Bronc riding

Bronc riding is a centerpiece of any good rodeo.

    The Days of the Old West rodeo will return to the Hailey fairgrounds July 2, 3 and 4, which promises plenty of exciting and wild action.

    The rodeo begins each of the nights at 7:30 p.m., although on July 3 and July 4 a pre-rodeo show will be offered. On July 3, it will be Mutton Bustin, and on July 4 it will be the Sage Riders Mounted Shooting Club.

    The halftime entertainment on July 3 will be the 101 Roughstock Jr. Mini-Bulls, and after the rodeo on July 4 will be the hometown bull riding event.

    Nightly, the rodeo will offer Ranch Bronc Riding, Bareback Riding, Saddle Bronc Riding, Team Roping, Tie-Down Roping, Breakaway Roping, Barrel Racing, Steer Wrestling and Bull Riding.

    The Sawtooth Rangers organizes and hosts the annual event, which traces its history back to the late 1940s. The Sawtooth Rangers Riding Club began in 1947 and its members constructed a rodeo arena in Hailey in 1948. Its first rodeo was held in October 1948, according to the Sawtooth Rangers’ website.

    The event was so successful, the rangers moved it to July 3 and July 4 and it became an annual show.

    The rodeo grew to three days and features contestants from the Intermountain Professional Rodeo Association.

    Here’s a look at some of the top events in this year’s rodeo:

Bareback Riding “consistently produces some of the wildest action in the sport,” the Sawtooth Rangers state. “To stay aboard the horse, a bareback rider must grasp the rigging with only one hand. The rigging made of leather and cowhide resembles a suitcase handle on a strap.”

Saddle Bronc Riding has been called “the toughest rodeo event to master because of the technical skills necessary for success,” according to the Sawtooth Rangers. “Every move the bronc rider makes must be synchronized with the movement of the horse.”

Barrel Racing starts off when “the horse and contestant enter the arena at full speed,” the Sawtooth Rangers state. “The racer rides a cloverleaf pattern around three barrels positioned in the arena. The barrel racing title is usually decided by hundredths of a second.”

Bull Riding features simple rules, so that “a cowboy, using only a braided rope wrapped around the bulls torso, must hang on for eight seconds without touching the bull with his free hand,” according to the Sawtooth Rangers. “Size, agility and power create a danger that makes bull riding a crowd favorite everywhere.”

Steer Wrestling is known as “the quickest event in rodeo,” according to the Sawtooth Rangers. “The goal is to catch the steer by the horns and flip it onto its back in the fastest time possible. That sounds simple enough, right? Here’s the catch: the steer generally weighs more than twice as much as the cowboy and, at the time the two come together, they’re both often traveling about 30 miles per hour.”

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