NORMAN — For 64 years, the Norman Roundup Club has been keeping the bull-riding fans of Norman satisfied.
That tradition continues this weekend with the annual ’89er Day Rodeo at the arena south of Robinson Street on 60th Avenue NE.
Team roping, barrel racing, bronc riding, tie down roping and bull riding are some of the open rodeo activities that will keep the dust rising Friday and Saturday night.
The rodeo will kick off each night at 8 p.m. with the Canadian Valley Rangerettes leading the grand entry, said Glenn Gray, chairman of the ’89er Day Rodeo.
“It’s quite a deal to see them ride,” Gray said.
He said the crowd last year reached about 1,300 and he is expecting that many for this year’s show as well.
In addition to the arena events, Norman’s Fowler Toyota, sponsor for the event, will offer a western-themed boutique with gift items. A full concession will also be available.
Gray said the rodeo will often run late into the night, or early into the next morning. One night last year, Gray said he was there until close to 2 a.m.
The open rodeo is hosted by the Norman Roundup Club, a family-focused organization that maintains the grounds on which the rodeo will be located. Membership into the club is $20 a year, with free admission to the open rodeo.
“This is something we’re trying to build and make this an event the people of Norman and the surrounding community can really enjoy,” said Gray.
Outside of the open rodeo, the Roundup Club is also overseeing the junior rodeo, which runs on particular Saturdays through the end of May. The junior rodeo is for youth 16 and under.
A six-week barrel racing series on the rodeo grounds also start Tuesday, in conjunction with the Better Barrel Races World Finals at the Oklahoma City Fairgrounds. The Norman barrel racing shows are free and open to the public. The exhibition begins at 5:30 p.m. with the jackpot following at 8 p.m.
For more information on the Norman Roundup Club and their events, visit www.nruc.net.
· Tie-down roping: After giving the calf a head start, the horse and rider begin their chase. As the cowboy throws his loop, the horse comes to a stop. With his horse still skidding to a stop, the cowboy dismounts, runs to the calf, throws it to the ground and ties any three legs together with a “pigging string.”
The horse must keep slack out of the rope, but not pull the rope so tight that the calf is dragged.
When the roper finishes tying, he throws his hands in the air to signal to the flag judge. Then, he gets back on his horse and rides toward the calf. The calf must remain tied for six seconds.
· Bareback bronc riding: The most physically demanding event in a professional rodeo may be bareback riding. Cowboys use one hand to grasp a leather “rigging” in order to stay on the horse. They are judged on their spurring technique.
To score higher points, riders must attempt to turn the toes of their boots away from the animal and lean way back.
The bucking action of the horse also constitutes half of the score.
No score at all will be given if the cowboy does not “mark out” the horse. Judges watch closely to make sure that as the horse comes out of the bucking chute, the cowboy's feet are above its shoulders. The feet must remain there until the horse's front feet hit the ground. A bareback rider must remain on the animal for eight seconds.
· Barrel racing: The goal of barrel racing is to do a cloverleaf pattern around three barrels in the fastest time.
The horses pivot on their haunches at a very high speed and execute each turn with only a few inches to spare. Normally, quarter horses are used in barrel racing.
If a barrel is knocked over, there is a five-second penalty.
· Saddle bronc riding: Unlike bareback riding, where the cowboy grabs a rigging that is fastened to the horse’s back, the saddle bronc rider grips a thick rein attached to the horse's halter.
The saddle bronc rider must then mark out his horse as in bareback riding.
As the horse bucks, the rider bends his knees to pull his heels just about as far back as possible. He then snaps his feet back to the horse's shoulder as the animal's front feet hit the ground.
Spurring action must be synchronized with the horse’s movements.
A saddle bronc rider is judged on the cowboy’s spurring action, his control of the horse and the degree to which he keeps his toes turned out. The horse’s bucking action contributes to the score, just as in bareback riding.
Source: Norman Roundup Club’s Web site