Of the three bucking-stock riding events, many say bareback riding is the hardest on a competitor's body.
One cowboy who is sailing through is two-time Fort Worth Stock Show Rodeo champion Evan Jayne.
During the matinee performance on Thursday, Jayne, who lives in Forney, used a new bareback riding rigging that helped him subdue a bronc named San Jose.
"It made a hard horse a whole lot easier," said Jayne, who turned in a score of 80 and tied for fourth in the first round at the Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum.
Jayne, who finished first at the Stock Show Rodeo in 2007 and 2008, said the rigging does a good job absorbing shock.
"It was a $600 investment to purchase this rigging, but that money will come back to me if I'm riding with the right piece of equipment," Jayne said.
Jayne's rigging was constructed by Barstow Pro Rodeo Equipment, which is based in Corsicana.
In bareback riding, a cowboy hangs onto a leather handle, which resembles holding onto a suitcase. The leather rawhide handle is mounted onto a curved leather body, which sits across the top of the horse's back. The rigging is tightened around the bronc, similar to the way a saddle is pulled tight around a riding horse.
Jayne, who is attempting to qualify for his first National Finals Rodeo, said his previous rigging was constructed in a way that made it more difficult to make a prize-winning ride.
"I was feeling like I couldn't stay center on a horse while rhythmically spurring the bronc during the eight-second ride," Jayne said.
But after cracking out his new rigging and turning in a score of 80 on Thursday, Jayne exudes confidence.
"It's the difference between not catching a check and catching a check," said Jayne, who earned $833.
Jayne, a native of France, hopes that he can fare well at the Stock Show as he faces his next two broncs today. He will face his second-round bronc this afternoon and his third-round horse tonight.
If he continues to score in the 80s, fans can count on watching him use his new rigging during Saturday's final round.
One competitor who is expected to return for Saturday's finale is former National Finals Rodeo qualifier Kay Blandford of Sutherland Springs in barrel racing. After turning in a blistering time of 16.44 seconds on Friday night, Blandford is ranked second in the second round.
She's also ranked second in the average with a two-run aggregate time of 32.72 seconds and on pace to advance to the Stock Show finals. The top 12 barrel racers, based on their two-run aggregate times, will advance to the finals.
It's a familiar place for Blandford, who won the Stock Show's barrel racing title in 2011. She also has qualified for the Las Vegas-based Wrangler National Finals Rodeo 12 times.