When you go to Texas you go to the rodeo, right?
And if the rodeo’s not going on you go to PBR: Professional Bull Riders.
And if that PBR event just happens to be at Cowboys Dance Hall in San Antonio, it might be better than the rodeo.
Here’s a little preview.
Bull riding is the most popular of the traditional seven events in a rodeo and only recently became a stand-alone sport. Professional Bull Riders is the national bull riding league and they travel all over the country competing in the intense sport of bull riding.
How does it work?
In order to successfully complete a ride and be scored in the competition, riders must stay atop the bull for eight seconds without touching the bull with their free hand and without removing their other hand from the Bull Rope. The Bull Rope is wrapped around the bull’s chest and is one of the tools that helps the rider to stay on the bull for the required eight seconds; this rope has a bell on the bottom so that it will fall off easily as soon as the ride is over.
Riders can earn up to 100 points from two judges. Each judge has 25 points to award the bull and 25 points to award the rider. Riders only earn points if they stay atop the bull for the full 8 seconds. Bulls are also competing for points and earn points no matter when the rider makes it the full 8 seconds are not. Bulls are judged on how difficult they are to ride, the more a bull bucks, kicks, and spins in different directions, the more difficult he is to ride. Riders are judged on how well they remain in control and counter the bull’s’ moves as well as style.
Who would participate in this sport?
More people than you might think. Cowboys was packed with, well, cowboys and their families. We stood next to a former bull rider and his family. He was teaching his daughter all about how the sport works and helping her to not be afraid of the bulls, but to respect their power and size.
What makes the bulls kick like that?
The kicking and bucking motion that challenges the rider during the bull ride are a natural motion that bulls make. What prompts them to buck and kick is the flank strap, a rope that goes loosely around the hind quarters of the bull. It is meant to be tight enough that the bull cannot get it off by bucking, but loose enough that the bull thinks he can do so. This strap alone causes them to kick up their hind quarters. It is removed as soon as the bull exits the arena.
Did I like watching bull riding?
Yes. I might some of the nicest people at this event. Everyone was friendly and kind and having fun. It’s actually a family event even though this particular one took place in a bar. Cowboys is a huge bar with the area where they set up the bull ring on one side and a huge dance floor for line dancing on the other. There’s also a mechanical bull and about four bars selling nothing but liquor and lousy beer. It was a hoot.
I did wonder if the bulls were well treated, but after learning about how they are treated I feel okay with the experience.
Would yo ever go to a bull riding event? Have you ever ridden a bull? What questions do you have about bull riding? Let me know in the comments below!