A braided manilla rope is the cowboy’s only security as he rides a wildly bucking brahma/cross bull. The rope is wrapped loosely around the bull and a weighted cowbell hangs underneath. When the ride is over, the cowbell pulls the rope free. The bull rider will be disqualified for touching the bull with his free hand or bucking off before the end of the eight-second ride. As it is tremendously difficult just to remain on top of these loose-hided animals, riders are not required to spur.
The successful bull riders keep themselves close to their handhold throughout the whole ride. This prevents the holding arm from straightening and jerking the hand loose. Bull riding, the most dangerous of all rodeo events, demands that a bullfighting clown be in the rodeo arena during each ride. As the cowboy dismounts or is thrown from the bull, the bullfighter distracts the animal until the bull rider reaches safety.