rider; the short-go signifies the championship round for the rider

Hung up: When a rider is unable to remove his hand before being bucked or dismounting from a bronc or bull

Marking out: Important aspect of saddle bronc and bareback riding in which the rider’s feet are positioned over the shoulders of the horse during its first jump out of the chute — a common infraction resulting in no score

Piggin’ string: The piece of rope used to tie a calf’s feet together

Rank: Roughstock that is particularly difficult or challenging

Re-ride: When a faulty animal doesn’t allow a rider a fair opportunity to score, judges can provide that cowboy another ride in the same go-round

Tenderfoot: A newcomer or novice — a person who doesn’t really understand the meaning of any of the above terms

For more rodeo insider stories, pick up a complimentary copy of the official Sheridan WYO Rodeo magazine by The Sheridan Press, available at 144 E. Grinnell Plaza.

By |Jul. 2, 2018|

About the Author:

Mike moved to Sheridan from Indianapolis, Indiana. Family and his passion for sports brought Mike to the Cowboy State, where he began working as the sports editor for the Sheridan Press in June of 2014.


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