Introduction: Bull Riding Basics
Well, if you know anything about bulls, then you’ll know that they are naturally aggressive. And the bulls used for riding are exactly the same as those used for fighting in Latin countries. Big, angry and very pissed off. If you look upon bull riders as highly trained athletes (which they are by the way) who spend hours practicing NOT to get thrown off, you quickly realize that the 8 seconds is really a lifetime to those riders. Remaining on the back of the tossing bull requires skill, training, fitness and a lot of luck. And huge balls of steel.
Sometimes you can bet on which cowboy will stay the longest on the bull’s back at a few online sportsbooks in the US.
Bull Riding: Training is Vital
You might not recognize it straight away, but every successful ride takes years of training. Yes sir, it takes time to mend broken bones. And if you fancy learning the ropes, then attend any rodeo. There you’ll find plenty of old hands, many with a limp, who will be only too happy to give you both lessons and tips. There is even a whole media base of internet sites and magazines all there to cater for this spectacular sport. If you do take the mentor approach, then really pay attention, take plenty of notes and ask lots of questions. There is the method in the madness of staying on the bull. On the whole, you’ll start with smaller more gentle steers and then gradually work your way up to those huge and frightening monsters. Obviously, the more rides you can get under your belt, the better will be your chances in the ring.
Get the Proper Equipment
Now before you go jumping up on any bull, you’re gonna be needing the right gear. As you already know, you only stay up there, being swung around like a dog toy, thanks to the thick rope that wraps around the bull. In order to better hold on for dear life, we recommend some decent gloves.These need to be thick leather, that is thick enough to protect your hand, yet thin enough to allow flexibility for your fingers. Oh..and get some life insurance whilst you’re at it.
Bull Riding: Rope and Rosin
Next, apart from updating your dental plan, you’ll be needing a rope. Not just any rope, but a proper one that might just save your life. This rope needs to be of medium firmness, as the stiffer the rope, the easier it is to grip. With this rope, you need to find a bar of rosin. You rub the rosin over the ends of the rope before wrapping it around your hand. As the bull tosses you around like a rag doll, friction will heat up the rosin and ti forms a thick gummy like paste which will stop your gloved hand from slipping from the rope, thus helping you remain on top as opposed to underneath said bull.
Watch the Bull
OK…this sounds very obvious. But we don’t mean that you should be watching the bull as you ride it (or, if things don’t work out, it rides you). Of course, you’ll be watching it’s every move like a hawk. No, we mean that before you ride, you should make a trip to the bullpens and check out the bull you have drawn. See how he moves around the pen. Does he kick out, is he very aggressive or does he stick himself in a corner? Passive animals tend to behave differently than aggressive ones once they have a rider on them. If the bull is to be ridden by another rider before your turn, then make sure to go and check out his moves in the arena.
What To Watch For
Look how he exits the chute. Does he start bucking hard straight away? Does he drop his head as he spins? Which way does he prefer to spin? It’s important to watch the bulls head as he exits the chute. If he keeps a straight nose, it means that he’ll pop straight away and start bucking. If you notice his nose go either left of right, then you know he’s gonna start to spin. These little points will help you prepare yourself and hopefully, you’ll have your own weight shifted correctly to compensate before the bull starts doing his impression of Chuck Berry singing “Let’s twist again like we did last Summer”..
Bull Riding: Hold on Tight
Your hand, locked onto the rope, is the only thing apart from the holy Jesus, that’s keeping you from flying off into the crowd or further, to the pearly gates. So don’t for a micro-second relax that grip. If must be a grip of death. Loosen it for a second and it’ll be introduction time; your ass say hello to the bull’s horns! Your riding arm is your balance point for the duration of the ride. You should be using your thighs and knees for extra grip onto the bull’s sides. It’s important to stay square over the rope. So if the bull tilts forwards, you will need to follow this movement with your riding arm. Your hips also need to be square on the bull and try and keep your weight down, so you don’t lift off from the bull’s back, otherwise, you’ll lose all control. And we’re not just talking bladder control either.
As the bull rocks, try to stay in the center point of the back, as that’ll stop you from sliding off every time he spins. Remember that even a tiny shift of an inch or so will throw you off your balance with the strong centrifugal force. Your free hand is to help you maintain your balance and should act like a boat’s rudder, helping you to steer your movements in coordination with the bulls. Keep in mind, that if your loose hand touches the bull, then you’ll not get a score, or rather score a big fat zero. When the buzzer sounds, then use your free hand to help tug your gloved hand free. As the bull rises, then it’s your moment to roll off onto the animal’s side and be thrown clear. Jump to your feet and get out of the arena as quickly as you can. There, that wasn’t hard. Now off you go and try it out, or just bet on it at the online gambling sites in the US.