Can You Translate These Rodeo Slang Terms?


By: Heather Cahill

7 Min Quiz

Image: stevecoleimages / E+ / Getty Images

About This Quiz

There's nothing like saddling up your horse and riding into the sunset. But for rodeo contestants, they want a little more. To them, a good time is by riding bronc and chasing calves. They see it is more than a sport, the rodeo way is a lifestyle. It's not just about the events, either. It's about the people they meet, the animals they love and all about having a good time. The prizes and cheers from the crowd are just an extra bonus!

There's an event for everyone down at the rodeo. From saddle bronc riding to team roping, you can find yourself competing alone, or with a few buddies by your side. Contestants spend a long time preparing themselves and their animals to beat out the competition. They dedicate their lives to bettering themselves and learning from their mistakes so that they and their animals can take home the prize. If they don't make it one year, you can bet that they'll be back the next to earn that title!

So, think you've got the knowledge to understand the lingo from a rodeo? Let's see if you could ride and talk like the best of them by taking this quiz!

There are no dogs involved in this, but do you know what "bull dogging" means when it comes to the rodeo?

While this was once used as a more official term, it's now been demoted to a slang term. Steer wrestling is a difficult event that requires the cowboy/cowgirl to catch a steer and wrestle it to the ground. Though it sounds violent, no steers are hurt in the event.


If you do a "re-ride" in a rodeo, what are you doing?

Mishaps can happen in multiple ways during a rodeo. For example, a re-ride can be given to a rider after their animal falls. This allows them a second try at the event so that they can fairly try to finish the run.


Oh-no! You've tipped a barrel. What have you done?

Tipping a barrel is not considered to be good when participating in a barrel racing event. The goal is to pass by the barrel without touching it, or at the very least, without knocking it over. One good thing is that you can hold it up as you pass on your horse if you do happen to knock it.


While most people do this with phones, to a rodeo cowboy or cowgirl, it's much different. To be "hung up" means which of the following?

To be hung up is not a great situation for a rider to be in. If the rider is caught in the ropes or straps and cannot get out, others run in to help as it could lead to serious injury for the rider. It's best to try not to get hung up, but sometimes the situation can't be avoided.


Nodding can usually be confusing. Many might wonder what you're nodding for! In a rodeo, it means only one thing, but what is it?

As with any event or job, communication is key. In a rodeo, you don't want to start until you know you're prepared. A nod will let the correct people know that you're ready to go. Just make sure you don't nod without realizing it, because that could end pretty badly!


You don't want to come face to face with a "head hunter." Do you know what it is?

Bulls can have a temper and are no strangers to putting up a challenge. Head hunters are the type of bulls that truly seek out a challenge. If you move, they'll chase right after you in hopes of hitting you.


Rodeos are known for their many events, but which event is known as "chasing the cans?"

While you're not actually chasing them, there are "cans" involved in the event. When barrel racing, the cowboy/cowgirl guides their horse around the barrels in the correct pattern, trying to achieve the fastest time.


While this task may be scary for the average person, these individuals are pretty courageous. What is the job of the "Pick-up Men?"

Pick-up Men are the people who keep the rodeo moving smoothly after each run. While clearing the bulls out is just one of their many jobs, they also take on the task of helping the riders to get themselves prepared to exit the ring.


There are many things that could be described as a "box" at a rodeo, but do you know what the term is actually used for?

The horse and rider are together inside a box before starting an event. It keeps the horse in one place while the ring is prepared or while another horse and rider are finishing their run of the event.


This can turn into one dangerous situation. What does it mean to be "freight trained?"

Being freight trained in an event is something you don't want to happen. It can result in some pretty bad injuries in some extreme cases. Of course, this is a danger you have to be prepared for when entering the world of rodeo.


This is probably one of the main things that comes to your mind when you think of a rodeo. Do you know what "build a loop" is?

One thing you might have always dreamed of learning how to do is throwing a lasso. In a rodeo, this is referred to as throwing the loop. It's an important skill to have if you're trying to get into the events!


Outside the rodeo, this takes on a totally different meaning. What is a "hazer"?

This person usually accompanies the contestant into the ring and does the work of controlling the steer. With the hazer's help, the steer sticks between the hazer and the contestant when done properly.


Though it may sound like it, this term usually has nothing to do with pigs. What is the real use for a "piggin' string?"

Cowboy and cowgirls use piggin' string to tie a calf's legs together during certain events. Sometimes it's even used in other areas that aren't related to rodeo. One use is in a horse's saddle or reins.


An "arm jerker" sounds pretty violent, and it can be. But do you know what it means?

Some animals can buck pretty hard and can result in the rider being injured. If an animal is like this, it'll often be referred to as an arm jerker, which tells whoever you're talking to just what the animal is like and the strength that it has.


A "runaway" is an animal that you might prefer to ride in the rodeo. Which of the following is it?

When you think of a rodeo, animals bucking around the arena is often something that comes to mind. A runaway is usually not what you think of. While the animals do buck most of the time, a runaway would much rather just run.


