I know that I said I wouldn’t be back until Thursday, but I just couldn’t stay away. I’m addicted. It’s a real problem, I tell ya. I wanted to participate in Works for Me Wednesdays. Cowboys in chaps, that works for me.
Before we begin this class on Bull Riding 101, let’s make sure that we have all the protective gear & equipment necessary for bull riding. As the saying goes… It’s not IF you get hurt, it’s WHEN.
Protective headgear: Cowboy hat, black & white striped, vaguely resembling a zebra hide. Check. Protective eyewear: Sunglasses, a la Paris Hilton. Check. Protective footwear: Cowboy boots, soft beige leather, fancy embroidery. Check.
Choose your bull wisely. During training, it is important to ride bulls with a variety of bucking styles since the bull you ride during rodeo competitions will be the luck of the draw. Also, keep in mind, the rodeo judges will give up to 50 points for your performance and up to 50 points for the bull’s performance to give you a possible 100 points. For beginners, a gentler bull is an excellent choice. A lethargic, elderly bull that prefers chewing his cud over bucking off the unwelcome cowgirl works well.
Once you mount the bull, ensure that everything is properly adjusted. Especially your tank top. The “girls” need to stay put. A sports bra is recommended. As a beginner, you may choose to ride with a saddle. Later, as your confidence & expertise increase, you will ride bareback with only a rope to hold on with. Lots of rosin & a good glove are strongly encouraged.
The goal of bull riding is to hang on for dear life for 8 seconds. You must align your body & center of balance with the bull as he tries to buck you off. Riding a bull requires great balance, flexibility and coordination. This ain’t no pony ride!
OK, so maybe it was more of a pony ride, than a bull ride. But, great rodeo careers have to start somewhere. Because if you can’t make a living at riding bulls, you may have to become a stagecoach robber.
So, you’ve probably figured out by now that my family & I went to the rodeo. Some may ask, “Why do you like going to the rodeo?” Allow me to show you…
We sat in the second row. That is what came flying by about every 5 minutes or so. Less than 10 feet away from us. My Mom reads this blog, so how can I word this eloquently… a handsome & strong young man on a horse. A cowboy. A cowboy wearing chaps. Need I say more? Look closely up there. I think he’s winking at me & blowing me a kiss as he rides by. OK, maybe not.
We were so close that we could hear the grunts of the horses. The snorts of the bulls. The cussing of the cowboys as they were thrown off.
We were so close that the rodeo clown came over & gave me a special Mother’s Day present.
I brought it home and put it in a place of honor on the fireplace mantle. OK, maybe not. Besides, we don’t have a fireplace. We live in Texas. It’s 100 degrees practically year-round. Oh yea, and horse poo is stinky.
I tried taking a few quick photos, but I soon realized that it is hard to balance a beer, chili cheese nachos and a camera. Something had to go. And it wasn’t the beer. Or the nachos. The lighting was poor & the action was f-a-s-t. Too much for my little ol’ Kodak camera. But, here’s a few quick shots to give you an idea of what the rodeo was like.
Everyone always talks about how exciting the bull riding is. Actually, my favorite event is the bronc riding. These horses need parachutes. They’re all AIRBORNE. HOOAH! Oh, sorry. But, that's what happens when you're married to a paratrooper and the mother of a paratrooper. You say strange things that no one else understands. Things like, "Did you see that cowboy do a PLF?" HOOAH!
Oh, and if the cowboys & chaps didn’t work for you. Maybe, this will…
P.S.- If you're still trying to figure out what a PLF is, go here for a demonstration.