Women’s ranch bronc riding returns to Black Hills Roundup

The Black Hills Roundup kicks off June 30 with a ranch rodeo at 7 p.m. It continues with performances at 7 p.m. on July 1-3 and a 3 p.m. performance on July 4.
Womens Ranch Bronc Riding

For the first time in decades, cowgirls riding broncs will bust out of the chutes at the Black Hills Roundup in Belle Fourche. Women’s ranch bronc riding will be part of the rodeo on July 2-3. Photo courtesy Texas Bronc Riders Association.

BELLE FOURCHE, S.D. — The Women’s Ranch Bronc Riding will take place during July 2 and 3 performances of the 2021 Black Hills Roundup in Belle Fourche.

The event, sanctioned by the Texas Bronc Riders Association, was a prominent feature during the early days of the Roundup from 1918 to the 1940s.

Helen Rue Black Hills Roundup

In this undated photo, cowgirl bronc rider Helen Rue rides at the Tri-State Round-Up, predecessor to today’s Black Hills Round-Up. Women’s ranch bronc riding returns this year after a decades-long hiatus. Photo courtesy Tri-State Museum and Visitor Center.

The rules are similar to men’s ranch bronc riding, except that they can ride with two hands – one on the buck rein and one on either the saddle horn or a rope tied to the saddle. Scoring is the same for men’s riding, with more points awarded if the woman rides one-handed or fans the horse with her hat as she rides.

Eight cowgirls will compete each night on July 2 and 3, with the top three cowgirls from each performance being invited to ride in the Cheyenne Frontier Days.

“It’s an entertainment,” said Daryl McElroy, coordinator of the Women’s Ranch Bronc Riding. “It’s a competition, and they’re competing for money, but it’s also entertaining.”

The Roundup kicks off June 30 with a ranch rodeo at 7 p.m. and continues with performances at 7 p.m. July 1 – 3 and a 3 p.m. performance July 4. Tickets are $15 to $34 dollars and are available for purchase both online and at the gate.

Family night is July 1, July 2 is Chutes for Charity night, July 3 is Tough Enough to Wear Pink night, and July 4 is Military and First Responders Day.

Click here for more information on the Black Hills Roundup.

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