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The relationship of anthropometric and physical performance characteristics on competitive success in amateur, elite, and professional rodeo athletes

Physical characteristics of rough stock rodeo athletes


  • Dustin Oranchuk Auckland University of Technology
  • LeeAnne Gullet
  • Michael Kicia
  • Brandon Thome
  • Alex Game



bull-riding, concussion, cowboy, rough stock, strength


Reference anthropometric and physical performance qualities can improve understanding of sporting needs and streamline preparation and rehabilitation programs. However, these data and their relationships with competitive success are absent in rodeo athletes. We hypothesized that riding performance would be most correlated with hip adductor, neck, and grip strength, while jump, RSI, and change of direction abilities would best predict bull-fighting performance. Forty-three amateur (n=9), professional (n=23), or internationally ranked (n=11) male rodeo athletes (bareback=9, bull-riders=16, saddlebronc=7, bull-fighters=11) volunteered (26.8±5.6 years). Anthropometrics included body mass, height, and body-fat percentage. Performance measures included isometric hip adduction and abduction, neck flexion and extension, handgrip strength, squat and countermovement jump heights, eccentric utilization ratio, reactive strength index (RSI), change-of-direction, bike sprints, and several pneumatic power measures. Bull-fighters were taller and heavier than bull-riders (ES=0.84-0.87, p=0.008-0.017). Bull-riders were leaner than fighters (ES=0.74, p=0.012). Fighters had greater RSI than riders (ES=0.73-1.47, p<0.001-0.030). Competitive level of rodeo riders (n=32) was correlated with age, and rodeo experience (ρ=0.37-0.43, p=0.013-0.049), bent-leg abduction (ρ=0.43, p=0.014) and straight-leg hip adduction and abduction (ρ=0.49-0.56, p<0.001-0.005) and neck flexion force (ρ=0.43, p=0.016), and rotational power (ρ=0.50, p=0.004). The competitive level of the fighters was correlated with age (ρ=0.64, p=0.036) and time-trial performance (ρ=-0.76, p=0.006). This is the first study providing normative and correlational strength and power performance data in a rodeo population. These data highlight the need for more event-specific physical preparation. Riders should focus their physical preparation on hip and neck strength and rotational power. Bull-fighters should prioritize stiffness and anaerobic power.


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2022-04-29 — Updated on 2023-05-11