Bull Fighting & Pickup Men
Rodeo Clowns & The Cavalry
Pickup Men play a crucial role in a rodeo. They get riders safely off the bucking horse and remove the livestock from the arena. Pickup Men must be skilled horsemen and ropers. They bring a vast amount of rodeo knowledge and years of livestock experience to every rodeo.
Bronc riders know that their ride is not over after the eight seconds have passed and the horn sounds - they still have to exit the horse safely. If the bronc rider becomes entailed in the rigging, Pickup Men may only have a split second to free him from his bucking mount. Once the Pickup Men have rescued the bronc rider and gotten him safely to the ground, they must remove the flankstrap from the horse and escort it out of the arena.
A certain bond and mutual respect and appreciation exists here between cowboy and bull fighter/pickup man. You might best compare it to that existing between soldiers in a foxhole.
Bullfighters and Barrelmen may look like clowns, but they are actually accomplished athletes and they are the absolute first line of defense for cowboys. Putting their own lives on the line to distract a charging bull or to rescue a cowboy tangled in his bull rigging, the Bullfighter and Barrelmen can be the difference between life and death for the bull riding cowboy.
To a bull rider, the bullfighter is the most important man in the arena as there is no one else to save him from danger. Since bucking bulls are not known for their gentle nature, once off the bull's back and on the ground, the rider is at the bull's mercy. It is the bullfighter's responsibility to get the bulls attention and let the rider get to safety.
While the Bullfighter tends to distract the bull by running around, the Barrelman has his own distraction - "the barrel". Placed in the proper position close to the bullriding action, when needed, the barrel can be rolled to block a bull from its fallen rider... sometimes with the Barrelman in it! The Barrelman also helps to entertain the crowd by interacting with the Rodeo Announcer and getting the crowd involved in the action.