The annual tradition continues in 2022!

This year’s Boys Ranch Rodeo +AdventureFest is Sept. 3.

Tickets are $10 each and include a free barbecue lunch.

Boys Ranch Rodeo:
The Challenge is the Challenge of Life

Boys Ranch Rodeo

Since 1945, Boys Ranch has produced an annual rodeo, inviting friends and guests to help celebrate the accomplishments of boys and girls and their horses.

In the 1940s, almost every child knew how to ride a horse, and they were at least familiar with the rodeo events. Today, children come to Boys Ranch from across the United States, and many have never seen a horse until they arrive. It’s not easy to interact with a 1,200-pound animal for the first time or to try a new sport.

Successful rodeo athletes share these characteristics with successful athletes in other disciplines as well as successful adults: perseverance, sportsmanship and courage.

Boys Ranch sees the annual rodeo as a way for children to experience these attributes they will need in life while they participate in a traditional western activity. The boys and girls spend hours each summer working with their horses while preparing for the rodeo.

History of the Rodeo

Since 1947, thousands of people have joined us for our Labor Day Weekend Rodeo, a tradition that is part family reunion and part traditional western competition. About 100 people attended that first rodeo. Those 100 people spread the word and attendance soared.

No matter the obstacles encountered, the rodeo takes place every year.

Boys Ranch Traditions

Boys Ranch alumni began attending the rodeo each year to reconnect with their old roommates and friends. Today, many alumni have organized celebratory activities on Labor Day weekend to coincide with the rodeo, including picnics and golf tournaments.

The rodeo includes some solemn moments, such as the leading of the riderless horse to commemorate the loss of staff and alumni during the previous year.

Each year, two riders on horseback run the U.S. and Texas flags in a ceremony known as the Flying of the Colors.

In recent years, a clown troupe has been added to the program. Children and staff members dress as clowns to perform skits and help during roughstock events.

Rodeo Events

Rodeos and gymkhanas include many different events. Boys Ranch has chosen these events as challenging but not life-threatening. Many events are divided into junior and senior age groups. Boys Ranch has also modified some events to fit the Boys Ranch rodeo format and provide for better educational experiences.

Stick Horse Racing

Similar to barrel racing, contestants on stick horses must make a cloverleaf pattern around barrels. Each child is under age 5 and receives a buckle.

Mutton Busting

In mutton busting, children wearing protective body protectors and helmets cling to woolly ewes that are released from a chute into the arena. Judges give the riders scores based on how long they stay on top of the sheep and how well they ride.

Junior Roping

In this event, riders on horseback follow a dummy steer, then rope the horns. They are timed, and the rider who successfully ropes both horns the fastest is the winner.

Junior and Senior Calf Riding

These are two more judged roughstock events. Children wearing body protectors and helmets hold onto a rope around the midsection of calves with one hand as they attempt to remain aboard the calf for eight seconds. The riders are scored for time and technique. The animal is judged for style and difficulty. The scores are added for the total rider score.

Chute Dogging

This timed event is limited to seniors and is a variation on steer wrestling seen in professional rodeos. Contestants on foot take hold of a steer by the horns inside a chute. When the chute gate is opened, the contestants must cross a line 10 feet away from the chute before pulling the steer to the ground using leverage and strength. Fastest time wins.

Steer Riding

This roughstock event is for older children and uses larger animals. It is scored like the other roughstock events.

Goat Tying

This timed event is limited to seniors. Riders ride quickly to a goat at the far end of the arena, then dismount from their horses, often at a run, before tying the goat’s legs.

Senior Roping

Senior riders follow a live steer into the arena and ropes both horns without breaking the barrier before the steer does. The clock is stopped when the riders stop their horses and the motion of the steer. The fastest time wins.

Junior and Senior Pole Bending

Riders on horseback run to the end of a line of six poles, then weave in and out of the line twice before running back to the entry gate. This is a timed event, and riders receive time penalties of 5 seconds for each pole knocked over during the ride.

Bronc Riding

This scored event is limited to cowboys ages 16 and above. Riders may choose “bareback” or “saddle bronc” style as they attempt to remain aboard bucking horses for 8 seconds. The event is scored like the other roughstock events, both for the quality of the bucking horse and the riding technique.

Junior and Senior Barrel Racing

In this timed event, riders on horseback complete a cloverleaf pattern around three barrels. They receive time penalties of 5 seconds for each barrel they knock over. The fastest time wins.
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