For many Canadians, the May long weekend marks the official start of summer – a glorious time when bikinis and boardshorts make it out of the closet after hibernating for a season. But for some, it’s time for boots, saddles and a dusty country trail at the 67th annual Cloverdale Rodeo and Country Fair. The Cloverdale Rodeo is one of the world’s top ten rodeos and it features a unique line up known as the “Cloverdale Invitational.” The Surrey event, which features the world’s top ranked cowboys and cowgirls, consists of four competitive categories: Bareback, Saddle Bronc, Bull Riding and Ladies Barrel Racing.
So what exactly does this all mean? Here’s your Cloverdale Rodeo 101: Understanding the categories.
Firstly, Bareback, Saddle Bronc and Bull Riding all require cowboys to stay on until the clock reaches eight seconds. Riders are required to maintain form and, according to organizers, these are the three quickest and toughest sports around. The Ladies Barrel Racing, on the other hand, is speed oriented. The competing women want the fastest time possible.
This type of riding only allows the use of a simple leather rigging resembling a suitcase handle. Throughout the eight seconds, the rider must only grip the handle and is disqualified if he touches the animal or the handle with his free hand. He is also disqualified if he falls off (apparently known as ‘bucked off’). The horse’s performance counts for half of the final score.
Described as “pure art and athleticism,” the cowboy has to maintain good rhythm while avoiding disqualification – which would be touching any part of the animal or equipment, or ‘bucking off’ prior to the end of the eight seconds. Riders are graded on their synchronized action.
Using nothing but a braided rope, riders must maintain good body position over the middle of the bull and keep good form without tilting or leaning back. Just as Saddle Bronc and Bareback, the rider is disqualified for touching the equipment or the animal with his free hand.
This race is all about the ladies and the speed. The ladies have to guide their horses in a cloverleaf pattern around three barrels, before running back to the score line. The race can start on either the left or right barrel, but the cowgirls are disqualified if they don’t follow the cloverleaf pattern. If a barrel is knocked over, a five second penalty is added.
Now you’re ready for all the riding action. While you’re there, don’t miss the Cloverdale Cowboy Cook Off BBQ Competition and Rib Fest, combining the southern-style BBQ competition with a Rib Fest! The second annual World Freestyle Round-up Skateboard Championships also return with international athletes such as American Darryl Grogan and Spain’s Killian Martin.
When: Friday, May 17 to Monday, May 20
Where: Cloverdale Fairgrounds, Surrey
Connect with Yasmin on Twitter @MissAdVANture.
Photos: Cloverdale Rodeo and Country Fair
Vancity Buzz is proud to be the official blog partner of the 2013 Cloverdale Rodeo.