Since writing about wanting to get a new helmet, I've thought a lot about rodeos, and bull-riding in particular. Especially the wrecks. The crashes. The injuries. Part of this bubbled up because of my recent attendance to my first Professional Bull Riding (PBR) event. Yep, I was a PBR rookie.
I watched a few rodeos last summer. It had been years since I'd been to a rodeo. I really enjoyed them and hope to attend more this summer. I am particularly fond of the barrel racing and bull-riding events.
Barrel racing is just fast. The need for speed. My heart pounds as I hope for the horses to make sharp turns around the barrels, and I can't help but root out loud as those horses dig in and dog it for home.
The steer roping and bulldogging are action packed. Saddle and bareback bronc riding....well, that can leave me a little troubled. Goodness, that isn't surprising for this pony girl, who mostly worries about one of the horses falling and injuring itself. In general, I am not comfortable seeing a horse buck with a rider on it's back.....it just seems so unnatural. Hmm... could that be because in every other realm, a horse bucking with a rider on it's back is not acceptable behavior?
Bull riding is always the final event at a rodeo. Probably because event organizers know it is the big draw of the night.
At the rodeos and the PBR event I attended, I have witnessed numerous wrecks, many which resulted in both minor and major injuries (broken bones.)
The Kevlar vests that bull-riders now wear were the result of the legendary bull-rider Lane Frost's unfortunate death during one of his rides. I heard somewhere that Tuff Hedeman, one of PBR's founders, helped develop the protective gear to prevent what happened to his fellow bull-rider.
Lane Frost pictured with the bull Red Rock.
Along with the vests, I was pleasantly surprised to see many of the bull riders now wearing helmets and face masks. It makes sense, after reading the recent injury reports on the PBR website:
".....sustained a concussion and a neck injury when he landed on his head as he was thrown from his bull in the second round in Albuquerque. He did not compete on Sunday and is questionable for Nampa."
"......sustained a concussion when he was hit in the head by a horn as he was thrown from his second round bull in Albuquerque and a bruised right thigh (quadriceps), a bruised left groin, and a bruised right flank when he was stepped on after he landed. He did not compete on Sunday and is not expected to compete in Nampa."
"......sustained a concussion when he was stepped on after being thrown from his bull in the second round in Albuquerque. He did not compete on Sunday but is probable for Nampa."
By the way, if you didn't notice, all of those injuries occurred at the same event. Best wishes to those boys for a speedy recovery!
These riders tally up so many concussions throughout their careers, it's downright scary. And few of them are a day over 30 years old. Their bodies are so broken down, and many of them will suffer permanent aches and pains for the rest of their lives.
Is it wrong of me to like the thrill of bull riding? Yes, it's exciting to watch a rider, especially a fan favorite, ride for 8 seconds, bounce off the bull, land on his feet, and raise his arms triumphantly at the crowd. However, when one gets tossed hard, maybe stepped on, or caught up in his hand strap and dragged around under the bull, you feel your heart stop beating until you know he's okay. Then you breathe and think whew. The little adrenaline rush I get from watching this drama is strangely addictive. And that is where the guilt comes in. I don't like watching man or beast get hurt. Yet, we watch it. Is that what makes the sport attractive?
It's a sport for the riders, and entertainment for the viewers. Those bull-riders feel compelled and driven to master those bulls, as many horseback riders do their equines, whether it be dressage or reining. They risk their lives every time they climb onto the massive back of a bull. Yet there is probably nothing else they'd rather do.
A friend just loaned me this book. Have you heard of it? It is written by a reporter who chronicled "a year in the life" of the riders on the 2004 PBR tour. I just started it, but so far it's an insightful read.
What about you? Are you a bull-riding fan? A rodeo fan? P.R.C.A or P.B.R fan, or both?
Miss Lucie Grace
1 year ago