Bull Alert! The Ultimate Guide to PBR

Always wanted to be a bull rider? Here’s everything you need to know about joining the PBR, getting your first ride on a bull, and how to turn pro.

Bull Riding Cowboy

Why would someone want to become a professional bull rider? Good question. Why would someone risk their life on Mt. Everest or running with bulls in Pamplona? It’s no secret: some people want to prove something; if not to others, perhaps themselves. For others, the thrill. Whatever your reason, there is no denying: it takes a certain type to enter the Professional Bull Riding, or PBR Circuit…and another type to stick with it. Are you that person?


Bull riding is a dangerous sport, yet some people think the rewards overcome the risk. It’s definitely not a sport to dabble in. So, you’d better be sure your dream of becoming a professional bull rider—and the big money that comes with it—is worth it for you?

Bull rider

How to Become a Professional Bull Rider

There are many ways to get started in the sport of Bull Riding. More than a sport, professional bull riding is a lifestyle. Most come from a western, rodeo lifestyle, and started young. From competing in rodeos on the high school and college-level circuits, once they become pros, they join the ranks of the PBR (Professional Bull Riders).

Find a local weekly practice pen and hang out and makes friend. Most people are friendly and helpful, and they’ll get you on some starter bulls. If there isn’t one close by, look into bull riding schools or attend a weeklong clinic. This will give you a taste of the life and the amount of guts it takes to do bull riding.

Once you’ve spent years competing, won national recognition, and want to turn pro, it’s time to apply for membership in PBR — Professional Bull Riders. Once you are a member, you’ll specialize in bull-riding only. There are different levels, and to advance through the ranks, however, you must compete and earn $2,500 annually. Eventually,  If you’re good enough, you’ll try to earn a spot in the Built Ford Tough Series.

It’s not easy, but if you are determined, you can do it!

Mechanical Bull

  • How PBR Events Are Scored

A qualified ride lasts eight seconds and there are four judges. The rider must have one hand in the bull rope and one hand in the air. As for points, each ride can earn up to 100 points for the rider and the bull, with a maximum of 50 points awarded to the rider and 50 points to the bull depending on how the ride is judged.

Regardless if the rider makes it for the full 8 seconds, the bulls will always get a score. The score is based on their spinning, kicks, if they stumble, while riders are judged on balance, effort, endurance, control, and even style.


  • The Equipment

Bull riders use gear like rugged gloves, leather chaps, padded vests, steel-toe boots, fancy cowboy hats and custom saddles. The gear of a bull rider must be tough, safe, and comfortable.


  • Top Tips For Riders to Stay on the Bull


Break out the weights

The first thing about bull riding is to make sure you are in good physical condition. By being in better physical condition, you reduce the risk of being injured substantially. It would be wise to hire a personal trainer if you are new to working out so that you exercise safely and efficiently. Remember, like riding horses, you’ll be using muscles that you didn’t even realize you had.


Sharping Your Skills

The next thing to do is to immerse yourself into all things bull riding. From videos and articles to begin to learn the basic technique of bull riding, the next step to take is to attend a bull riding clinic where you will learn the basics of bull riding. Everything from equipment, chute procedure, how to ride, and how to dismount are all the basics you need to know.

An important part to realize that bulls, like people, are individuals . Some are more hot-tempered while others are mild-mannered, and you need to the bull you learn on is for beginners.

Bull Rider

Where are the biggest events held?

Arizona, Nevada, Texas are home to the biggest rodeos—let’s explore all three:


1. World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo, Arizona

The popularity of rodeo in Arizona is at an ultimate high.  Each year, these extremely popular events, with championship bull-riding, specialty acts, rodeo parades and night shows, are organized in various cities, such as Bullhead City, Casa Grande, Cottonwood, Kingman, Lake Havasu, and Payson: the sounds, the lights, the competition, the experience of a lifetime! Everyone comes to these events for a different reason, but they all leave a western cowboy.


2. Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR)

The Wrangler NFR Rodeo is one of the most popular,  richest and most prestigious sports in the world. It’s an event like no other, an extravaganza for fans to enjoy the roping and riding activity of today’s cowboys. It is the culmination of the rodeo season where the top 15 contestants in bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, barrel racing and bull riding compete to take home top honors and their share of a multi-million dollar purse.


3. Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Texas

The popularity of rodeos in Texas continues to grow. This rodeo, established as the Houston Fat Stock Show in 1932, has grown into the world’s largest event of its kind. With more than 34,000 livestock and horse show entries recorded, this Rodeo hosts exhibitors of all ages from across the States, as well as several international competitors, trying for a chance to become a Houston champion. This even has all the rodeo events as well as a super shootout, calf scrambles, horse shows, auction sales and plenty of livestock. The city also organizes many teams that compete at a national level.

Still interested in getting up and into the world of bull riding? We’ve covered everything from how to get started and where the post popular areas for bull riding are, as well as a few tips to get you started! Remember, rodeos are not just a sport—they are a lifestyle. The question is—is it yours?


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RESTDAY – Stefan Dollinger


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