While "bailing out" is something you might associate with jail, it means something when it comes to rodeo too. What is it?

When you mount an animal in the rodeo, you can't forget to dismount. Either you're thrown off, or you get off of the animal yourself. The term is only used when you've willingly attempted to get off of the animal.


Often, you'll encounter a "rookie" in the rodeo. What are they?

If you're new to the membership and new to the rodeo ring, then you're probably known as the rookie to most of the people around you. That's not a bad thing! It just means that you're really starting to learn the ropes—quite literally.


"Try" could mean many things but it only means one when it comes to rodeo. What is it?

Even if a cowboy or cowgirl doesn't win, at least they tried. That's why they're called "try." They might have given an event their all, did all that they could to win it, but just couldn't take the prize. A try is someone to be respected!


You've heard the term in gambling, but in rodeo, "high roller" means something completely different. What is it?

This is one ride that is probably scary for even the most fearless of cowboys/cowgirls. While bucking would be enough to scare most people, this type of horse will jump pretty high as well, so prepare for a wild ride.


A "community loop" is another word used for a lasso. What type of lasso is it?

A community loop is just a funny way of saying that it's large. So big, that the whole community of animals at the rodeo could fit inside! Well, maybe not that big, but it sure can fit a lot into it.


"Covering" means many different things in different areas. But in rodeo, what is it used for?

In many rodeo events, the goal is to stay mounted on the animal for as long as you can. Covering means that you've stayed on for at least 8 seconds, which is the minimum qualifying time that a rider can achieve.


This probably gets its name from the fact that it can feel like you're being tossed around. The "hurricane deck" is which part of a horse?

Though you might feel like you're supposed to get off the hurricane deck, in a rodeo it's probably wiser to stay on it. It's really only referred to as this when the horse is bucking, which can kick up quite the storm for you.


You're called "slick heeled" if you don't wear which of the following?

Spurs are generally used to help with communicating with your horse so that they know what you're asking them. Someone who shows up to a rodeo without them is known as being "slick heeled," but it's not necessarily a bad thing.


Which of the following could be considered a "gold card member?"

One way to become a Gold Card member is to be a member of the PRCA for more than 20 years. There are other requirements, however. If you're over 50, you only need to have been a member for 10 years.


There are many jobs to be had when a rodeo is on, but what is the job of a "flankman?"

A flankman is important to a rodeo, even though it might sound like they don't do very much. They make sure that the flank strap which encourages the animal to buck (but doesn't force it to) is adjusted perfectly so that the animal will perform well.


In simple terms, a "hooey" is which of the following?

A "hooey" is a slang term for a knot which is more specifically used when tying a calf's legs together. This is the type of knot you would see the most often in the event of calf roping in a rodeo.


While often you might be told that a term is not what it seems, you could definitely say that this one is! The term "boot the bull" means what?

Used in bull riding, spurring an animal is not a requirement but it is a great way of earning points. While a bull rider can't touch the bull, their spurs are allowed to. Though it might seem like it hurts, bulls have thick skin so there is nothing to worry about!


There are no ducks at a rodeo, but you might hear the term "ducks off." Do you know the meaning of it?

The phrase, "Do you see the way that bronc ducks off each time?" is something that you might hear at the rodeo. It can be hard to predict the behavior or path of animals that do this during an event.


A "rank" in the rodeo world is which of the following?

Riding usually comes second-nature to a cowboy or cowgirl. But even the best riders can come across an animal that even they have a tough time handling. In the rodeo world, they just simply refer to them as "rank."


Though it could be used in terms of the crowd, it's most commonly used in another way. If a cowboy/cowgirl "turns out" it means they've what?

There are many reasons for someone turning out of a rodeo. Most commonly, it's not in relation to an injury, as there are other terms for that. Reasons could be anything from just not being able to make it to any other factor that could affect a schedule.


Though it might not seem important, knowing the sides of a horse is crucial. Which side of the horse is known as "off side?"

When mounting a horse, it's known that you're supposed to mount from the left side. Though it can be done, mounting from the off side is not recommended. Using off side in the description of horse can be done, also.


A bronc rider is "pulling leather" when they touch what?

A rider does not want to pull leather until they've surpassed the 8 second minimum time of staying on the bronc to avoid disqualification. It would be hard to count for yourself while riding the bucking bronc!


This term is all about motion. What is a "spurring lick?"

This is something that the judges look for in certain events. To be successful in your spurring lick, you must follow the rhythm, pattern and motion of the animal that you're riding. The cleaner your motion is, the better your score will be.


The term "hog" is used at the rodeo to describe which of the following?

Typically, this word is used for a certain type of bull rather than just as a term for all of them. A bull that is difficult or hard to deal with is one that would be called a "hog," as it's not one that a cowboy or cowgirl would like to deal with.


Anyone around a bronc could tell you the meaning of "kack." Do you know which of the following it is?

There are two different types of bronc riding. The first is saddle bronc riding and the other is bareback. This term only applies to the saddle bronc riders, as they use the kack for the entirety of their run.


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