“The term rodeo comes from the Spanish verb rodear “to circle” or the Latin verb rotare “to turn”. Today, rodeo, which is generally associated with the “western” lifestyle, attracts spectators from coast to coast. The first official Canadian rodeo, “The Last and Best Great West Frontier Days Celebration,” was held on September 2, 1912 in Calgary. Rodeo in North America has its origins in a variety of historical traditions and types of entertainment. In the 16th century, vaqueros, or Mexican cowboys, used the reata (rope), donned chaperajos (leggings) and, on their spirited mounts of North African origin, herded sturdy Spanish cattle.”


The rodeo?
What is A rodeo?

It is with the aim of entertaining themselves on the ranch that the cowboys invented these games that we now call rodeo. Indeed, rodeo events were used more to care for the cattle, to brand them or to sell them. Now, as an extreme sport, it refers to the show given by cowboys where they show different events: the riding of the wild horse with and without saddle, the riding of the bull, the terracing of the steer and the lassoing to name a few. To give you some background, the first Canadian rodeo was held in Raymond, Alberta in 1903. A little over 100 years later, this sport is in full bloom throughout Quebec.

Despite the many events that exist, riding wild animals with or without a saddle is definitely the most popular event at the rodeos we know today. Here are some important notions and basic rules that we advise you to pay attention to when watching the competitors who will be with us at the Ayers Cliff Rodeo.

First of all, it is important to mention that the pairing of the competitor and the animal is randomly selected only one hour before the beginning of the competition. When riding the bull or horse, the rider must mount the animal and hold onto a rope with his weaker hand for eight seconds without touching the animal with his other hand, which is used to keep his balance on the animal. Judges then assign a score to the animal and competitor team. A score out of 100 points is then assigned as follows:

  • 50 points for the competitor, who is judged on agility, style, and ease of getting on the animal;
  • 50 points for the animal, which is judged on strength, kicking and direction changes.

Our disciplines

During our Rodeo in Ayer’s Cliff, we will have different disciplines presented.
Here is the description of the disciplines that await you:

In fact, I think a name like that explains the event very well; it is, not surprisingly, riding a wild horse with a saddle. This is the most famous event; the cowboy is hooked up to a special saddle in this event. On the first jump out of the chute, the rider must “mark the animal” by keeping his heels in the hollow of the horse’s neck. He must not, under any circumstances, touch the equipment, the animal, or himself with his free hand for 8 seconds.

Just like the previous event, it is about riding a wild horse, but this time, without a saddle. The cowboy is therefore alone on the animal, without a saddle. This is often the first event of the show. The cowboy must “mark the animal”: to do this, he must position his heels over the horse’s shoulders, and this, from his first jump out of the chute. The cowboy also cannot touch anything with his free hand and must stay on the animal for 8 seconds. The cowboy has only a strap with a handle to hold on to and must trust his balance.

This is without a doubt the most dangerous event in a show, the most popular, and above all, the most impressive. The cowboy must hold on to a braided rope (bull rope), which connects him to the animal, for 8 seconds. When his time is up, he must throw himself to finish the event. He will then come face to face with the animal, and it is at this point that the clowns come into play to divert the animal’s attention.

The barrel race is a speed event where the rider and her horse must complete a course of three barrels in a cloverleaf pattern. The animal’s speed and agility are required to win.

In this spectacular event, the steer leaves the chute first, the earthwork horse must bring the cowboy as close as possible to the steer. The cowboy must then tilt his body to grab the steer by the horns. He must then turn the steer on its side so that its head and all four legs are pointing in the same direction.

This is a test of speed and agility. A calf must run from one end of the rodeo arena to the other, and as it leaves the chute first, the cowboy must put the lasso around the calf’s neck or head. He then dismounts his mount, and must tie the calf up. When he is finished, he must raise his arms to indicate that he is finished. The calf, which must have 3 legs attached, must remain attached for 5 seconds or the contestant will be disqualified. The cowboy who fails to tie the animal is also disqualified. The time is stopped when the cowboy is back on his horse.

In the course of this discipline, 4 markers are arranged in a rectangle at the four corners of the arena. The first rider starts the race at a gallop, between the second and third marker, the rider on the horse must dismount the animal, while the rider on the ground must embark before having crossed the third marker. He must then cross the finish line with both legs on each side of the horse. The best time wins the competition, and it is important to mention that no milestone must fall, otherwise competitors are disqualified from the race.

Just like the rider exchange, 4 terminals are arranged in a rectangle at the four ends of the arena. There is still one horse, and two riders. The first cowboy enters the arena and starts the race at a gallop. Between the second and third marker, the rider on the ground must get on the back of the cowboy before he crosses the third marker. Both cowboys must have their legs on either side of the animal when they cross the finish line. Again, the fastest time wins the competition, and no bollards must fall during the competition.

The team ROPING is a very popular event with festival goers. The team is made up of two riders, one of whom must grab the steer by the horns and wrap the other end of the lasso around the saddle to stop the animal’s momentum, while the other team member binds the hind legs.

This class is similar to the men’S breakaway class, however, the lady does not have to dismount her horse as compared to the men. She does, however, have to rope the calf which is attached to the pommel of her saddle. When the calf is caught, she must release the handkerchief to show the judge that she has completed the event.

It is a very simple event to explain, but at the same time very spectacular to watch: three participants sit near the rodeo chute, while a wild bull is allowed to enter the arena. The winner is the one who stays seated the longest.