Have you ever wondered why rodeo horses buck? Do they hate people? Is the flank strap in some unforeseen area? Are they wild and straight off the boat? Well, no. The truth is, rodeo stock horses and bulls have been bred for decades to do just that – BUCK! Not a quality that we look for in our riding horses by any means, but these sturdy, high buckers are worth a pretty penny. A good bucking horse can run around twenty five thousand dollars and the bulls reach prices in the hundreds of thousands.
The Cervi Rodeo Company will haul a set of stock in from one of their grass covered, expansive Colorado locations, where the horses and bulls spend the majority of their time roaming the hills, getting fat and sleeping under the stars. Not too bad… Bucking horses in particular spend the first seven years of their life preparing and practicing to buck off their cowboy athlete counterparts. While in the rodeo arena with a cowboy hanging on for dear life, these horses may not look like any horse that you would want to be anywhere near, but one important quality that they are bred for along with a love to buck and athleticism, is that they must be good to handle and work with for their own safety as well as that of the handlers.
These high dollar animals receive care much like that of our best show horses and like us, the stock contractors have a personal attachment to them. Many stock contractors like Cervi Rodeo Company are a family oriented business. The care of the animals is not only important to their livelihood, but it is a part of who they are to take care of the animals and the land that they live on. Just go to the Cervi website and look though their horses and bulls – It is like going to any other horse website bragging on their animals. One of my favorite parts is their names: Street Smart, Party Shop, Grit Your Teeth, Pinball Wizard, Hostage, Amy’s Pet, Texas Cocktail and Little Bo Peep.
The Cervi Rodeo Company brings the horses and bulls in daily for the Evergreen Rodeo and stays with them to handle and work with them during the rodeo. Not only do they personally ensure that their animals are well cared for, but about forty five years ago, the Evergreen Rodeo went through an approval process to become a PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association) sanctioned rodeo.
To be a PRCA rodeo, you must abide by the rules and regulations set up by the organization – Sixty of those rules alone deal with the treatment and handling of the animals. The rules cover details like the equipment used by the cowboys, stock contractors and handlers – such as spurs, flank straps, and rigging; the specific size of the animals for certain events and the protective gear used on the horns of the cattle in roping events.
One example is the flank strap used in the bucking events. Flank straps only touch the belly and flanks of the horses and bulls (no private parts!) and must be lined with fleece or neoprene for horses, or a soft five-eighths cotton rope for the bulls – both with a quick release fastener. As the horse or bull leaves the gate, the flank strap is fit like a snug belt. In addition, animals can only be used one time during a rodeo (all events are less than one minute long) and there must be a veterinarian on site at all PRCA rodeos.
Dr. Shane Baird of Mobile Veterinary Services has been the Evergreen Rodeo Veterinarian since 2004. The number of stock injured at the Evergreen Rodeo during his tenure is zero, not much different than the statistic for all PRCA rodeos, which averages only five-hundredth’s of one percent. Dr. Baird evaluates each animal as they are unloaded at the grounds; as they eat, sleep and drink in their pens; as they are loaded into the chutes and as they return to their pens
Dr. Baird serves on the Evergreen Rodeo Committee, overseers of a grand association of volunteers that are passionate about animals, rodeo, tradition and the crazy fun weekend that the rodeo brings to Evergreen. Animal welfare is of the highest importance to not only the PRCA and the Evergreen Rodeo Association; it is of the utmost importance to all of us who love our four legged friends, large and small. So, slather on the sunscreen, hat and boots and come out to enjoy all of the festivities during this Father’s Day Weekend in Evergreen. Don’t forget to root on your favorite athletes like Hot Head, Rose Puff and Mighty Mary! For the full schedule and to buy tickets, go to one of the finest websites around at www.evergreenrodeo.com. For more about PRCA rodeo, go to www.prorodeo.com. Heather McWilliams (c) 2013.