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Bull riding is getting rougher. The bulls are getting ranker. And bigger. For those of you who don't know much about it, professional bull riding is a sport where a 150-200# man straps himself a 1200-1600# bull with a rosined up flat rope, and tries to stay on for 8 seconds. The average Professional Bull Riding Association even has 30 cowboys enter and 6 or 7 make qualified rides (stay on for 8 seconds). The average Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association event has 10-15 cowboys enter and 2-3 make qualified rides.
When I was a kid, bull used to be a lot smaller on average, 800-1200 pounds, and you got a lot more qualified rides. When I was a kid, you also saw a lot fewer really serious injuries, for all that the cowboys didn't have the safety gear that they do now (riding bulls isn't exactly the safest sport in the world, anyway, but now they have flack jackets and helmets. Before it was your stetson and a long sleeved button up shirt.) Yet, while I was watching today, I saw 2 broken ankles/legs, and 3 concussions. Now, I will say that to a cowboy, a concussion, and a simple fracture aren't necessarily serious injuries. But you don't get back on a bull until you have healed up from these injuries. When I was a kid, there were actually fewer injuries, but the injuries were often far more serious (i've known guys who have had every bone in their face broken. I've known guys who, after being stepped on, had lacerated kidneys and other internal organs).
Anyway, I just noticed that there are a lot more injuries than their used to be. They are less serious because of the safety gear, but they still happen a lot more.