Strength, timing and balance are the key to bulldogging.

The objective of steer wrestling is evident in its name: to wrestle a steer to the ground using only leverage. The steer wrestler, or "bulldogger", begins his run behind a barrier along with his "hazer", a second cowboy whose task is to keep the steer from veering away from the steer wrestler.

A steer is given a head start, the length of which varies depending on the size of the arena. After the steer has reached the "scoreline" and the barrier is released, the steer wrestler and hazer chase the steer on their specially trained American Quarter Horses until the bulldogger is in position to dismount onto the racing steer.

The steer wrestler slides down the right side of his horse until he can reach the steer’s right horn and grasps the left horn in his left hand, then digs his heels deep in the dirt and uses leverage to bring down the steer.

All this occurs in 3 to 5 seconds, depending on the size of the arena.

In addition to sheer strength, timing and balance are important to the steer wrestler.