Frequently Asked Questions' Page
Wisconsin High School Rodeo Association

Click this sentence to view the FAQs on the NHSRA website.

   When can I join the Wisconsin High School Rodeo?
      The WHSRA accepts membership applications year-round for the current year's membership. Our rodeos are scheduled in conjunction with the fall and spring school sessions. Performance points begin to accumulate from our first fall rodeo and continue through to the State Finals in June, but you can begin rodeoing any time during the year.
   My family does not have any rodeo background. Is there really a chance for me to start this sport?
      Come and talk to the many high school athletes at our rodeo who train for bulls, brave the broncs, borrow the horse and grow as rodeo athletes under the guidance of lifetime experienced rodeo athletes that are always looking to build another athlete. The WHSRA has hundreds of dedicated and experienced volunteers committed to teaching, preserving and promoting the sport of rodeo.
   How do I join the National High School Rodeo Association?
      First, you must join through your state or provincial association. Submit your National student membership application, Minor's Release, Wisconsin student membership application, information form, and the appropriate fees directly to your state secretary. When your application is approved, the state secretary will forward the approved list of members to the National HSRA. Look for the forms and instructions on this website on the forms link, or in the Announcements section.
   Are there any clinics or places where can I learn to become a Rough-Stock Rider, Barrel Racer, Roper or other rodeo event contestant?
      This is sometimes one of the hardest questions to answer for those wanting to learn about specific rodeo events. Organizations sometimes send us information about an upcoming clinic, and we will post appropriate announcements here. You may also contact one of our event directors that can be found in the "Officers and Directors" link.
   Should I bring rain wear in case it rains or do the rodeos get called off for bad weather?
      The times a rodeo will be cancelled because of weather are practically non-existent. Rain coats, warm coats, and muddin' boots should be packed regardless of the forecast!
   When should I arrive?
      Most contestants begin arriving the day before the rodeo (normally Friday), but people continue to arrive right up to the check-in time. However, we encourage you to arrive early. Wisconsin High School Rodeo is very strict regarding the check-in deadlines. All contestants must be checked-in with the rodeo secretary by 8:00 a.m., the first day of the rodeo. Normally, check-in is early Saturday morning, with the rodeo slack beginning immediately following the check-in and contestant meeting. Make sure you check the details of every rodeo for any changes.
   What should I expect at the first rodeo?
      Each rodeo begins with mandatory contestant check-in, typically for a few hours on the night before the rodeo, and on Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. Ask where the rodeo secretary is located for check-in. That is where you go. If you are late for check-in you will not be able to compete in all of your events. Then, at 8:30 a.m. there is a parent/contestant meeting in the grandstands. Because we have two go-rounds at most Wisconsin rodeos, we must run slack in one or more events on Saturday morning. Slack may occur prior to the first performance of the rodeo, which usually starts about 1:30 p.m., and depending on the number of entries, it may also occur between our afternoon and evening performances. Check the information sheets for each rodeo, for the planned schedule for slack and performance times.
   What are the fees involved in membership?
      Annual membership fees are determined by the National High School Rodeo Association. The 2012-2013 fees are follows: NHSRA membership fee, Times Subscription, and Insurance Fee of $124.00; Wisconsin HSRA Student Membership dues of $25.00, and family membership fee of $15 for a total due of $ 164.00 All applicants must submit the full $164.00. These fees are all required for joining.
   I have health insurance on my own, so do I have to purchase the rodeo insurance too?
      Yes, you must purchase the NHSRA's insurance. This insurance is a secondary insurance which is required by the National Office as a condition of membership.
   Does the Association have services available if there is an injury?
      Yes. The WHSRA is committed to your safety and health. There are emergency personnel and ambulance services available at each rodeo very similar to high school football games.
   After I have obtained my membership number, how do I actually ENTER a rodeo?
      Wisconsin High School Rodeo currently uses Central Entry System to take our entries by phone. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CENTRAL ENTRY SYSTEM: When Wisconsin High School Rodeo Association’s books “open” for a weekend rodeo competition, Central Entry System (CES) has three (3) operators available to answer the four (4) incoming phone lines assigned to our call-in hours. CES’s toll free number (1-800-547-6336) will ring until answered, since there is no “message on hold”. The most calls are received during the first thirty (30) minutes of each day’s schedule. WHSRA’s current hours for call-in are: Monday 9am-3pm Tuesday 2pm-8pm Late entries with $100 penalty are accepted on Wednesday from 8am-noon @ 1-608-393-0913 (WHSRA cell phone). Corresponding dates are published on each rodeo information sheet. So, have your NHRSA Membership Number in hand when you’re ready to dial CES. STAY ON THE LINE until your call is answered. Their friendly staff will take your entry and provide a confirmation number (necessary in case of dispute).
   I've heard that the rodeo can be really dangerous. Do people get hurt often?
      Well, we've heard that the rodeo is really fun and exciting! Actually, there are no more injuries at a rodeo than a football game. The WHSRA is dedicated to providing professionally trained bullfighters, rodeo company cowboys and other personnel that provide excellent support and protect the competitors.
HS Rodeo Events
   What Events are offered at the High School Rodeo level?
      For Girls, the following rodeo events are available: Breakaway Calf Roping, Barrel Racing, Queen Contest, Team Roping, Girls Cattle Cutting, Goat Tying, and Pole Bending. For the Boys: Bareback Bronc Riding, Steer Wrestling, Saddle Bronc Riding, Calf Roping, Bull Riding, Boys Cattle Cutting, and Team Roping.
   Tell me a little more about the Barrel Racing event.
      Contestant is allowed running start; time begins as soon as the horse’s nose reaches the starting line and is stopped when horse’s nose crosses the finish line. Contestant must run barrels in cloverleaf pattern, starting at either side. A five-second penalty for each barrel knocked down will be assessed. No two girls may ride the same horse.
   Tell me more about Pole Bending.
      Pole bending pattern is to be run around six poles positioned in a straight line. Each pole is to be twenty-one feet apart and the first pole is to be twenty-one feet from the starting line. Starting either to the right or left of the first pole, rider runs course patter. Five-second fine for each pole knocked over. No two girls may ride the same horse.
   Tell me more about Breakaway Roping.
      Two loops will be allowed if two ropes are carried. Each rope is tied to saddle horn with string. Rider, starting when the barrier drops, rides after the calf, throwing loop over its head. As rider pulls up her horse, the running calf breaks the string and the rope falls free from the saddle horn. A white flag must be attached to the rope at the saddle horn so judge can tell when rope breaks free. Time is called when judge drops his flag. Ropes must be released from contestant's hand to be a legal catch. Horse must clear box before loop is thrown. A ten-second fine for broken barrier will be assessed.
   Tell me more about Goat Tying.
