Speed, strength and timing are necessary for this fast-paced event. With a world record sitting at 2.4 seconds, it is the quickest event in rodeo.
Contestants wrestle a steer to the ground as quickly as possible, competing against the clock and each other. Sounds simple, so what’s the catch? The steer generally weighs more than twice as much as the cowboy and, at the time the two come together, they’re both often traveling at 30 miles per hour.
Steer wrestlers start on horseback in a box behind a breakaway rope barrier. The steer gets a head start and if the cowboy breaks the barrier, he gets a 10-second penalty, which is an eternity in this lightning fast event. To catch the sprinting steer, the cowboy uses a “hazer,” a mounted cowboy who gallops his horse alongside the steer to keep it from veering away from the steer wrestler. When the cowboy reaches the steer, he slides off his galloping horse, hooks his arms around the horns, plants his feet on the ground, and uses strength and leverage to wrestle it to the ground. The clock stop when the steer is on its side with all four feet pointing the same direction.
Steer wrestling, also known as bulldogging, was so named because of the bulldog breed of dogs used to head off runaway steers in the old west.