Rodeo Glossary


Annual General Meeting. The NZRCA holds it's AGM each August.

The fenced area in which the action takes place.

Automatic Timers
The timers that a barrel racer crosses to start timing her run, she then crosses the same timer again to complete the run.

Also known as ‘aggregate', this term is used to define a rider's total score on how many heads of stock he has been on, or total time for how many runs he/she has had. For example: at the recent National Finals NZ bull riding champion Daryl Church scored 155 points on 2 head, and NZ steer wrestling champion Mike Gilbert's time was 11.99 for 2 runs.


Belt Buckle
Each seasons-end champion is awarded a gold belt buckle signifying his/her achievement. Throughout the season, some other clubs will also award belt buckles to event winners.

The part of the bridle that fits in the horse's mouth.

Board of Directors
The NZRCA board consists of: President, Administrative Director, North Island Club Director, South Island Club Director, Timed Event Director, Riding Event director.
Visit here for to see the current NZRCA Board of Directors.

A breed of bull known to be especially rank.

Fits over a horse's head with the purpose of holding the bit in place, used as a form of control. 

Buck Rein
A rope attached to the horse's halter, which a saddle bronc rider holds onto during his ride.

Bucked Off
When a roughstock rider is thrown from the animal before he has completed the required 8 seconds. He is therefore disqualified and does not receive a score.

Bull Dogging
The name given to Steer Wrestling by inventor Bill Pickett.
Many rodeo competitors still use this name today.

Bull Rope
What a bull rider holds onto, see Bull Riding event description.


Calf Ride
For Children under 40kgs, male & female, NZRCA cardholders & the public.
Cardholder's points count towards the year-end trophy buckle.

Central Entry System
The 0900 number that contestants ring to enter rodeos. Certain days and times are set for each rodeo and contestants must ring during these times. If contestants miss these dates they must then contact the rodeo's secretary direct, it's then up to the secretary if late entries are accepted. Visit the member info page during the season for Central Entry Dates.

Traditionally pronounced "shaps". Generally made of leather and are used to protect the legs of a cowboy or cowgirl. They come in various shapes, colours and patterns.

A chute is a steal or wooden box from where a roughstock event starts. They are lined up lengthwise at one end of the arena. The number of chutes depends on the size of the arena & ranges from 4 to 10. The rider climbs onto his horse or bull in the chute, when he is ready for his ride he calls for the gate, the gateman then opens the chute gate and the ride begins.

A strap the runs under the horses belly, holding the saddle in place.

Clover-Leaf Pattern
The pattern a barrel racer must run around 3 barrels in order to make a qualified run.
See Barrel Racing event description for more information.

A successful roughstock ride eg: 'that rider covered his bull'

Cyclone NZ. Current national sponsors of the NZRCA.


Wrapping the end of a rope around the horn of a saddle.

Contestants are randomly paired with the stock they will compete on. This is known as the draw. Draws are completed by Event Directors in conjunction with the rodeo secretary.


Entry Fee
The dollar amount a contestant pays to compete in an event. The contestant pays for each event they wish to compete in and the majority of the entry fee is included in the prize money.


A sheepskin covered strap that goes around the flank of the animal, with the purpose of encouraging the animal's natural buck. Also known as a ‘kicker'.

Free Hand
The hand a roughstock rider doesn't hold onto the animal with, he must not touch himself or the animal with this hand. See touchdown.


Better known as cinch.


Headgear that is used to control a horse. Fits over the back of the neck and around the nose of the horse, when the halter is pulled the horse turns towards the direction pulled.

Assists in steer wrestling by riding along side the steer, keeping it running straight.

A half hitch around two of the animal's legs, used at the end of a Rope & Tie run.

Hung Up
When a bull rider's hand fails to come free from the bull rope when he is bucked off.
Or when a saddle bronc rider's foot fails to come free of the stirrup.
Or when a bareback rider's hand stays in the rigging.