      The goat is tied to a stake with a rope ten feet in length. Starting line will be 100 feet from the stake. Contestant must be mounted and ride from the starting line to the goat, dismount, throw the goat by hand and tie any three legs together with a leather thong or pigging string. If goat is down when roper reaches it, the goat must be elevated by roper so that at least three legs extend directly underneath before being thrown. Time is called when the roper stands back with hands raised. Judge waits six seconds to determine that the goat is securely tied.
   Tell me more about the Queen Contest.
      On the National level, the NHSRA Queen Contest is a competition for the girls of each state and province in the National High School Rodeo Association. To qualify for the National High School Finals Rodeo competition, contestants must be the winners of their state/provincial queen contests and chosen to represent that state/province and must meet other eligibility requirements. Girls who have just completed their senior year in high school are not eligible. The NHSRA Queen is selected based on her judged performance in these eight categories: Modeling, Personality, Appearance, Personal Interview, Prepared Speech, Impromptu Speech, Written Test, and Horsemanship. Any girl interested in the Queen Contest should contact the Queen Coordinator in the state or province in which they are a member. Check out the Queen's section of this website for the name, address and phone number of your state/provincial queen coordinator.
   Tell me about Cutting.
      No choke ropes, tiedowns, or wire around the horse's neck will be permitted. Horse must be ridden with a bridle (with bits in mouth and no noseband or bosal), or hackamore. Quirt or bat must not be carried. Time allotted each horse to work is 2 1/2 minutes. A judge marks from 60 to 80 points. Any rider who allows his horse to quit working or leaves the area before his allotted time is up will be disqualified for that go-round with no score. A horse will be given credit for his ability to enter a herd of cattle and bring one out with very little disturbance to the herd or the one brought out. The horse should never get ahead of the animal and duck it back toward the herd to get more play, but should let the turnback man turn it back to him. A horse will be penalized for the following: each time the back fence is used for turn-back purposes; each time he is reined or visibly cued in any manner; if an animal that he is working gets back into the herd; if additional cattle are picked up from the herd; if a horse quits a cow or must be restarted by his rider; and if a horse clears the herd with two or more cattle and fails to separate a single animal before quitting. If a horse turns the wrong way with tail toward animal being worked, he will be disqualified for that go-round with no score.
   Tell me more about the Dally Team Roping event.
      Team may be composed of two boys, two girls, or a boy and girl. In dally team roping, ropes are loose from the saddle horns, and after making the catch, the ropers must take a wrap around the horn. Time is taken when both ropes are tight and both horses are facing the steer. There are strict rules defining a fair head catch. The rope must be around both horns, the neck, half a head. There is a five second fine for a head catch that also catches a front foot or for catching only one hind foot. There is a ten-second penalty for breaking the barrier.
   Tell me more about Bareback Bronc Riding.
      To score well in this event, the rider must maintain balance, rhythm, and control, while at the same time spurring vertically above his head and horizontally away from the animal, with the follow-through of each spurring lick up the neck and shoulders of the horse. Broncs are scored for high kicking action, power - how hard they kick, lunge, and hit the ground - changing direction, and rolling and twisting. Judges stand on either side of the chute, and the first thing they look for is whether the rider's feet are over the point of the horse's shoulders when the animal's front feet hit the ground on the first jump out of the chute. Each judge will mark one side, using a span of 1 to 25 points each for horse and rider. The four marks will be totaled for the score: 100 points would be the perfect bareback ride. Horses will be ridden eight seconds. Rider cannot touch horse with free hand.
   Tell me more about Saddle Bronc Riding.
      As in the other riding events, the two judges on either side of the chute each score the horse and rider on 1 to 25 point spreads, for a total possible 100 points. The saddle bronc, like the bareback horse, is rated on how high he kicks, the strength and force of his bucking action, his reverses in direction, and for rolling and twisting action. For the control looked for by the judges, the saddle bronc rider's spurring action must be exquisitely timed to the horse's bucking rhythm. The more the rider turns out his toes, the more his spurs will drag in contact with the horse. Length of stroke from neck rearward to the back of the saddle also increases the rider's score. Riding rein and hand must be on same side. To qualify, rider must have spurs over the break of the shoulders and touching horse when horse's front feet hit the ground first jump out of the chute. Ride to be eight seconds. Rider will be disqualified for being bucked off; changing hands on rein; losing stirrup; or touching the animal, saddle or rein with free hand. The classic event of rodeo, an outstanding saddle bronc rider is a beautifully choreographed dance of man and wild horse pitted spirit to spirit in intense poetry in motion.
   Tell me more about Bull Riding.
      Riding to be done with one hand and loose rope, with bell attached. Bull to be ridden eight seconds. Rider will be disqualified for being bucked off or touching animal with free hand. A resined soft leather glove is worn on the hand the rider uses to grasp the bullrope. Only the squeeze of his hand on the handhold and the wrap of the rope's tail hold him to the bullrope. The bull rider's chaps, perhaps more than in any other event, afford protection against scrapes, stomps and bruises. His dull roweled spurs complete his equipment list. Each of the two judges scores a bull from 1 to 25 on how hard he bucks and kicks, whether he spins, and if he rolls and twists and changes directions during the ride. A high kicking spin is much more difficult for the rider than is a flat spin, and a change in direction in spin is a most difficult move for the rider to adjust to. The rider, on a similar point spread, is scored on his balance, timing, and, most important, his degree of control. A bull rider is not required to spur the animal, as are bronc riders, but his score is higher if he does. Watch the motion of his free arm, for there is the key to balance in the ballet he performs on the bull's back.
   Tell me more about Calf Roping.
      If cowboy intends to use two loops, two ropes must be carried. Catch as catch can. Cowboy must dismount, go down rope, throw calf by hand, and cross and tie any three feet. If calf is down when roper reaches it, he must allow calf to get up and then throw him. If roper's hand is on calf when calf falls, calf is considered thrown by hand. Tie must hold for six seconds after roper calls for time, and slacks rope. There will be a ten-second fine for breaking the barrier.
   Tell me more about Steer Wrestling.
      The mounted steer wrestler is placed in a box behind a barrier; his hazer in a box on the opposite side of the steer. The steer must be given a head start. The contestant and his hazer overtake the steer at speeds up to 30 miles per hour. He starts to leave the saddle as his horse reaches the steer's tail. The hazer is allowed only to keep the steer running in a straight line. As the steer wrestler drops over the steer, the horse carries him up to the steer's head. He scoops the right horn in the crook of his right arm, and grasps the left horn in his left hand. The horse carries his feet out in front and at a slight angle for the best position to make the throw. Timing is critical; the point is to turn the steer back instantly so that its own momentum aids in wrestling it to the ground.
NHSRA Rule Book
   Where do I find the detail for all requirements and rules that govern the National High School Rodeo Association?
      Click on the following link to take you to website of the National High School Rodeo Association. Look for the RULES, BY-LAWS & CONSTITUTION of the National High School Rodeo Association, in the membership section.

