Finding a new favorite pastime

First Posted: 8/3/2009

This past weekend, I went to cover a bull ride at Nothing Fancy Farm.
The first thing everyone has asked me after learning I went to a bull ride is So, did you ride a bull?
No. I did not ride a bull. I have no desire to ride a bull. But, I do have great admiration for those who do. The riders I talked to Saturday night are all incredibly dedicated to their sport. Yes, bull riding is a sport. They practice and train just like any other athlete. They go out and face an adversary, the bull, which determines whether or not they are victorious, if they make it a full eight seconds or not.
These men and women, and yes, there were two women riders at this event, know the risks when they settle onto the back of that bull and still they show up at event after event and dare that bull to hurt them.
As I watched rider after rider get thrown from the backs of bulls, I questioned their sanity. Why on earth would you get on the back of an animal knowing that the only way off if flying through the air? However, as I talked to them after their rides, I realized that their motivations for continuing to ride are similar to those of athletes such as football players who go out onto the field day after day and literally take a beating from tackles.
These men and women go out there for the adrenaline rush of course, but many also go with a goal in mind. They go out there to make it on the Professional Bull Riders circuit and to be world champions. Others go out there because of the support they receive from their families to continue.
For these men and women, bull riding is one of their passions in life. It is often a release from the daily stresses.
After watching them ride and talking to them afterwards, I felt an even deeper respect for what they do. The spectators at the ride I was at obviously felt that respect as well. Bull riding provides great entertainment, but it is even more than that. It provides an escape from the trouble of the real world for a few hours.
People have been riding bulls for hundreds of years and the sport has changed very little in that time. One of the biggest changes probably happened this year with the new requirement that riders wear chest protectors. There is something comforting about knowing that some things never change.
Those young and old can come together to cheer on their favorite riders as well as those who seem to be going all the way. It is a time for community members to come together and just have a good time. There are few things left in the world that allow that to happen.
Morgan Wall is a staff reporter for The Mount Airy News. She can be reached at [email protected] or 719-1929.

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