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Eight Seconds of Bull Riding

Imagine jumping on a two-thousand pound bull and hanging on for dear life. Read on to find out more about the dangerous and unpredictable world of bull riding.

Bull Riding - History

Bull riding has been a rodeo sport since the 1800s, when cowboys from different ranches in North America began competing against each other in various ranch tasks. Rodeos soon became popular spectator sports, as audiences were given a chance to see cowboys fighting to stay on top of an angry bull. The sport is now run by the Professional Bull Riders, which hold several events including a World Championship every year.

Bull Riding - The Basics

Bull riding is an incredibly dangerous, exciting and physically challenging sport. The name of the game is simple: riders stay on an irate, 2,000-pound bull for eight seconds or until the bull sends them flying. To stay on the bull, a rider hangs on to a flat, braided rope, which is wrapped around the bull's chest. The bullrider may only use one hand to stay aboard during the eight-second ride. If the rider touches the bull or himself with his free hand, the rider is disqualified. Once the rider has a grip on the rope, the gate of the chute opens, and the rider and bull do battle in the rodeo ring. Riders are given points for how long they stay on the bull and style points for how good they look doing it.

Bull Riding - Hang On

A strong bull rider needs to have balance, flexibility and quick reflexes to hang on for eight seconds and to respond to the different bucking styles of each bull. While every rider is trying as hard as they can to stay on, every bull is trying as hard as they can to toss the rider to the ground. Some bulls dart to the left and to the right while other bulls will spin continuously in one spot in the ring. Some bulls will also add some jumps and kicks to their spins in an effort to get rid of the rider. Getting thrown to the ground by the bull obviously hurts like crazy. But a rider can also be injured or even killed by getting gored by the bull's horns or being stomped on. That's why bull riding also requires a good dose of mental strength and courage.

Bull Riding - Did You Know?

  • The most successful bucking bull is believed to be Red Rock, a bull who bucked off 312 riders between 1980 and 1988. He was finally ridden successfully by World Champion rider, Lane Frost, in May 1988.
  • Teens interested in bull riding can get involved with the National Little Britches Rodeo Association, which runs rodeo events for kids aged 5 to 18. The minimum age for bullriding is 14. For more info, head to www.nlbra.com
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