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FYI Magazine

Bull riders' gear protective and functional

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Many fans of sports like baseball, basketball and football enjoy wearing jerseys of their favorite players when attending a game, watching at home or gathering with fellow fans to watch somewhere in public. While it's nearly impossible to attend a professional sporting event today without seeing someone decked out in the same attire as their favorite player, such sightings are less likely to occur within the sport of rodeo.
 
Unlike baseball and basketball uniforms, the gear worn by many professional bull riders has more practical applications, namely to protect riders as much as possible. The following is a rundown of the gear professional bull riders wear during competition.
  • Headgear: While many professional bull riders are allowed to wear cowboy hats during competitions, the Professional Bull Riders, Inc., mandates that all new members who turned 18 years of age on or after October 15, 2012 wear helmets. Those born before that date do not have to wear helmets, but some choose to do so to protect their heads from potentially threatening blows. In addition, bull riders can wear face masks to shield their faces and jaws from injury.
  • Vest: A protective vest is worn by bull riders to absorb shock and dissipate any blows to the body. The vest also was designed to protect riders' torsos from punctures caused by direct contact with the bulls' hooves and horns during competition.
  • Glove: Bull riders only wear one glove, which is on the hand they use to grip the bull rope. This leather glove makes it easier to grip the rope and offers some measure of protection to riders' hands and fingers.
  • Chaps: Riders wear chaps on their legs, and professionals often wear chaps emblazoned with logos of sponsors. Chaps offer extra protection for a rider's legs against the hooves and horns of the bull.
  • Bull rope: The bull rope, which is equipped with a handle braided into the rope, is a rider's only anchor during a ride. The rope is flat and braided from nylon or grass and goes around the bull's girth area behind the animal's front legs.
  • Boots: Bull riders' boots include a special spur ridge on the heel, and this helps their spurs to remain in place. Some riders wear pull-on boots, while others prefer boots that lace up.
  • Spurs: Spurs help bull riders stay in position once the ride begins. These spurs come equipped with dull rowels, which are the revolving disks at the end of spurs. The rowels are dull so they do not injure or cut the skin of the bull.
More information about bull riding is available at www.pbr.com.