Bull Riding Tutorial

Not everyone loves bull riding as much as I do. Short of bear wrestling, this is the ultimate man-against-beast sport–it’s not a Sunday ride on a pretty little high-tailed Friesian. I like to see the guys succeed. Despite what you may have heard, the animals aren’t hurt. They have short work schedule. Room and board are free. They have all the hay they can eat at their disposal. Not a bad life.

But bull riding isn’t part of ranch life. Wrangling, maybe. Roping, definitely. But riding?

Whoever it was who first looked at a Brahma bull and decided to give him a whirl must’ve been out of his Stetson-capped head. Or drunk. Or totally incapable of resisting a dare.

Maybe it was an initiation ceremony–or the meanest possible practical joke:  “Here ya go, greenhorn. You wanna be a cowboy? Ya gotta ride th’ bull.”

Whoever they were who started this, not only did they decide to ride a bull, they decided the only part of the rider’s body that can touch the bull is his legs. A leather strap separates the rider’s hand from the bull’s hide. The back of riding hand rests on the strap which is on the the rope that goes around the animal’s shoulders–a.k.a., the bull rope. This strap is strung onto the rope so the rope itself loops over it and can be tightened with a tug by a cowboy standing on the chute gate. (Picture it this way–a three- to four-inch-wide strap with slits on either end and the rope through the slits. The strap lays flat, and the rope loops over it.) The loop is called the handle, and the rider grasps it in the fist of his rosin-coated glove, because that’s his only lifeline. Once the bull leaves the chute, the rider’s other hand isn’t allowed to touch him.

Of course, that’s not near dangerous enough. Cowboys discovered that a rope around the bull’s flank makes him buck more. The flank rope isn’t tight,  just snug enough the bull thinks he can sling it off–and sling he does. That flank motion can sling off more than just the rope. Ask any rider picking himself up from the dirt.

But we’re still not through. We have to strap some blunt-roweled spurs onto the rider’s boots just so he can aggravate the bull a little more. Not that having someone on his back isn’t aggravation enough. Or the ropes around his middle and hind quarters don’t irritate him. No, some hot-shot cowboy had to one-up everyone else and really make the bull mad. Then he had to stay on while the animal threw his temper tantrum.

Fortunately for all concerned, the cowboy has to hang on for only eight seconds–not eight minutes. Heaven help ’em nobody could win if the ride were longer. Still, I wonder how they came up with eight? Was that the top day back when they were introducing this activity as a sport?

Crazy as it is, riding is still a heckuva sport. I enjoy watching it. Love the element of danger, hate when the guys actually get hurt. The bulls rarely get injured–I’ve never seen it happen. The good bucking bulls get to sire more bucking bulls–so that’s another perk to their job. And probably too much information . . .

In Give the Lady a Ride, I put Patricia on the back of a bull–not one of these doozies, but a bull just the same. Her ultimate ride is as much a test for Talon as it is for her. He’d rather plop her pretty little behind in the driver’s seat of her Mercedes and shoo her back to New York than see her get hurt. He’s falling in love with this woman. How’s he supposed to just stand by and watch her get hurt?


This repost is part of the HORSIN’ AROUND GIVEAWAY! If you missed the rules, check ’em out “here”. This is the last week for the giveaway, and I have $75 in gift certificates up for grabs.

You playin’?

About Linda W. Yezak

Author/Freelance Editor/Speaker (writing and editing topics).
This entry was posted in Promotion/Publicity/Marketing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Bull Riding Tutorial

  1. Peggy Clement says:

    8 seconds


  2. Walk says:

    As the wise George Strait sang: “I’ll be lookin’ for EIGHT when they pull that gate,
    And I hope that judge ain’t blind”.

    So I agree 8 seconds.


  3. K.M. Weiland says:

    Man, you’re making me miss bull riding. I used to run over to my grandparents’ down the road every Sunday night to watch the action, but, of course, I can’t do that anymore.


  4. linda yezak says:

    Peggy–You know your bull riding!

    Walk–Love that song. Amarillo by Morning came out about the same time I was moving up close to Amarillo. Not there anymore though.

    Katie–so sorry you lost your bull riding fans. I know you miss them.


  5. Linda, I love your posts, but obviously you’re way out of my league when it comes to “stuff cowboy”. We have a good friend who’s a roping champion . . . and he might know, but that would be cheating. So, I’m going to say . . Nah, I’m not even going to guess. No point in showing my ignorance. NOW I can cheat and look at previous answers. 8 SECONDS??? I sure am glad I didn’t say one minute like I was going to. LOL


  6. linda yezak says:

    Lynne, the sequel to Ride will highlight team roping, so you’ll score big when it comes out. 8 seconds is right (and peeking is okay). I appreciate you coming by!


  7. You have peeked my interest in bull riding. I’ve never watched a whole bull riding contest so I’ll be doing that soon. Some excitement sounds good.


  8. You may not be taking any more comments, since you have 8. The answer is 8 as well. I’m a bull riding fan as well, and I often have wondered about the bull riders. I think they are wired differently that some of us. While I would be thinking about everything that could go wrong, they are anxious for the opportunity to ride. I must admit that I do like to watch them ride.


  9. Linda Yezak says:

    Sandi, I’m glad you commented. The drawing is over but comments are always welcome. I hope you took a moment to check out my book, Give the Lady a Ride.

    I’m a fan of bull riding in particular and rodeo in general. It’s always nice to meet another fan!


  10. Margie Mijares says:

    I have enjoyed bull riding in the past…of course it was a pet bull that we raised for 4H…he was so sweet and we would lead him around and bathe him and roll his little bangs with our hair curlers….we got him all dolled up for a 4H show and were devastated when he didn’t come back home….he got sold on the spot!!!


  11. Angie Adair says:

    OH Patricia Talbert..what a beauty! angadair@nwcable.net


  12. joannesher says:

    Gotta love Patricia Talbert – and bull riding is NOT something I have ever tried (nor do I WANT to!). But this was QUITE interesting 🙂


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