Sport on the Internet: Getting roped in to rodeo

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The Independent Online
Tomorrow sees the culmination of the 39th annual National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. The NFR features the top 15 competitors in each of professional rodeo's seven events: saddle bronc riding, bull riding, bareback riding, calf roping, team roping, steer wrestling and barrel racing.

The official site for the National Finals Rodeo has a special "greenhorn" section for those of us who understand little or nothing of the sport. Most of the events are fairly self-evident, but steer wrestling and barrel racing require a bit more explanation.

The former requires two people, the hazer and the bulldogger. The hazer keeps the steer on course, the bulldogger wrestles the beast to the ground. It normally takes less than four seconds. Barrel racing is not racing against little fat people, but the only rodeo competition for cowgirls and entails racing round old oil drums.

As for bullriding - could you stay on a 2,000lb bull for more than eight seconds with just a rope around its chest? The site has all the results, still photos and videos, which gives you some idea of the bullriding. Rodeo has a great many related sites and the best way to find these is Billy Joe Jim Bob's (I kid you not) Rodeo Links Page.

This starts with their best-ever line from a rodeo movie: "It's rodeo time, I've got get it on down the road." I'm sure it sounds much better as delivered by Steve McQueen in Junior Bonner. Here you get links to the Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo, the world's oldest rodeo, and the Cowgirls site.

Here you can get to see "some o' them dad-gum cowgirls", including Roy Rogers' other half (no, I don't mean Trigger), Dale Evans. This can lead you to the official Roy Rogers and Dale Evans website, which is in seasonal mode at the moment, but "requests for autographs not accepted". It is surprising to find they are both still alive and celebrating their golden wedding anniversary.

ADDRESSES

Official NFR Site

http://www.vegasdeluxe.com/ nfr/

Billy Joe Jim Bob's Rodeo Links Page

http://www.gunslinger.com/ rodeo.html

Cowgirls

http://www.cowgirls.com/

Prescott Frontier Days

http://www.goodnet.com/rodeo/

Official Roy Rogers Site

http://www.royrogers.com/

Official Calgary Stampede Site

http://www.calgary- stampede.ab.ca/

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