Rodeo is Not an Individual Sport
Honoring the skills of the American cowboy, the sport of rodeo is just as much about livestock as it is cowboys and cowgirls — each are athletes in their own right.
To ensure the safety and well-being of all athletes competing, RodeoHouston® provides on-site medical care for both livestock and contestants. RodeoHouston® also follows strict protocol regarding the equipment contestants are allowed to use in the arena.
Audiences raise the most questions about the equipment used during rough stock events — flank straps and spurs. These “tools of the trade” are used during bareback riding, saddle bronc riding and bull riding to enhance the livestock’s bucking action.
The flank strap is a sheepskin-lined strip of leather placed on the flank of the horse or bull, which is located behind the animal’s rib cage. RodeoHouston® strictly regulates the use of the strap, which must have a quick-release buckle without any sharp objects.
Dull spurs also are utilized in rough stock and speed events. RodeoHouston® regulations mandate that spurs have blunt rowels (the star-shaped wheel located on the spur) that are approximately one-eighth of an inch thick and, therefore, cannot cut or harm the livestock. Competitors using non-regulation spurs will be disqualified.
As with any sport, there is always a chance of injury. To ensure all livestock are treated with appropriate care, a licensed veterinarian remains near the RodeoHouston® arena at all times during the 20 rodeo performances.
RodeoHouston® acknowledges the importance of livestock to the sport of rodeo and ensures all competitors, staff and volunteers adhere to best practices for keeping livestock healthy and ready to perform each night.