The contender and Gladiator both grasped a triangular shaped "dog bone" with one hand. A contender could win the event in two ways. The first was to steal the dog bone from the Gladiator, referred to as "owning the bone". The second way was to use the bone to drag the Gladiator off of the 20-foot (6.1 m) diameter circular platform the event was conducted on in 30 seconds. Neither contender nor Gladiator could place their second hand on the bone, and if they did so they were disqualified.
During seasons 5 and 6, the contender could only win 10 points by owning the bone, or dragging the Gladiator out of the circle. For the final season contenders could get 10 points for a win or could get 5 points if they could go the entire 30 seconds without getting disqualified or the Gladiator "owning the bone".