One flushes and bucks
December 8, 2014 4:00 PM   Subscribe

Rodeo bulls, like the boys who dream of riding them, are unpredictable creatures. They can start out shy and skittish, then suddenly turn ornery. They’ll lie down in the chute one day and try to gore you the next. The most dangerous bull ever ridden, by some accounts, began as a scrawny yellow calf in 1988.
The Ride of Their Lives: Children prepare for the world’s most dangerous organized sport.
– A longform article from The New Yorker
posted by Joe in Australia (7 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Given a choice between staying on the back on a bucking bull and avoiding a charging one, one would think that being a rider at a rodeo was safer than being an écarteur (dodger) or sauteur (jumper) at the Course Landaise. One wonders what the casualty rate was like for the ancient Minoan taurokathapsians (bull-leapers)...

As for the aforementioned "most dangerous bull ever ridden", Bodacious, he has his own page on the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame's website. The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association's Bull of the Year and two-time Top Bull of the National Finals Rodeo, he bucked off 127 of his 135 riders over his career before retirement. Not bad for a calf designated only "J31" because his original owner didn't think he'd survive long enough to be worth naming.
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:42 PM on December 8, 2014 [3 favorites]

I presume that the Minoans didn't breed their bulls for dangerousness. I've seen trick riding with horses that was pretty impressive, but the horse was a willing participant. Maybe the Minoan bulls were too?
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:54 PM on December 8, 2014

I wonder how many people would even become bull riders if they were never indoctrinated into tormenting these animals as children.
posted by orme at 6:47 PM on December 8, 2014 [2 favorites]

Rodeo bulls actually have a pretty great life of living outside, eating, making little baby bulls and going to 20 or so rodeos a year. A lot of them are pretty mellow and personable, much more so than dairy bulls ime, which tend to live isolated and boring lives. They just have a job and they know it. Even some bucking horses are regular ranch horses between rodeos, they know the difference. A friend of mine had a retired saddle bronc once and he was a very smart, amenable and fun riding horse until he decided he was done, usually when it started raining. He was named Surprise, aptly.
posted by fshgrl at 7:50 PM on December 8, 2014 [7 favorites]

I'll take one of each, thanks.
posted by angerbot at 9:54 PM on December 8, 2014

When I was a kid rodeo clowns were my idea of a hero. They were strong, brave, selfless, and silly!
posted by small_ruminant at 10:22 PM on December 8, 2014 [2 favorites]

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