The Culture of The American West

Rodeo Terminology

  • Flank strap: A soft 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, which provides a safer, showier ride
  • Hazer: in steer wrestling, the cowboy who rides on the other side of the steer from the contestant to make sure the steer runs straight
  • Header/heeler: the two partners in team roping – the header throws the first rope over the animal’s head or horns, and the heeler throws the second rope to catch the steer’s hind legs
  • Hooey: the knot that a cowboy uses to finish tying the calf’s legs together in tie-down roping
  • Left (or right) delivery: many bucking animals prefer to stand in the chute facing a particular direction, so they can leave the chute in the direction they prefer
  • Mark out: in bareback and saddle bronc riding, a cowboy’s feet must be above the point of the horse’s shoulders when the horse makes its first move out of the chute – if so, he “marked the horse out,” but if not, he “missed him out” and the ride is disqualified
  • Pickup men: two mounted cowboys who help riders dismount, release the bucking horse’s soft flank strap, and escort bucking horses and bulls to the exit gate after a ride
  • Piggin’ string: in tie-down roping, the small rope used to tie a calf’s legs together
  • Rank: an adjective of praise and respect used to describe especially challenging roughstock
  • Reride: if a horse or bull doesn’t buck to performance specifications, the judges may offer the cowboy a clean-slate chance on a different horse or bull
  • Roughstock: the bucking horses and bulls used in bareback riding, saddle bronc riding and bull riding, usually bred and raised for the job
  • 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.”