Yee-ha! Cowboys and cowgirls, saddle up and mosey on down to the best little rodeo in town. Leave your Appaloosa in the stable; all you're gonna need for this kind of bronco bustin' is a standard-issue kid's bike. With a little ingenuity and a paved driveway, you can host your own roughstock and timed events. Some words about safety: remember to trade in your ten-gallon hat for a sturdy helmet and to wait for the judge to call riders out one at a time.
COST: about $7
Calf Roping: Each rider must follow a chalked course, pausing at one point to safely set his or her feet on the ground, pick up a hula hoop, and toss it over a stool or other target before continuing to the finish line. Fastest time wins. Or, if you have two hula hoops, draw two parallel chalked courses and have riders race!
Barrel Racing: Like the female rodeo stars, riders must maneuver bikes in a cloverleaf pattern, around three cones or plastic soda bottles. Give points for how close the riders come to the bottles without knocking them over and how many trips they can make around the loops in a set amount of time.
Bronco Saddling: In a real rodeo competition, riders have to stay on the back of a bucking bronco for eight seconds. To make this a bike event, draw a chalked circular course of tight turns and, if possible, hills and valleys. Have a judge time each contestant with a stopwatch. The champion is the rider who follows the course and keeps his or her feet on the pedals of the bike the longest without falling.
Quick Draw: Set three empty soda bottles with a Ping-Pong ball resting on the mouth of each along the riders' course. You may want to put the bottles on a box or low wall. Give each rider a water pistol. The first rider who manages to shoot the Ping-Pong balls off all three bottles as she rides by wins.
Rodeo Clowning: In a real rodeo, a clown has one of the more serious jobs distracting the bull away from a fallen cowboy to keep the cowboy from being injured. This balloon-popping game captures the spirit of the lighthearted side of rodeo clowning. Blow up round balloons and tape one or two to individual sheets of newspaper. Create a path by placing the sheets on your riding surface (anchor them with small stones if it's windy). Then have riders try to pop as many balloons as possible by riding over them.