The rope has a bell attached to it which helps the rope come loose and fall off after the rider has dismounted.
One end of the bull rope, which is known as the tail, is put through the other end which has a loop, the rope is pulled firmly around the bull while the rider has his hand in the handhold. The rider then ‘takes his wrap', wrapping the tail around his hand to secure the grip he has on the rope.
Once ready the rider nods his head or ‘calls for the gate', the chute gate is then opened and the ride begins. No two bulls buck alike, so a rider must be ready for anything. He uses the balance of his body and his free arm and strength in his riding arm, to stay onboard the bull for the required full 8 seconds.
The rider will be disqualified if: he fails to make the 8 seconds, touches the animal with his free hand, or places his spurs or chaps under the tightened bull rope.
If a rider bucks off the opposite side to his riding hand then he may get hung up. This is when his hand fails to come loose from the bull rope. This is where the bull fighter comes in, he rushes in to free the riders hand by pulling on the tail of the rope. The bull fighter is also there to distract the bull away from the rider when he dismounts.
Calf riding is for contestants under 40 kilograms and lasts for 6 seconds.
Steer riding is for 15 years and under and is also a 6 second competition.