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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The most dangerous Sport

Bull Riding
- Story by Roger Edison

The most dangerous event performed in today's Rodeo, is held at the end of most shows. The crowd enjoys the extreme sport of Bull Riding where Cowboys seek to conquer the Bull in a ride of eight mere seconds. While that does not seem like a very long time to hang on to any animal, the mere G-force truss will throw the average individual just leaving the shoot.

Bull Riding draws the crowd which sells tickets to any Rodeo. Although many equestrian events sell out which has no Rodeo concepts in their show. Many folks come to watch the over - all event and performers. San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo along with the Houston Stock Show and Rodeo host big name performers of the Country Music Scene, while Fort Worth does not include performance in their three week long Rodeo activities.

American Rodeo dates back into the late 1700's when Spanish ranches competed against other ranches to see which ranch hosted the better cowboys. The Spanish cattlemen working the range were known as Vaqueros. As early Anglo settlers moved west, development of cattle ranching increase. Texas would become the focal point to this development and the Cowboy would spread through-out the mid-west. Pioneers    lthough it did not start out this way. The Rodeo Association of America (RAA) was started in1929. The organization created a structure to rodeos, purse awards, and the current point

Cowboys first organized in 1936, calling their group the Cowboys’ Turtle Association (CTA). In 1945, the CTA became the Rodeo Cowboys Association (RCA), and the sport of rodeo began to grow. By 1952, the RCA sanctioned more than 500 rodeos annually. In 1975, an the era of Larry Mahan with five world championships, the name of the organization was changed to the “Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association” (PRCA), a more accurate name for what had become the largest and most prestigious sanctioning body in the history of rodeo.

However, when it comes to Bull Riding, (PBR) Professional Bull Riders has set the course since it began in 1992 through the efforts of 20 professional bull riders, who unhappy with the PRCA ventured into the world of EXTREME SPORTS "Bulling Riding" where each contributed $1000 to get started. They felt that Bull Riding was the main attraction and most dangerous of Rodeo events. Well, in most peoples eyes, that seems right too but they could not convince the PRCA to give up a bigger purse to the Bull Riding Event so the rest is now history. Since that time, the organization has grown to include four tours which collectively stage over 300 events worldwide every year. Prize money has exploded from $250,000 in 1994 to over $11 million in 2008.

The three main Sponsors are FORD Motors with the Ford Tough Series, Enterprise Rental Car and Dickie Jeans. The PBR host events in Canada, Mexico, Australia, Brazil as well as the United States. To date Canada and Mexico has yet produced a world Champion but don't cut either country short as they have some tough competition.

2009 PBR World Champion was 24 year old Kody Lostroh from La Salle, Colorado. Kody loves Rock and Roll Music riding his 8 seconds to victory on tunes from the likes of Def Leopard, ACDC, Nickleback or Areosmith. When not doing PBR he's hanging out with his wife Candace.

In 2010, the World PBR Champion, 29 year old Renato Nunes from Buritama, Brazil completed the season with 1.5 Million in career earnings.  Renato weighing only 135 lbs standing at 5'ft 7" inches is a bigger man conquering 55 percent of his rides.  Encouragement by his four brothers, Renato began riding bulls at the age of 18 in the practice pen. It wasn’t long before he was riding at rodeos across Brazil.

“One of my proudest moments came when I split first place with Adriano Moraes at a rodeo in Brazil and won a car,” states Renato. In 2007 while riding the bull "ENCORE"  he sustained a partially collapsed lung when he was stepped on after being thrown to the ground. In 2010, he sprained his right knee when he was kicked as he was thrown from his first round bull "Copp Hou" in Kansas City. He competed in subsequent rounds and has been known to do acrobatic back-flips after making successful eight-second rides.

My favorites are Justin McBride of Oklahoma who has exceeded all the records in PBR with 30 event wins and Two World Championships exceeding the former leader and another favorite Adriano Moraes of Brazil who held 28 event wins and also two world Championships. Moraes has since retired with his winnings but rest assure, McBride plans to return after taking time off to allow for a surgery operation the necessary time to heal.

