The Art and Science of Wrestling a Steer to the Ground in Seconds

Learn How "Bulldoggers" Wrestle a Steer to the Ground in Seconds

Bull Dogging in Arizona
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Steer wrestling, also known as bulldogging, is the quickest of the rodeo events. It requires strength, speed, and timing. Many steer wrestlers are large, hefty cowboys, which is why this event is sometimes called the big man's event. Steer wrestling is a timed event, and cowboys compete against one another and against the clock.​

How Steer Wrestling Works

Bulldoggers start out in the box, just like the tie-down and team ropers do.

The barrier is placed across the box, and the steer is loaded into the roping chute. As soon as the cowboy nods his head, the steer is released and the cowboy charges after it on his horse.

The steer wrestler catches up to the steer as quickly as possible and then leans over, jumps off of his horse and grabs the steer by its head. The bulldogger wrestles the steer to the ground, plants his feet and tosses the steer onto its side, thereby stopping the clock. All of the steer's legs must point in the same direction.

Help with the Steer

Steer wrestlers require the use of a hazer to keep the steer running straight and prevent it from turning away from them. The hazer rides alongside the steer on a horse.

Winning at Steer Wrestling

A winning time is usually between three and four seconds, but these cowboys keep getting faster and faster. Some winning times are closer to two seconds.

Breaking the barrier in steer wrestling results in a 10-second penalty, which effectively puts the bulldogger out of the running to win money.

This occurs when the cowboy leaves the box before the appointed time, which is designed to give the steer a "head start."