It's an exciting eight second joust between man and horse, nothing quite equals the classic pose of horse and rider pitched high in the air, six legs off the ground. For the contestant, bareback riding as an event is a grueling combination of strenuous athletic training, riding skill, balance, stamina, and pure nerve.
Things to look for:
The key to winning in bareback riding is timing the rider's motion with the bronc's bucking action. As the horse bucks high in the air, the rider - jerks his knees, running his spurs up the bronc's shoulders.
As the horse come back down, the cowboy straightens his legs so that his spurs are again over the bronc's shoulders as its front feet hit the ground. The rider must bring his feet back to touch the horse's neck each jump.
Both the bronc and the rider are judged on a scale of 1 to 25, the horse on how well he bucks and the cowboy on how well he resists. The rider is disqualified for bucking off or touching the bronc or himself with his free hand before the eight seconds are up.