To answer this question you must look at what chaps actually are. Bull rider chaps are fabricated from two solid pieces of leather. One piece is used for each leg and some belts and fasteners to keep them on.
Chaps were originally worn by cowboys in the late 1800s. Now I say they were originally worn by cowboys. This is not entirely true. Armas meaning shields were used in Spain and Mexico much before the chaps of our day. Armas were constructed in a way that it was a solid piece of leather. The leather was connected to the saddle horn and draped across the front of the horse and the legs of the rider.
It wasn’t till the 1800s when cowboys from Mexico brought the new design worn by the rider made for easier travel to the western coast of the United States.
The benefit of cowboy chaps was that they held you on the horse better especially bareback. The leather of the saddle against the leather of the chaps caused friction allowing you to stay on the horse easier. They also provide protection for your legs from briars snakes and wild animals.
So what the heck are bull ridding chaps for?
All of this being said why do riders wear chaps? Well the leather of the chaps gives the cowboy some leverage. You have to understand that your legs have more to do with the bull rider staying on, than the hand holding the rope. A bull rider is always trying to stay over the shoulders of the bull. Staying here keeps them out of the danger zone forward or back. If they are over the shoulders they are less affected by the jumping and kicking of the bull. I’m sure now you can see that having something to grab on with helps. Maybe not as effective as the spurs they wear bull rider chaps to keep you out of the danger zone.
Once the bull rider is off the bull there chaps help again by protecting them from mauling bulls. They prevent bull horns from puncturing their skin and stomping hooves from causing more damage.
Why so Flashy?
I’m sure you have noticed how flashy some of the bull rider chaps can be. This is all for show. Standing out helps gain fans. The cheering crowd causes the bull riders adrenalin to pump stronger and of course that’s why they ride bulls. Bull rider chaps also help the judges to distinguish the legs of the rider from the bull. You may not think that this would be hard without them. Remember everything happens over 8 seconds. That’s fast, believe me.
All and all bull rider chaps have the same benefits for a bull rider as chaps worn by a cowboy. They are a layer of protection and grip. I promise you if you are thinking of bull riding, you must have a set of bull riding chaps. Have a 1500 pound bull land his hoof on your leg with no chaps. You will not do that twice. It’s like laying a motorcycle down on the asphalt in shorts. Why wouldn’t you protect yourself and look cool at the same time.
Find a great selection of bull riding chaps here at http://rankrider.com/category/bull-rider-gear/chaps-bull-riding/