How to Raise Bucking Bulls for Rodeos
For eight seconds a bucking bull leaps and twists in the arena, attempting to shed his rider before the whistle sounds. Bucking bulls can be worth thousands of dollars when sold and even more as sires for future generations of bulls. Today, a top caliber bull can compete for a share of nearly $2 million offered in aged events and huge bonuses for championships in both the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) and Professional Rodeo Cowboys' Association (PRCA). Raising bucking bulls requires a fair knowledge of bull bloodlines and hard work in training the bulls long before they reach a competition arena.
Decide whether to breed for your bulls or to purchase as calves. If you plan to breed, research the bloodlines of available bulls and have your cows bred to the bulls of your choice. If you plan to purchase the calves, attend livestock auctions or approach known breeders to buy desired animals.
Turn calves out on pasture or available land, making sure they receive proper nutrition and exercise. Adequate exercise will be a priority for bulls throughout their competitive careers, just as with any athlete.
Begin to chute train bulls around two years of age. According to Allan Jordan, a Pro Official with the PRCA and former livestock manager Rodeo Stock Contractors, you should bring young bulls into the chutes and begin to handle them so that they become accustomed to standing in chutes and being touched. Turn the bulls loose into arena and move them from arena to holding pens. Continue to work the bulls until they are comfortable with the process and not so wild that they could injure themselves. During this process, flank the bull for the first time. The flank is a piece of rope tied loosely around the flank area of the bull to encourage a higher buck.
Buck the bulls using mechanical dummies once they are comfortable with arena procedures. Dummies are strapped to the back of the bull and released using a remote. A dummy should be released as soon as the young bull makes a good move to reward him and help teach him how to buck.
Buck young bulls with a real rider at home if your arena conditions allow. Bulls should be about four years old before riders are used to ensure they are big enough to carry the weight.
Haul young bulls to competitions. There are many competitions for young bulls today using mechanical dummies. Using bulls in actual bull riding competitions with riders is useful as well in limited outings.
Judge the ability of the bull when it is about 4 or 5 years old. For pure economics, your herd should be culled to just the best bulls. To continue on to rodeos and bull riding events, the bull must prove his worth to the stock contractor or producer of the events. Develop relationships with these individuals to continue to have venues where you can buck your bulls once they grow past aged events.
For more information on bloodlines, consult with reputable sources such as the American Bucking Bull Incorporated (ABBI). You may wish to register your bull with ABBI. Registration can lend credibility to the bull which can be profitable once his bucking days are done and he is retired to the breeding shed.
Bulls are athletes and should be treated as such; proper nutrition, often including grain rations, is imperative along with sufficient exercise. Poorly nourished or unfit bulls will not buck well for long.
- Allan Jordan; Pro Official, Professional Rodeo Cowboys' Association (PRCA) and former Livestock Manager for Rodeo Stock Contractors; Red Bluff, CA
- For more information on bloodlines, consult with reputable sources such as the American Bucking Bull Incorporated (ABBI).
- You may wish to register your bull with ABBI. Registration can lend credibility to the bull which can be profitable once his bucking days are done and he is retired to the breeding shed.
- Bulls are athletes and should be treated as such; proper nutrition, often including grain rations, is imperative along with sufficient exercise. Poorly nourished or unfit bulls will not buck well for long.