More Rodeo Riders Donning Safety Helmets

The helmet is being used by more professional riders now

In rodeo, the cowboy hat is as much an icon as the horse, so the sport has been very reluctant to require its riders to wear helmets. Even for children, they remain optional under most association rules.

Some medical experts are pushing the sport to encourage adult riders to wear helmets and require them for competitors under 18. And now some of the sport’s stars are listening. B.J. Schumacher, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s 2006 world bull-riding champion, wears a helmet, and so does heartthrob J.B. Mauney, the Professional Bull Riders’ 2006 rookie of the year who is currently ranked fourth in PBR standings.

While many pros aren’t going to change from cowboy hat to safety helmet, those who do are setting a standard for up-and-coming young riders. Parents and medical experts are applauding the efforts, citing that getting young competitors used to wearing helmets today instills the practice in them throughout their riding careers.

To help further promote safety helmets in competition, the Professional Bull Riders association plans to offer scholarships to youth associations that require helmets.

But as the Billings Gazette article pointed out, there still might be a way to reach out to older, hardened rodeo riders who resist wearing safety helmets: As a competitor sits in the chute atop a bull, steer or bronc, the rider’s head is displayed on large arena screens and on camera during televised events. According to the Billings Gazette report, “That makes helmets a potentially lucrative billboard.”


  1. great article. I think it would be an awsome thing. A lot of barrel racers are wearing them now and it started the helmet trend so maybe it will start with them as well.

  2. great article. awsome its about time. Way to go to the ones wearing the helmets!The tough enough to wear pink thing was a hit so maybe the helmets will be too 🙂

  3. That is great that some cowboys are starting to wear helmets. Everyone should wear helmets when doing anything with a horse or bull when riding it. I live right by Billings!

  4. Well,I do think that Cowboy hats have their place,and they should stay there,but maybe padded cowboy hats would work better?Ever thought of that?

  5. I think it is a winderful article. I was recently in a very bad horse fall without my helmet. I fell right on my head and got a concussion. since then I have not taken my helmet off whenever I am around or on he horses at my barn.


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