Here's the PBR Championship winners by year as posted with PBR:
* 2010 Brazil  Renato Nunes
* 2009 United States Kody Lostroh
* 2008 Brazil Guilherme Marchi
* 2007 United States Justin McBride
* 2006 Brazil Adriano Moraes
* 2005 United States Justin McBride
* 2004 United States Mike Lee
* 2003 United States Chris Shivers
* 2002 Brazil Edinei Caminhas
* 2001 Brazil Adriano Moraes
* 2000 United States Chris Shivers
* 1999 United States Cody Hart
* 1998 Australia Troy Dunn
* 1997 United States Michael Gaffney
* 1996 United States Owen Washburn
* 1995 United States Tuff Hedeman
* 1994 Brazil Adriano Moraes

The competition is different in PBR from PRCA. In the PRCA you can be a Bull Rider and still perform other events to have the high point finish for the All Around Cowboy such as both Ty Murray and Trevor Brazile both hold Seven All Around Championships. Brazile, However, leads in purse money ever won over all other cowboys today.

Dick Griffith of Fort Worth won the world bull riding title four times: 1939–42. World champion bull rider Harry Tompkins of Dublin, Texas, born in upstate New York, won in 1948–50, 1952, and 1960. In 1952 Tompkins won three world titles: bareback riding, bull riding, and all-around, the first all-around to call Texas home. Don Gay of Mesquite, Texas, with eight world titles, holds the bull riding all time record. Jim Shoulders held 6 championships in a roll from 1954 through 1959. Don and Jim would never wear a helmet or a vest either. Although while I oppose a helmet and believe that should only be in Youth Rodeo and College level, I must agree that neck bracing and the vest are a great idea. I know what a cracked rib is like and that vest surely protects you. However, maybe I would feel different about the helmet had I been kicked in the head, but since that never happen, I'm still with tradition. I just can't see myself without my Cowboy hat to throw back into the crowd after a victorious 8 seconds or at least something to swat the dust off when one finds himself face down in the dirt as he gets back on his feet.

Black cowboys have also played an important roll in Rodeo. Bill Picket who was famous for the biting of the Bull Lips before throwing him on his side later became to sport of steer wrestling. Although I recall reading something about Bill riding on the back of a bull backwards holding the tail while performing with the Wild West Shows. Myrtis Dightman of Houston, Texas qualified in bull riding six times for the NFR between 1966–72. However, the first black cowboy to win a world title was from Los Angeles,California; in 1982 Charlie Sampson won the world title in bull riding.

Charlie pictured left was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado in 1996. In 2003, he was inducted into the Cowboys of Color Museum in Ft. Worth, Texas. In 2004, he received the Pro Bull Riders Ring of Honor and in 2008 he was inducted into the Rodeo Cowboys Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. In 2009 he was inducted into the Ellensburg, WA Rodeo Hall of Fame.

One thing that has changed since the days of the beginning, the bulls are breed tougher and bigger. The cross breeding has become a science as these bulls are earning a great deal of cash for the stock contractor. Be these names Code Blue, Voodoo Child, Money Maker, "Little Yellow Jacket, three time Bull of the Year; Dillinger is a two-time PBR "Bull of the Year"; or Bodacious," Bull Riding is the toughest Sport which originates with deep roots in America.

Bull of the Year Awards: PBR
Chicken on a Chain (2007)
Mossy Oak Mudslinger (2006)
Big Bucks (2005)
Little Yellow Jacket (2002-2004)
Dillinger (2000-2001)
Promise Land (1999)
Moody Blues (1998)
Panhandle Slim (1997)
Baby Face (1996)
Bodacious (1995)

The Bull Rope and wrap are the Bull Riders tools. Each has their own preference, too. I rode using my left hand but most use their right, I like using the 5 plaid natural fiber rope rig and surely worked the rosin in. Spur shanks are different from equestrian riding too. Bull Riding Spurs are slightly angled shanks from 15 to 30 degree. I wore Kelly 15's in the day and worked a clothes hanger wire wrap under the boot heel to help hold them secure in place.

Jack Pot Bull Riding is still big through the nation paying small entry fees and then splitting the purse between the house, first and second. Nevertheless, Jack Pot Cash Prizes have never amount to much more than a few hundred dollars while PRC and PBR have very attractive zero's behind that first digit.

A Rodeo Cowboy with some talent can make some real money today. It's even better if he has a good smile to perform commercials where those earnings can far exceed what was earn performing the event of Bull Riding. Even if you can't dance, you can still play with the bulls as Ty Murray was on "Dancing with the Stars" in the 2009 airing. He did some dance steps really well, often being impressive but just didn't seem to have that needed rhythm to reach the finals. However, he had the love of America supporting him with his friendly attitude and great charisma. That did land him a superb victory winning the love and marriage to the attractive Country Singer Jewel and proven to out dance any of the Bulls of the Pro Rodeo Arena.

"OUT-SIDE Let's Buck"

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