CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Circa) — The Wild Horse Race is one of the oldest rodeo events. It's also one of the most dangerous. Originating in the 1800s as a competition among ranchers, the goal is to saddle a wild horse and be the first to successfully ride it across the finish line.
“A lot of people" Chris Bowie, the mugger of a Wild Horse Racing team said, "They automatically assume we don’t care about the animals and the stock but we are working just as hard to protect them as we work to protect ourselves.”
The event is based on the ranch chore of breaking in wild horses. Today, true wild horses are not used, ranch raised horses with little human contact are.
Teams are made up of three cowboys, each tasked with a specific responsibility. The shanker holds the shank rope to keep the horse in place. The mugger is responsible for holding the horse’s head, and the rider brings the horse across the finish line.
At Cheyenne Frontier Days Circa had the opportunity to speak with one of the competing teams and asked why they continue to participate in such a dangerous event. “It’s kind of hard to keep us out of the arena, we just love it so much,” Shaniko Meanus said. “It’s hard to keep a cowboy out of the arena” .