What Makes a Good Bucking Bull?
Over the next several weeks, CBR stock contractors will be preparing their top bulls for the Palace Station Million Dollar Bull Team Finals in Cheyenne, Wyo. on July 25th. So what makes these bulls the best of the best? What is it they do to command a higher score from the judges?
There are a lot of factors that go into a bull score. At CBR bull team events, four judges give each bull a score from 1 to 25, with 25 being a perfect score. The competition is pretty stiff and, while judging is always somewhat subjective, there are certain qualities every good bull has that judges look for.
Letís start by breaking down the elements of the ride - the physical things a bull does in a given trip that help a judge determine its score.
Leaving the Chute
Itís been said that first impressions are everything and this applies to bull riding as well. The first step out of the chute can vary from a near walk to a four-foot explosion. Naturally, the bull that bails in the air right out of the chute will be harder to ride and get a higher bull score because of that.
A bull that jumps straight down the pen isnít as desirable as one that turns back. How far a bull goes before he turns back can either help or hurt his bull score. A bull that starts to spin right outside the chute gate will score higher than one that takes three or four jumps before he turns back.
How high a bull kicks has a tremendous impact on his bull score. A bull that doesnít kick very high is often described as being ďflatĒ and wonít score as high as a bull that kicks over the top of the chute gates.
Speed is closely related to spin and can really make a difference in a bullís level of difficulty. A bull that turns back really fast is harder to ride than one that spins slowly. If just watching a particular bull turn back makes you dizzy, you can bet the judges will reward him for his speed.
While bulls are judged based on the elements of the ride, there are certain unseen factors that make a good bucking bull. Ask any stock contractor what makes his top bulls so good and youíll likely get answers such as genetics, heart or attitude.
These unseen factors could fill an article all their own. For now itís just important to know while youíre watching the physical aspects of a ride, that bullís genetics and unique personality are also at play.
Want to put your new bull judging knowledge to the test? Tune into GAC this Tuesday, May 24th and see if you can pick the top bulls from the Fort Worth CINCH CBR Tour.