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Rodeo 101



At your first rodeo?

Rodeo is an event that is exciting, more spontaneous, and most uniquely American sports event your will ever experience?It’s truly different from all other professional sports:

Western Heritage: Most rodeo events are ties directly to skills that cowboys used to manage cattle on the vast open ranges of the frontier, and many of those skills are still used today.

Animal athletes: All rodeo events involve the participation of animals – some highly trained, others operating on pure instinct.Owners take great care of their animals to ensure peak performance.

Pay to play: Contestant pay entry fees in order to participate.If they place high, they’ll probably show a profit for the day.If not, a clap of the hands from the spectators, will be all that they take home for their efforts.

Cooperative competitors: Cowboys frequently advise each other on how to ride particular horses or bulls, loan each other horses and equipment, and share travel expenses – even with their closet rivals!


Your Rodeo Dictionary

Added Money

An additional amount of money, which is provided by the rodeo committee or another sponsor, which is combined with entry fees as total prize money for each rodeo event.


The cumulative total of each ride at a rodeo divided by the number of rides during the rodeo. The cowboy with the highest average earns additional money at designated rodeos.


Clown that entertains the audience from his barrel in the arena – this person also assists the bullfighters during the bull riding event, using the barrel as a distraction & shield.


A rope, which is stretched across the front of the timed event area, that allows a calf or steer a head start. The contestant's horse cannot cross the barrier prior to the stock crossing the score line. A 10-second penalty is added to the time of a contestant who breaks the barrier.


When a contestant rides across or breaks the barrier before the animal has a head-start. Breaking the barrier adds a 10-second penalty to the contestant's time.


The person in the arena during the bull riding event with the job of protecting the cowboy and distracting the bull to either help the cowboy get a higher score or to help the cowboy safely dismount the bull and exit the arena following the ride.


A flat rope with a bell attached to it. The bull rider holds on to this rope, which is wrapped around the bull's body and just behind the front legs of the bull.


Phrase used in tie-down roping to describe rule that allows the cowboy to legally rope any portion of a calf's body be fore moving to the ground to tie the calf.


The term used to describe the winner of an event or the contestant earning the most money at the end of a rodeo – also used as the end-of-year title for a full rodeo season.


The term used by cowboys to indicate the need to increase an individual’s efforts and ability in order to overcome a particular obstacle or challenging situation.


Looping the rope around the saddle horn after the animal has been caught.


The amount of money paid by the contestant for the right to compete at a rodeo. Entry fees from each cowboy in an event are combined to form the prize money at a rodeo. Some entry fees are combined with added money to increase the prize money for a rodeo.


Rodeo official, normally on horseback, who signals for the timer to stop the clock.


A padded strap placed in front of a horse or bull’s hind legs to create a slight irritation to initiate bucking action. A flank strap would be similar to a belt worn by humans.


The cowboy that rides on the opposite side of the steer and keeps the steer running straight down the arena to assist the contestant during the steer wrestling event.


The cowboy that ropes the steer around the horns, head, or neck in team roping.


The cowboy that ropes the hind legs of the steer in team roping.


A rider that is still attached to a horse or bull after dismounting from the animal.


The term used by cowboys to indicate that everything is going as planned.


The term used in rodeo to indicate that a cowboy/cowgirl has gone of course, broken a rule, or exceeded the time limit for an event and therefore will not receive a time for that event.


When the rider is thrown over the front end of an animal.


The cowboy on horseback who assists the bareback and saddle bronc riders to safely dismount their horse following a qualified 8-second ride.


Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.


The money paid to the winner of each rodeo event. The total of entry fees combined with any added money.


A second run by a contestant - after a rodeo judge has ruled the contestant did not have a fair chance to score points the first time out.


The person responsible for collecting entry fees, recording official times/scores, paying prize money to contestants, and reports the results of the rodeo to the organization that sanctions the rodeo. Secretary usually also works as a timer.


The three events at a rodeo, which are judged by two official judges and consist of saddle bronc, bareback, and bull riding events.


The person or group that provides the livestock used at the rodeo.


The four events at a rodeo, which are timed and ranked according to the fastest time and consist of calf roping, team roping, steer wrestling, and barrel racing


Two people officially designated for recording a contestant's time for (Timed Events) calf roping, team roping, steer wrestling, and barrel racing. The timer blows the whistle or horn to signify eight seconds during the (Rough Stock) saddle bronc, bareback, and bull riding events.

Flying U Rodeo

Providing quality family entertainment for over 60 years!

Cotton Rosser is a name that has become synonymous with quality rodeo production. After a ranch accident in 1956 abruptly ended a promising career as a rodeo contestant, Cotton purchased the Flying U Rodeo Company. For the past several decades, Cotton and his family have worked to make the Flying U one of the most successful stock contracting firms in professional rodeo. Cotton has long been known for his outstanding rodeo productions, including the flamboyant opening ceremonies presented at the National Finals Rodeo, the Houston Livestock Show and the Grand National Rodeo in San Francisco just to name a few. Rodeo is show business as far as he is concerned. According to Cotton, "You have to run the show, you can't let the show run you. If you don't keep the audience entertained they will go somewhere else."

Keeping his competition in mind helps Cotton's creative juices flow. He has been inspired in the past to bring such events to rodeo as Bull Poker, Roman Chariot Races, Bull Teeter-Totter and the "Wild Ride" - which has blown fans at the Red Bluff Round-Up away the past couple of years as some of the biggest names in bronc riding donned outrageous costumes and hopped aboard some of Flying U's best bucking horses.

Cotton recognizes Gene Autry as the person who most influenced the showman in him. During the 30's, 40's and 50's stock contractors had a lot of class, silver saddles, matched horses and a flair for showmanship. Every cowboy rode in the grand entry during the heyday of rodeo in such places as Madison Square Garden in New York, Chicago, Houston, Fort Worth and Boston. Cotton has always tried to bring some of that pageantry and color back to rodeo.

In addition to their responsibilities with the Flying U, Cotton and his wife, Karin, own and operate Cotton's Cowboy Corral, a Marysville, CA western wear store. Both Cotton and Karin have pilot's licenses and Cotton has served on the PRCA Board of Directors.

The Rosser family lives a life that revolves around professional rodeo. The spirit and showmanship of the old west is alive and well in the form of Cotton Rosser. Life on the rodeo trail is not easy, but he manages to make a living doing what he loves...living the life of a cowboy!

The Flying U Rodeo is a big operation and it requires many family members and employees working together to produce the successful and entertaining rodeos


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