MANDAN, N.D. (KXNET) — One of Mandan’s classic events — the Mandan Rodeo — is coming to town this weekend, bringing three days of fun, themed nights, and of course, action-packed roping and riding.

Before the weekend rodeo, though, comes the Slack — a morning ride for any ‘overflow’ contestants who wouldn’t quite fit into the main event due to a sheer number of applicants. This extra session consists of five separate events:

1: Steer Wrestling: During this event, a cowboy must dismount their horse and use strength and technique to wrestle a steer to the ground with assistance from a ‘Hazer’ who guides the steer towards them.

2: Team Roping: In this event, two riders work together to catch a running steer, with one catching the head and one catching the hind legs. This requires a massive amount of teamwork as the steer must be turned to fit both legal catching positions.

3: Tie-Down Roping: Based on ranch work, this is the oldest of rodeo’s timed events. A cowboy must rope a running calf, then dismount and run over to tie the calf’s legs while the horse holds the rope steady.

4: Breakaway Roping: A form of roping usually reserved for women and boys under 12, using a short lariat to rope a calf around the neck. The horse then stops, the flagged rope breaks free of the saddle, and the calf runs on without being thrown.

5: Barrel Racing: A time and speed-based obstacle course where horse and rider must gallop around a pattern of barrels without knocking them over. This is usually exclusively a women’s event, though men and boys can occasionally participate.

KX will be publishing a full list of the cowboys, and cowgirls participating in the Mandan Rodeo, as well as the events they are participating in (including the Slack) soon. Until then, here are a few of our favorite photographs from the beginning of Slack day.

The Slack began on Monday, July 1, at 8:00 a.m., and was free for the public to attend. The Mandan Rodeo continues through the weekend at the Dacotah Speedway. The gates will open at 5:00 p.m., with Rodeo Days beginning at 7:30 p.m. each day on July 2-4. For more information regarding the Mandan Rodeo, hours, or tickets, email, visit their website, or call 701-595-7725.