Barrel man: an entertainer who uses a barrel to distract a bull after a ride, and sometimes to protect the cowboy

Barrier: in timed events, a line at the front of the box that the contestant/horse cannot cross until the steer/calf has a head start, usually marked with a rope and a flag

Box: in a timed event, the area a horse and rider back into before they make a roping or steer wrestling run

Breaking the barrier: in the timed events, if the rider leaves the box too soon – failing to give the animal enough of a head start – a 10-second penalty is added

Bronc rein: used by saddle bronc rider, reins are held at a specific position based on the size and bucking habits of the horse

Bulldogger: a steer wrestler

Bullfighter: an athlete who protects the bull rider after he dismounts or is bucked off by distracting the bull and directing it to the exit gate

Calf roper: a tie-down roper

Chute: a pen that holds an animal safely in position

Covering: in rough stock events, staying on for the minimum time: “He covered all 3 broncs last weekend.”

Crossfire penalty: in team roping, if the header doesn’t change the direction of the steer before the heeler catches, the run is disqualified

Dally: after a team roper throws his loop he wraps the loose rope around his saddle horn

Draw: a random draw is conducted and each competitor is assigned a specific bucking horse, bull or calf, steer.

Drop: the way a bucking horse/bull lowers its front end while kicking out in back or the way a calf/steer lowers its head to avoid a catch

Flags: judges in use flags to signal the timers to stop the clocks

Flank man: someone who works in the bucking chutes, adjusting the flank strap around the animal before the ride

Flank strap: a strap placed in the area where a human’s belt would go, it encourages the animal to kick out behind itself rather than rear up

Go-round: Many rodeos have more than one round of competition; each is called a go-round

Hazer: in steer wrestling, an “assistant” cowboy on horseback tasked with ridding along the right side of the steer and keeping it from veering away from the bulldogger

Header: in team roping, the header throws the first rope over the animal’s head or horns

Heeler: in team roping, the heeler throws the second rope to catch both the steer’s hind legs

Hooey: a knot used to tie a calf’s legs together in tie-down roping

Hung up: when a bull rider or bareback rider cannot remove his hand from the rope or handle before he dismounts or is thrown off

Judges: trained judges ensure that all participants follow the rules: they determine times and scores for rides, record penalties, inspect the arena, chutes and livestock before each competition

Left (or right) delivery: many bucking animals prefer to stand in the chute facing a particular direction

Mark out: in bareback and saddle bronc, a cowboy’s feet must be above the horse’s shoulders when the horse’s front feet hit the ground

Nodding: a cowboy nods when he is ready for the gateman to open the gate and the ride to begin or when he is ready for the calf or steer to be released from the chute

Penalty: amount of time tacked onto the final time if a rule is broken

Pickup men: cowboys on horseback who help riders dismount, release a flank strap and escort rough stock to the exit gate

Piggin’ string: rope used to tie a calf’s legs together in tie-down roping

Pigtail: a piece of string attached to the barrier that breaks if a timed-event contestant and their horse exits the box too soon

Rank: praise and respect used to describe challenging rough stock

Reride: when the judges offer the cowboy a clean-slate chance to ride a different horse/bull because the score was affected by equipment failure or a horse/bull that didn’t buck to performance specifications.

Riggin’: a suitcase-style handhold customized to a rider’s grip and attached to a molded piece of leather that is cinched, with a pad, around the horse’s girth

Rough stock: bucking horses and bulls used in bareback riding, saddle bronc riding and bull riding, usually bred and raised for the job

Score: the points awarded for the performance

Slack: excess entries performed before or after the main performance

Spurs: the spurs used have dulled rowels that do not penetrate the animals’ skin, which is several times thicker than human skin

Standings: a professional cowboy’s success is measured in earnings and cowboys may keep track of where they rank in yearly earnings in several sets of standings

Stock contractors: companies that bring livestock to the rodeos – bucking horses, bulls, steers and calves

Timed events: steer wrestling, team roping, tie-down roping and steer roping – events in which the contestant(s) who make the fastest qualified runs win

Try: a noun used for both cowboys and livestock, denoting grit, determination, fitness, stamina and resilience: “Give that cowboy a hand – he had a lot of try”