The lack of sports this time of year is soul-crushing. You feel and I feel it. Misery loves company, and no one should suffer alone.
Sure… we have the excitement (drama) of the NBA free agency and some baseball, but even the die-hard baseball fans catch themselves yawning this time of year. We can’t even flaunt our Women’s soccer team around the world without it turning into a political barking match on twitter, CNN, Fox and the other garbage. Deep down we know there is something missing and I think I have our solution to fill that void.
You just did a mental eye roll– and I get that. In fact, I would guess a lot of you have bull riding lumped into the same matrix as monster truck rally and Joey Chestnut sweating after his 70th hotdog. Before moving to Texas for college in 2012 and getting to watch bull riding live, I thought the exact same thing. But after seeing my first one in person, I was addicted, and I think you can be too.
I was probably like you; played a sport or two in high school, hung up the cleats and now get my competitive fix yelling at a television watching baseball, football, basketball and/or hockey.
Since I have lived here in Fort Worth, Texas for close to a decade, I have attended around 50 Pro and Semi-Pro bull riding events. I’ve even done my fair share of “investigative journalism” post-rodeo at the bars around the Stockyards Championship Rodeo Arena where I drank with a couple of bull riders. I have never been so impressed by a group of athletes in my life, but more on that later.
Did I mention you can gamble on the sport?
Here’s the SparkNotes version of why you should re-evaluate the sport:
Reason #1: 50% bull 50% rider—
If a rider stays on 8 seconds, the score is based on 100 points split between four judges. Two judges each score the rider 0 to 25 points which is comprised of how well the rider positions himself as he’s tossed around. More interestingly, the remaining 50 points are split among the final two judges who grade how “mean” the bull rode. So, if a rider has the perfect ride but the bull gives minimum effort, then the riders overall score suffers.
Chances are you like animals, so this is a sport that allows you to root for the meanest bull and individual riders. What other sport has that? Not horse racing. Leave those stupid hats and $38 disgusting mint julips for the insufferable, country club-type. I’ll choose the sport with cheap beer, some mud and blood while rooting for bulls named Spotted Demon, Jack Shot and Catfish John.
This video below explains it all.
Reason #2: The X’s and O’s—
Riders and gamblers alike must watch the game tape in order for success. Riders are randomly assigned to the bull they ride for each rodeo event. The riders usually have about 24 hours to crunch stats and film after learning which bull they were selected to.
Like your dog at home, each bull has its own personality and natural tendencies when it’s pissed off or wound up. Like in baseball, football, etc, each rider must flip through pages of states and watch hours of film to determine tendencies and personalities of their opponent.
Like I said before, I had zero knowledge on the sport before coming to Texas, but after just attending a handful of rodeos, I quickly recognized the intricacies of the sport and could speak on it… and you could too. I want you addicted.
Reason #3: It’s American as shit—
Bull riding is big in other countries like Brazil, Canada and Mexico, but the sport is biggest here in the states. All the riders I’ve met are all genuinely normal dudes you’d expect to see at your local church or grocery store. They’re the first to buy you a shot at the bar and ask if you know any single lady friends in the area.
I remember asking one of the riders out at the bar a few years ago, “I’d imagine you walk into every bar and tell the women you’re a bull rider for phone numbers. That’s what I would do.”
He told me “usually they just kind of know, man. It’s pretty nice.”
I’ll never forget. I pulled my girlfriend at the time a little bit closer to me as I felt pretty damn emasculated next to the guy.
These guys throw themselves at danger that would make guys like Ndamukong Suh cower in fear. Even the big PBR big leagues aren’t guaranteed money, but they continue on. These guys are, collectively, more hard-working and American than any other group of athletes. In my opinion, they are the toughest sons of bitches out there. Check the YouTube and you’ll quickly understand.
This video explains everything I struggled to: