The Professional Bull Riders association, or PBR for short, has an official scoring and judging system riders should adhere to. Whether you’re experienced at bull riding or just started out, check out the official scoring guide from PBR listed below.
The basics: A qualified ride is 8 seconds. The clock starts when the bull’s shoulder or flank breaks the plane of the gate. It ends when the rider’s hand comes out of the rope, the rider touches the ground, or the rider’s free arm touches the bull (a “slap”). A successful ride will earn a score of 0-100 points. Scores of 90 points or above are considered outstanding.
The method: “Four judges rate each rider and each bull on a scale from 1-25. Those points are added together and divided in half to reach a rider score and a bull score of between 0-50. Those numbers are then combined to reach a final ride score between 0-100.”
The bull: “The bull always receives a score, even if the rider is bucked off. His score is based on his degree of difficulty. Judges look for drop in the front end, kick in the back, spin, and direction changes (as contrasted with spin, this means changes to movement forward or backward, or left to right).”
The rider: “A rider only receives a score if he lasts the required 8 seconds. Judges look for control – the ability of the rider to successfully counter the moves of the bull. Spurring is not required, but tends to demonstrate control, and will add points to the rider’s score.”
Re-ride: “If the bull’s performance is sub-par (negatively affecting the ride score) or if a foul occurs during the ride (the rider is rubbed against the chute, the bull stumbles, the flank strap detaches, etc.) judges can offer the rider a chance to take a re-ride. They will signal a re-ride opportunity by throwing a red flag into the arena.”
Chute Clock: “The Built Ford Tough Series implemented a new addition to the Professional Bull Riders’ original chute clock rule during the 2014 BFTS event in Nampa, Idaho.
A way for the PBR to protect the wellbeing of animal athletes, this rule has always been in place, allowing judges to disqualify a rider if he is taking too long to get ready in the chute. The existing rule that allows each rider time to prepare in the chute will now be enhanced visually to ensure consistency and include a countdown clock that is controlled by the back judge.”
Each rider will have 60 seconds from the time he begins to pull his rope until he nods his head to begin the ride. The chute clock will stop the countdown when the judge starts the 8-second ride clock.
Regarding disqualification the rule states, “In the event that the chute clock countdown time expires before the rider nods his head, the judge has to make a determination to disqualify either the rider or the bull at the end of the allotted time. If the bull is disqualified then the rider will receive the first available re-ride bull. If the rider is disqualified, his ride for that round is over and he will receive a no score.”