The Horse Heaven Round-Up is back to kick up more dirt at Lithia Ram Arena August 23rd through the 27th. Rodeos have their own language so we've put together a glossary of 14 terms we thought you should know. Words and phrases are in alphabetical order.

Let's get started.


A bronc is an untamed horse. It will buck you into the next calendar year if it can.


When a bronc or a bull kicks wildly, they are bucking.


A cowboy that wrestles a steer to the ground is called a bulldogger. See also: stud.


We'll assume you know what a bullfighter is, but the reason they're an essential part of the rodeo is that they distract the bull long enough for the cowboy to escape unscathed. Or less scathed.


Chaps are made of strong leather to protect the riders. Rock-stars sometimes wear chaps without pants underneath. Or underwear. This is not how they do it at the rodeo.


The chute is simply the pen that holds all of the animals before they are put into play.

Cowboy Nod

The Cowboy Nod is the strong, silent equivalent of a starting gun. A nod from a cowboy tells the judge to start the clock; open the pen; get outta' the way! It must feel great to wield so much power in a single nod.


Cowboys have one hand hanging onto the animal for dear life, and "one hand in the air, like they just don't care."


The first member of the team to rope is the Header, and aims for the steer's horns.


The second member of the team to rope is the Heeler, and aims for the steer's hind legs. Personally, I would've named this role the Footer, because... Header and Footer.

Hung Up

Hung Up is the casual-sounding phrase that describes a cowboy who has gotten caught on one of the bull's horns during bull-riding. Also known as my last day riding bulls.

Pickup Men

These are men who prefer not to drive cars.

Also: After the rodeo, there are groupies who try to "pickup men" who are single.


But really: they're the ones tasked with leading stray stock to the exit.

 Roughstock Events

If it ain't a timed event, it's a rough-stock event. These are your bronc and bull-riding events.

Tipping a Barrel

Okay, this is going to blow your mind: "tipping a barrel" is what they call it when a cowboy knocks over a barrel they were supposed to go around. It's similar to the orange cones you ran over when you took your first driver's test. Mind blown, right? You never would've cracked that code on your own.

So that's it. 14 things you didn't know when you woke up this morning. Now you can impress your friends at the rodeo. Have fun!

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