They call them the roughstock events: bull, bareback and saddle bronc riding.
Of the three, bareback riding is the hardest, said instructor Bob Logue, 55, on Sunday at the Fort Worth Stock Show. He has been riding horses bareback since he was 17 and teaching others how to do it since he was 19.
“There’s a lot more mechanics involved in it,” Logue said. “It’s a combination of strength, persistence, agility and pure determination.”
Every rodeo athlete needs those qualities, said saddle bronc instructor Jace Angus, 27, of Fallon, Nev., who has been riding saddle broncs for five years.
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Both were teaching Sunday at Rodeo Camp, which drew 45 students ages 8 to early 20s to Will Rogers Coliseum arena at 8 a.m. Four other professional cowboys also were instructors.
Sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, the one-day camp on the roughstock events emphasizes safety and a solid understanding of the fundamentals, said its coordinator, Julie Jutten. (Other rodeo events, such as barrel racing, steer wrestling and calf roping, make up the rest of a full rodeo and are known as timed events.)
“If you don’t know anything about riding roughstock, we don’t want you going out on your own to get on a bucking animal in a pasture somewhere and get hurt,” she said. “We’d rather you come to our program in a controlled environment for learning.”
Three different machines are designed to imitate the movements of the bucking bull, bareback horse and saddle bronc.
Baylie McCallum, 10, of Burleson signed up for the saddle bronc seminar hoping to learn how to use her legs better to stay on a horse.
“I ride barrels and poles a lot at the Johnson County Junior Sheriff’s Posse,” she said. Baylie was one of four girls at the camp.
Angus said he and other PRCA members are happy to conduct 25 camps a year at rodeos across the nation.
“We’re here to help the youth and support rodeo,” he said. “This is a good way for us to give back. Camps like this can spark interest in kids so they’ll want to stay with rodeo.”
The free camp is designed to safely introduce anyone 8 and older — there’s no upper age limit — to the techniques used by successful rodeo cowboys, Jutten said. This one was filled before the Stock Show got underway by people in the know who registered at www.prorodeo.com.
The camp can help hone the skills of novice rodeo athletes involved in high school and other programs.
After the campers worked in the arena half the morning, they toured the nearby Justin Sports Medicine Team room and heard medical experts talk about preventing and managing injuries, as well as the fitness and nutrition programs that benefit rodeo athletes, Jutten said.
They heard a motivational speech by World Champion Dustin Elliott, got some insight into the business side of being a PRCA contender and had lunch in the Stock Show’s Contestant Hospitality suite with some of the cowboys scheduled to compete in the 2 p.m. rodeo performance, Jutten said.
Baylie had mixed feelings about the saddle bronc riding experience.
“It was fun, but kind of scary,” she said. “I was afraid I would fall off and eat some dirt. Barrels and poles are fun, but so is this.”