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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 programs. We aimed to provide normative anthropometric and performance data of seldom studied rodeo athletes, while also characterizing between-event differences, and determining which qualities showed the largest correlations with rodeo competition level. Forty amateur (n=9), professional (n=21), or internationally ranked (n=10) male rodeo athletes (bareback=8, bull-riders=15, saddlebronc=6, bull-fighters=11) volunteered (26.6±5.7 years). Anthropometrics included body-mass, height, and body-fat percentage. Performance measures included isometric hip, neck, and 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=0.80-0.81, p=0.012-0.022). Bull-riders were leaner than bull-fighters (ES=0.72, p=0.011-0.022). Fighters had greater RSI than riders (ES=0.73-1.47, p=0.002-0.33). Competitive level of rodeo riders (n=29) was correlated with age, total rodeo and event experience (ρ=0.44-0.56, p=0.003-0.027), bent and straight-leg hip adduction and abduction (ρ=0.41-0.53, p=0.003-0.027) and neck flexion force (ρ=0.38, p=0.045), and lateral bound and rotational power (ρ=0.39-0.54, p=0.003-0.038). 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. Riders should focus their physical preparation on hip and neck strength, and rotational power. Bull-fighters might be wise to prioritize stiffness and anaerobic power. These data highlight the need for more event-specific physical preparation. Longitudinal investigations are warranted to determine the cause-and-effect relationships between physical characteristics, competition performance, and injury.


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