How to appreciate steer wrestling

Rodeo event combines speed with strength and technique

According to the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, steer wrestling is the quickest event in professional rodeo. Steer wrestlers combine physical strength with technique to wrestle steer, which typically weigh more than twice as much as the wrestler, to the ground as quickly as possible.

Steer wrestlers are often referred to as "bulldoggers" and have a helper known as a hazer. They begin each competition on horseback in a box. When the event begins, the steer is released and gets a head start, the length of which is determined by the size of the arena.

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When the animal leaves the chute, it trips a barrier line, which signals the cowboy and the hazer to race to each side of the steer. (If the barrier is broken, the team gets 10 seconds added to their time.)

The bulldogger then uses his physical strength and the leverage of his position to corral the steer, aided by the hazer whose job is to prevent the steer from veering away from the bulldogger and keep it running straight. Once the bulldogger reaches the steer, he slides off of his galloping horse and hooks his right arm around the steer's right horn while grabbing the left horn with his left hand.

Once the bulldogger has wrestled the steer to the ground, he must then make sure the steer is on its side and all four feet are pointing in the same direction. Only then is the event considered over.

© Virden Empire-Advance

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