Bull riding is dangerous and predictably exciting, demanding intense physical prowess, supreme mental toughness and courage. Like bareback and saddle bronc riders, the bull rider may use only one hand to stay aboard during the eight second ride. If he touches the bull or himself with his free hand, he receives no score. But unlike the other roughstock contestants, bull riders are not required to mark out their animals.
While spurring a bull can add to the cowboys score, riders are commonly judged solely on their ability to stay aboard the twisting, bucking mass of muscle. The objective is to stay on the bull for a full 8 seconds. A good score in the bull riding is in the 90's. There has been one perfect score of 100 in the PRCA.
Scoring is the same as in the other roughstock events. Two judges give 1-25 points for the cowboy's performance and 1-25 points for the animals performance. 100 points being the maximum, and is considered a perfect ride.
To ride, bull riders use a bullrope and rosin. The bullrope is a thickly braided rope with a cowbell attached. The cowbell acts as a weight, allowing the rope to safely fall off the bull when the ride is over. The rosin is a sticky substance that increases the grip on their ropes. Bull riders wrap their bullrope around the bull and use the remainder to wrap around their hand tightly, trying to secure themselves to the bull.