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Saddle Bronc Riding is rodeo's classic event, tracing its roots back to the Old West where cowboys would break and train wild horses. Scoring for this event is based half on the bucking action of the bronc, and half on the control and spurring technique of the rider. Only allowed to grasp the "bronc rein" with one hand while sitting in a specially built saddle, the cowboy must stay on the horse for 8 seconds, and is disqualified if either foot comes out of the stirrups, or if he touches his equipment, himself, or the animal with his free hand.

The bronc rider starts out in the chute with his feet placed above the break of the horse's shoulders. If the cowboy's feet are not in the correct position when the horse hits the ground on the first jump out of the chute, the cowboy is disqualified for failing to "mark out" properly. The cowboy then pulls his spurs along the horse's neck or shoulders to the "cantle" (back of the saddle) while the bronc is in the air, then snapping his spurs back to the horse's shoulders just before its front feet hit the ground.

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