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Written by: C.J. Aragon< Back to Articles
At the last college rodeo I watched some college students question rodeo officials on their calls. Rodeo is officiated by the judges, they are human and they make mistakes. Like many other officiated sports it is very fast paced and the calls are made in the blink of an eye. Under this system the calls will never be perfect and there are always going to be those who question the calls made in the arena.
Every event has an element that is judged or open to a judgement call. Mark outs, the flagger, timers, they all make mistakes, but I rarely if ever felt that someone intentionally made a bad call. I haven’t agreed with all of the calls I have witnessed, but I think they were made to the best of the rodeo officials’ ability.
Here are a few of my takeaways from this weekend and college students protesting calls.
If you don’t agree will the call, don’t make a fool of yourself in and out of the arena after the call. No matter how much you disagree with the call, acting like a spoiled brat is not going to change the call. No one will remember the run in a few weeks, but they will remember how you acted. In many cases your behavior will warrant a conduct fine, you may get by once or twice acting like this but conduct fines are not cheap, and if you make a habit of acting like this you will get one. You may find some people in your corner that will tell you it was a terrible call and that the judge cost you lost of money, but in the end the one person in the arena that agreed with the call was holding the flag. End of story.
Don’t post the video on Facebook, naming the judge and ask all your friends what they think. Just don’t do it. I saw someone from another region do this and tag the judge in the video, I watched the video with the judges at a different rodeo. First the angle you filmed from was not good to make a case either way. Two, the judges watch your video and next time they are flagging at a rodeo you are at they will know to watch you for crossfire. Three you will likely not get the benefit of the doubt on any crossfire calls from that judge in the future, or any of the other judges that watched the video. Finally it was the right call, know the rules of the association you are competing in before you question the call on social media.
Finally the one good example was in the bareback riding where a rider missed his horse out. After the event the rider went to the judge and asked him what he saw, and what he could do better. The judge took the time to explain the rule and how he interpreted the rule in this case. Then he went on to explain how the rule book told them to judge the mark out. Both sides left the discussion feeling better about their conversation about the call.
In all of my year’s rodeoing and coaching, I have never witnessed anyone throwing a fit about a call or posting it on social media, get the call changed. If you plan on rodeoing for a living there are only so many rodeo judges, don’t find ways to make them all dislike you when you are still in college.