When the steer wrestler is ready he calls for the steer and the chute man trips a lever opening the doors. The suddenly freed steer breaks out running, shadowed by the hazer. When the steer reaches the end of his rope, it pops off and simultaneously releases the barrier for the steer wrestler. The steer wrestler attempts to catch up to the running steer, lean over the side of the horse which is running flat out and grab the horns of the running steer. The steer wrestler then is pulled off his horse by the slowing steer and plants his heels into the dirt further slowing the steer and himself. He then takes one hand off the horns, reachs down and grabs the nose of the steer pulling the steer off balance and ultimately throwing the steer to the ground. Once all four legs are off the ground, an official waves a flag marking the official end and a time is taken. The steer is released and trots off.
Typical professional times will be in the range of 3.5 to 10 seconds from the gates opening to the waving of the flag. If the steer wrestler fails to allow the steer its head start, his horse will hit the barrier, which is only weakly maintained with the string, and break the barrier incurring a 10 second penalty.
The steers generally weigh between 500 and 700 pounds and the steer wrestlers typically weigh 200-275 pounds.