A Junior or Youth contestant is under 15 years of age as at May 1st.


The rope used in Rope & Tie and Team Roping events.

Late Entry
When a contestant misses central entry days and must contact the specific rodeo's secretary to enter. It's up to the secretary of each rodeo to decide if they will accept late entries.

Losing Stirrup
When a saddle bronc rider's foot comes out of the stirrup during a ride.
He is therefore disqualified. Often called 'blowing an iron'

On the first buck out of the chute a Bareback & Saddle Bronc rider must have both of his spurs touching the horse forward of the break of the shoulders, they must stay there until the horse's feet have hit the ground from the first buck.
If a rider fails to mark his horse out, on either or both sides, then he is disqualified.

National Finals Rodeo (NFR)
Held at the end of the season each year. The top 8 contestants qualify from each open event. The Champions are crowned at the end of the finals, where saddles and buckles are awarded at a presentation dinner. Visit our champions page to see the current NZ champions.

No Time
When a timed event competitor fails to complete his or her run, for whatever reason.


Once a contestant has won the required points in their respective event they become an Open Contestant. See Second Division for the required points for each event.

Pigging String
A short rope that a cowboy uses to tie the legs of the calf in a Rope & Tie run.

Pulling Leather
When a rider grabs onto the saddle when a horse bucks with his free hand.

The amount the rodeo club or event sponsor puts up as prize money for each event. Contestants entry fees are then added to make up total winnings.


The fastest horse over a quarter-mile. Trained & used by Timed Event contestants


Stock that are known to be tough to ride.

A suitcase type handhold used by Bareback riders. It is placed on top of the horse's withers then secured with a cinch. The rigging must be of NZRCA approved standards.

Judges can award a re-ride to a contestant when the animal fails to buck to their satisfaction, falls or fouls the rider.

Used to help increase grip on a bull rope, bareback rigging or saddle bronc saddle.

Roughstock Events
Bull Riding, Saddle Bronc & Bareback. 

Round wheel that is attached to the back of each spur, and is blunt for rodeo events.

Riding Hand
The hand a roughstock rider uses to hold on with.


A concave leather seat that fits on a horse's back and is held in place by at least one cinch.

Saddle Blanket
A blanket placed on the horse's back that acts as protection against the saddle.

The NZRCA season runs from March 1st to the last day in February.

Second Division
Must be 15 years of age or over, as at the 1st of May. Competes in Second Division or Rookie events until the required points to break open are won. They are:
Bareback: $1500
Rope & Tie $1500
Saddle Bronc $1500
Barrel Race $2000
Team Roping $1500
Steer Wrestling $1500
Bull Ride $2500

To withdraw from an event, or an entire rodeo.

A bucking bull or horse that bucks or turns in circles.

Attached to the heal of a cowboy boot, a metal instrument used for the purpose of getting a hold under the animal, or encouraging a horse to move faster or in a certain direction.
Spurs are blunt for rodeo events.

A footrest in the form of a ring that hangs by a leather strap on each side of the saddle.

Slacks are rodeos version of heats. Where a predetermined number of contestants compete in an event before the advertised start time. Used when there is a large number of entries in an event, common in timed events.


Timed Events
Rope & Tie, Steer Wrestling, Team Roping & Barrel Racing.

Touch Down
When a roughstock rider touches himself or the animal with his free arm during his ride.
He is then disqualified. Also known as slapping the animal.



Made of Kevlar, the same material used in bullet-proof vests, & usually covered by leather. Designed to protect the rider's upper body from the impact of getting stomped on or kicked.


Women's Events
Barrel Racing is a women only event. Females are also allowed to compete in Team Roping, and in Breakaway Roping when available as an event.


Youth Steer Ride
For Youth under 15 years of age, male & female, NZRCA cardholders & the public.
Riders must complete a 6 second ride to qualify.
Cardholder's points count towards the year-end trophy buckle.