The 2005-2006 version of the NHSRA Rule Book can be found at:
Click this sentence for the PDF version of the NHSRA Rule Book.

National Level
   What is the National High School Rodeo Association?
      The National High School Rodeo Association was created to give high school students the opportunity to participate and compete in this unique and challenging sport. Although not recognized by high school athletics, the NHSRA offers a rodeo program that sets high school rodeo apart from other varsity sports: Athletes compete on a scale comparable to collegiate and professional rodeo competitors. The NHSRA is an independent student athletic association -- governing itself without supervision of school administrations or assistance from tax dollars. Members are fully insured, supervised and guided by adult experts. Competitors have the opportunity to acquire scholarships and grants for continuing their educational careers.
   How many students are members of the National High School Rodeo Association?
      One of the fastest growing youth organizations in the nation, the NHSRA has an annual membership of over 12,500 students from 40 states, five Canadian provinces and Australia, and sanctions over 1,100 rodeos each year. The NHSRA is governed by a national board of directors (one from each state or province) while a staff at the National Headquarters in Denver, Colorado, handles the day-to-day operations
   How can I compete on the National Level?
      In order to compete at the National level, NHSRA members must first compete at the state levels for local recognition and the top four contestants in each event qualify for the National High School Finals Rodeo (NHSFR) held annually in July. Over 1,500 contestants from each of the more than 40 state/province associations compete for national titles, awards and scholarships.
   I'd like more information about the National High School Rodeo Association.
      The National High School Rodeo Association has it's own website at:

Check it out! or, contact your state rodeo secretary.