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Bull Riding Vests

Below are bull riding vests for sale, new and used. You can buy just the vest, or buy a vest with accessories like bull riding chaps.

Protective vests were rarely worn by bull riders or bronc riders until the early 1990s. Today, it is rare to see a roughstock contestant without one. For more information about bull riding invests, including information about their construction and materials commonly found inside them, please scroll down.

You might also like bull riding helmets and bull riding ropes.

Below: A bull rider wears a bull riding vest while competing in the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo, Cheyenne, WY.

A bull rider in green chaps and a bull riding vest

From eBay

Plus a few accessories from Etsy.

See more bull riding vests on eBay

Inside A Bull Riding Vest

First worn by bull riding and bronc riding superstar Cody Lambert in the early 1990’s, the protective vest now worn by many bull riders, bronc riders, clowns, and bull fighters is credited with saving countless men and women from serious injury in the rodeo arena.

The protective vest offers protection from direct trauma (such as when a contestant is stomped on by a bull or bronc or hit with a horn) by absorbing shock and dissipating an otherwise crushing blow over a larger area.

Below: A bull rider in a helmet and vest. Bull riders commonly wear helmets while competing, and it is rare to see one without a protective vest.

A bull rider wearing a helmet and vest


Bull riding vests come in a wide variety of styles. Even so, two things they usually have in common are an attractive outer covering like leather or Cordura (an extremely durable fabric that is resistant to abrasions, tears and scuffs), and a shock absorbing inner material.

Typically, bull riding vests are closed by a combination of zippers and Velcro, or just Velcro alone, and are designed to tear free if a bull or bronc should stick a horn or hoof inside of it.

A common construction design of a bull vest is that they are adjustable at the shoulders and often at the sides. This helps create a comfortable fit that won't restrict a competitor's movements.

Many bull riding vests also include handy features such as pockets to hold a bull rider's mouth piece, tabs on the back for contestant numbers, and a modular construction to allow for fast, easy, and less expensive repair.

Below: A bull turns on a fallen bull rider.

A fallen bull rider gets horned in the vest by a bull

At the heart of the protective vest is its ability to absorb and dissipate the incredible direct trauma that can be inflicted by a bull or bronc. Once famous for containing Kevlar (a synthetic material developed by the DuPont Company in the 1960s), modern bull riding vests contain a new age of materials. Below is a brief description of common materials currently being used inside bull riding and other protective vests.

Note: The list below is merely for reference. At we have no idea what materials will actually be in a vest that you may purchase.

High Density Foam

One type of high density foam used in some bull riding vests is Confor foam. Originally developed for the United States Space program as a material to be used in seats, Confor foam is superb at absorbing shock and dissipating impact without bottoming out or collapsing. It is an open cell foam that is breathable, with a soft feel that conforms to the rider. Upon extreme impact the Confor foam recovers slowly but completely.

Below: A bull rider gets thrown from a bull and lands badly.

A bull rider wearing a vest gets thrown from a bull


Spectra Shield Ballistic Material

Spectra Shield is not a woven material like many ballistic materials (including Kevlar) but is instead made from layers of unidirectional fibers held in place by resins. It is 10 times stronger than steel, extremely light weight, and is used in everything from soft, concealable body armor to hard limousine doors and panels. Spectra Shield protective vests for bull riders offer excellent comfort and flexibility while still providing high-impact protection.

PVC/Nitrile Foam Inner Padding

PVC/Nitrile foam is another type of foam recognized for its shock absorbing abilities while still being light weight and flexible. It is found in bull riding vests, equestrienne vests, football and riding helmets, and in other sports gear.

Below: A barrel man keeps his eye on the bull by a fallen bull rider.

A rodeo clown/barrel man watches a bull while he waits by a fallen bull rider


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