It’s one bumpy ride from start to finish.

An event developed in the rodeo arena, bareback riding produces some of the wildest action seen in sports today.

The bareback rider is judged on his spurring technique, the degree to which his toes remain turned away from the horse throughout the ride and his "exposure," or willingness to lean far back and take whatever may come during the ride. The horse’s bucking action also contributes to half of a rider’s score.

Bareback riders grasp a "rigging," a handhold made of leather and rawhide that is secured to the horse with a cinch. The rigging must meet size and design specifications set by the PRCA.

Bareback riding also requires the rider to “mark out” his horse – to place his feet above the horse’s shoulders until the animal’s front feet hit the ground on its first move out of the chute. Failure by the cowboy to keep his feet in place results in disqualification.

After the initial jump out of the chute, the cowboy pulls his spurs up the horse’s neck and shoulders until the spurs are nearly touching the rigging. The rider then straightens his legs, again placing his feet on the horse’s shoulders, in anticipation of the next jump.

Scoring

The score is derived from how hard the horse bucks and how well the cowboy spurs and maintains control during the ride.