Good ride, cowboy, good ride!

It’s the ropes and the reins, and the joy and the pain, and they call the thing a rodeo.

Sorry for the blurriness!

This weekend we traveled up to Gordonsville to visit my best friend and go to the rodeo at Oakland Heights Farm. The rodeo is put on by BLM Bull & Rodeo Co. They put on some of Virginia’s finest professional bull riding events. And since my bff rides horses at this farm, we get to sit in the VIP section! That means we’re close enough to get the dirt kicked on us by the bulls while they’re in the arena. Oakland Heights plays host to the rodeo the second Saturday of every month from May to September.


Bulls waiting in the pen to get the show on the road

The evening started off with the first round of bull riding. They had 30 professionals and 10 amateurs, so we got to see a lot of action. They also had two junior bull riders who rode steers. I think they were 10 and 12 years old.

One of the professional riders

The rules are simple. Bull riders ride with one hand and cannot touch the bull or themselves with their free hand (the one they hold up in the air). Two judges give the bull and the cowboy each a score from 1-25, so 100 points would be the perfect ride. The main goal is to stay on for 8 seconds, and you only receive a score if you do so.

Pictured above is one of the judges from Saturday night. I think he looks EXACTLY like Robin Williams when he played Teddy Roosevelt in Night at the Museum:


Do you think so??? Either way, I think he does! I also took to referring to him at “Teddy” for the duration of the evening. Once they finished the first round of bull riding, they took a break. This is when the mutton busting takes place! Mutton busting is something for kids to do at rodeos, but instead of riding raging bulls they ride sheep. Most of them just lay on the sheep’s back and hang on for dear life, but a few will use a rope and ride the way the bull riders do (with one hand).

The picture is a total blur because the sheep just take off like a shot when the gate opens. The object is to stay on the longest and the top two kids won gift certificates. Here is a better picture (not from Saturday’s rodeo):


During the break they also had barrel racing. Barrel racing is judged solely by the clock, so fastest time wins. Riders complete a clover leaf pattern around three barrels (55-gal drums) set out in a triangle pattern in the arena. At the professional level it is an event for women.

Again, sorry for the blurriness.

Riders receive a 5 second penalty for each barrel they knock over. We also found out that riders are required to make it into the arena with their hat on. If it falls off during their run, that’s okay, but one of the girl’s hats fell off before she came in. The announcer gave her a warning at the end of the run and told her it was her only warning of the season. After the barrel racing, they moved into the short round for bull riding. The short round is where the top 6 riders get matched up against the top 6 bulls. It’s the championship round, and everyone wants to see who will win.

Cowboys watching the final round

Two riders rode for the full 8 seconds in the last round. I think one scored 92 and the other scored 80. In the first round the former scored 86 and the latter scored 80. They took first and second and earned their money. Barry and I had a great time together. He was especially happy because VIP tent = free food!

We try and go to the rodeo at least once each summer. We always bring our camper, which allows us to bring the dogs along (they don’t come to the rodeo, though). This was Scout’s first camping trip, so I wasn’t sure how she would do. She did really well and overall it wasn’t too bad with three dogs in the camper! Mainly because they all did this the entire time:


Have you ever been to the rodeo?

Doesn’t that judge look like Robin Williams from Night at the Museum??

If you have pets, do you take them with you when you travel?

14 thoughts on “Good ride, cowboy, good ride!”

  1. I’ve never been to a rodeo! I think what they do is pretty impressive – I would never be brave enough!I think that judge TOTALLY looks like Robin Williams!One of my dogs does really well in the car, as long as he’s in the passenger seat he will just sleep!

  2. Nope, never been to a rodeo – but sometimes the gym has a rodeo playing on one of the treadmill TVs (and now I know why the riders always have one hand in the air)! Honestly, the whole thing just looks…really painful. My neck hurts just watching it!My question is: What contributes to the bull’s score? What are the characteristics of a “high scoring” bull?Now, Demolition Derbies? LOVE those! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Glad I could solve the mystery of why they have one hand in the air ๐Ÿ™‚ The bull’s score is based on the degree of difficulty. The judges look for a drop in the front end, the bull kicking in the back, spinning, and changing directions. All of that makes it harder for the rider to stay on, so it makes for a better scoring bull. I also forgot to mention that the bulls receive a score whether or not the rider stays on for 8 seconds. The cowboys also use their spurs to try and get a bull to spin or change directions to achieve a higher score.

  3. At first, I read this as your best friend was IN the rodeo and that was how you got VIP seats. I was all excited for a minute to get a firsthand account of knowing a rodeo rider. I have never been even with all the years I lived in Colorado. Sad, really.

  4. This reminds me of the Rich Valley fair from when I was little! Yes, I agree that the judge looks just like your picture of Robin Williams! I’m glad you fur babies did well on their trip.

  5. Speaking of Robin Williams, did anyone see the Mrs. Doubtfire floral dress compared to the Kim Kardashian floral dress?Can’t wait to go to another rodeo. Maybe this time I will get there in time to see some of it.LUD.

    1. I just saw it on R’s facebook page! Too funny!! Hope you can come next time we go! Right now it’s not looking like we’ll be able to make another one this summer.

  6. I LOVEEEE rodeos!! Every year when I lived in Colorado we went to the Greeley Stampede and also to the Cheyenne Frontier Days – the largest rodeo in the US! I love watching bull riding, but the little kids on the sheep is probably the cutest thing I have ever watched in my life. I get really upset when I can’t travel with my dogs. I was originally planning on going camping and backpacking over Memorial Day, but Cooper is still too small to hike, so we are just going to hang out at home, instead.

    1. I would love to go to the rodeo in Cheyenne (or any rodeo out west for that matter)!! Sorry to hear your hiking plans had to be put on hold. I’m sure by Labor Day he’ll be ready!

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