Why are there few to no women Steer Wrestlers?
German student and former backpacker Eileen Ostwald is the first woman to ever steer wrestle in the 56-year history of the mighty Isa Rodeo.
The first woman in Australia to compete in the adrenalin-charged steer wrestling event, the 21-year-old made her Mount Isa Mines Rotary Rodeo debut, successfully catching her steer after leaning from her horse at full gallop, but couldn’t quite roll it to the ground.
Eileen took a break from her medical studies to backpack around Australia and met her now partner, Northern Territory horseman Johno Ostwald, who taught her how to steer wrestle, which is also known as bulldogging.
“I thought it’s something different, I like a bit of a challenge,” she said. “I’m going to give it a go. Lots of old cowboys tell me they’ve never seen it in Australia.”
It took four months of Eileen jumping from a Landcruiser (“the horse”) onto a quad bike towing a practice device called a steer saver (“the steer”). “Bruises everywhere,” she said. “I wouldn’t go on a horse before they said I was ready.”
Isa Rodeo Arena Director Steve Hilton said steer wrestling was the quickest of the rodeo events, requiring strength, speed and timing to complete the task in five seconds. “I’ve rodeo’d in five countries and never seen a lady steer wrestler,” he said. “She gave it her best, caught the steer but it was probably just too strong for her. She’s got to be proud of her efforts, she got more done than a lot of the blokes (in the event).”
Love of a challenge is something the couple share – in 2006, Johno and his then partner completed a 3,000km horseback trek across the top end of Australia (from Broome to Cairns) to raise money for the charity, Angel Flight which co-ordinated free non-emergency flights for patients and their carers to medical facilities anywhere in Australia.
The couple drove 1,600km from their home at Bees Creek, outside Darwin to both compete in steer wrestling at the Isa Rodeo, and admit they have a friendly rivalry. “We know we can’t win here (in Mount Isa) as there are too many champion riders, but in our next round all she wants to beat is me,” said Johno.
Eileen said she planned to keep competing in the steer wrestling event. “I had never ridden out of a chute like the one in Mount Isa,” she said. “It’s an awesome arena.”
Steer wrestling as a rodeo event must be completed within five seconds for the rider to score. The steer is released and the rider charges after it, leaning from their horse to grasp the steer’s horns. The rider then dismounts and uses their feet to stop the steer’s forward momentum before rolling the steer to the ground. A “hazer” rides alongside to keep the steer running straight.
Fact: Women physically, are not strong enough to bring a Steer down.
Steer wrestling is a very physical, brutal sport. Sure, the technique is also important, but one can’t rely on this alone.
Hence there are little to no women in Steer wrestling
Dangers and Injuries for the cowboys/cowgirls
A concussion is one of the more common injuries during the ride. A concussion can occur due to the whiplash effect of impact from the rider’s head hitting against the bull’s head.
Head injuries and spinal injuries are common. The shoulder was the most commonly injured body part; shoulder fractures and shoulder dislocations are common.
Areas injured during the dismount include soft tissue, chest, abdomen, and limb. The knee was the second most commonly injured body part in steer wrestling. Knee injuries usually occur when the rider hits the ground. Planting and twisting lead to injuries of the knee and ankle. Involuntary dismount from the horse can result in large forces with deceleration and blunt force to the rider when they hit the ground with resultant life-threatening injuries and even death. Other upper extremity injuries can occur as well. Hyperextension of the elbow during the dismount is a common injury. Other common upper extremity injuries include clavicle fracture, shoulder dislocation, humorous fracture, acromioclavicular joint separation, or rotator cuff injury. The danger of the horns of the steer puncturing almost every part of the body is extremely high.
FATAL ACCIDENTS TO STEER AND MAN
*NOT FOR SENSITIVE VIEWERS*
Steer Undecoating: is the female version of steer wrestling. Competitors chase after a steer, however instead of dismounting and wrestling the steer, athletes lean over and remove a ribbon. This cowgirl event consists of two participants, the contender and the hazer.
Things to look for:
Similar to steer wrestling’ the hazer is responsible for keeping the steer running on a straight course.
The contender chases, the steer, which is decorated at the shoulder with a ribbon, and reaches, down onto the steer’s shoulder while attempting to remove the ribbon.
Once the contender has successfully removed the ribbon, she raises the ribbon high overhead to signal to the judge she is finished. All this happens as fast as the steer can run and requires tight coordination between rider and horse. The contender with the fastest time is declared the winner.
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When you are ready to take on those mounts, Please take a moment and bow to people that are disabled, that cannot take part in such sports.
To all you avid gamers out there, here are some bucking bronco bull games for you to enjoy!
- Out of the Chute
- 8 to Glory
- Top Hand Rodeo Tour
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