When I went to Nederlands for six months I watched a lot of bull fighting on European TV at nights. (You don’t have to know the language to watch bull fighting.) I was shocked and outraged at the unfairness, brutality, and senseless murder of drugged bulls. I always rooted for the bull, but they were doomed to die because it was a rigged contest. They doped the bulls up so they had no chance. Sometimes the bulls could barely stand, nevertheless fight.
And they didn’t just kill one bull, but once the dead bull was carted away, they’d bring out another poor bull to torture and kill and then bring out another. It was the most barbaric horror I had ever seen.
What I didn’t know back then was it was against the rules to dope the bulls. A rule clearly ignored by everyone. In the six months, I watched the sport (seriously there was nothing else on at night in English.) I never saw a bull that was not drugged. A few came in looking strong, but then they’d be stuck in the back and the rump with small three-foot wooden spears which were obviously coated with a drug. In short order, the bull would be stumbling about like it was drunk. By the time the fancy pants guy with a cape showed up, anyone could have killed the poor bull.
When I returned home, I checked out Bull riding, suspecting it might be fairer. AND IT WAS. First of all, no bulls are murdered. All they have to do is stand in a metal gate system while a cowboy settles onto their back and secures their bull rope. A flank strap is tied around the hind quarters to increase their bucking, but that’s all. The bulls are costly and treated well, at least as long as they are bucking well.
It is the Bull Riders that take a beating. Even there, no one wants the rider to die, so they work very hard to prevent that from happening. However, I have to believe somewhere along the way a bull rider has died by bull’s post medication. So I googled this. If a rider has died, it is not showing up on any google or Wikipedia search I found. I suspect there have been deaths, but they are being squelched by the PBR. However, I have to say, by the time a cowboy gets to the top ranks of bull riders, he knows his job. Also, there are men (ironically called bull fighters) who try to distract the bull once a rider is off its back. This is critical since some bulls seem to want payback. Others just trot back to their pen, having done their job. Still, if you are running for your life to escape a bull and leap up on a gate, rest assured, a fellow bull rider will help you to the other side.
Sadly, I have seen career ending bull rides, where the bull rider is broken up and never returns to bull riding. And even that has to be a death-knoll of sorts to these 8 second thrill junkies.
Country Western/ Bull Riding
Davy Hill goes from obscurity to fame by riding the rankest bull alive. Coming from a life of poverty, the young cowboy expects his life to change for the better now that he’s a successful professional bull-rider. Yet, with every occurrence of good luck comes an equal dose of bad. He suffers a potentially career-ending injury, a string of betrayals, and much worse. Despite all the brutal slams he takes, he keeps getting up, because he’s a bull-rider and they never give up.
Davy climbed onto the back of Black Poison. Despite his frightening name, the bull was reputed to be the closest thing to a sure ride the WBR had. Seventy percent of riders stayed on for the eight seconds. However, because the bull was a sure ride the average score was only 80.
While Davy could not achieve his moment of silence before he nodded for the gate to open, he felt confident he could stay on this bull. Yet, a second later, he fell behind the bull’s moves and had to fight like hell to right his body and regain the sweet spot. When Poison changed directions, he once again slipped from the sweet spot and by the eight-second horn, he was hanging onto the side with brute force.
When he released his grip, he fell directly beneath the bull and before he had a chance to roll to safety, Poison’s back left hoof clock him on his helmet so hard that bells rang in his ears and his head rolled sideways. The right back hoof followed, breaking away the chin guard, and cutting into his jaw.
He heard Curly yelling at him to move, and then someone shoved him on his back. Unfortunately, his desire to get up seemed to have no effect on his legs and arms. As pain seared into his back, he finally realized the one shoving him wasn’t Curly. He felt his body tossed forward like a rag doll as the bullfighters called the bull’s name, trying to distract him.
“Poison, Poison, Poison…”
Pain seared his gut, as horns sliced beneath his vest. His world turned grey and then black.
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Davy’s Saga, Book 1
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Liza O’Connor lives in Denville, NJ with her dog Jess. They hike in fabulous woods every day, rain or shine, sleet or snow. Having an adventurous nature, she learned to fly small Cessnas in NJ, hang-glide in New Zealand, kayak in Pennsylvania, ski in New York, scuba dive with great white sharks in Australia, dig up dinosaur bones in Montana, sky dive in Indiana, and raft a class four river in Tasmania. She’s an avid gardener, amateur photographer, and dabbler in watercolors and graphic arts. Yet through her entire life, her first love has and always will be writing novels.
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