I love bull riding. From the first time I saw it on TV it has been my guilty pleasure. I love the bulls, their personalities, seeing them check out the crowd from the chute.
“You’re there for the Wrangler butts,” a guy friend teased. No. I’m there to see pieces of meat get thrown by other pieces of meat.
I had never seen it live before so when I heard Boone County Fair had
Championship Bull Riding I knew what I was doing Friday night.
Just to completely own the situation, I was so excited I didn’t read my ticket so I sat in the wrong seat. Twice. The first couple was nice and showed me there’s a number on the ticket. The next girl was not having it.
“Um, someone is sitting there,” I smiled and showed her my ticket. “Yeah that is in S and that’s up there.” Okay tone is completely unnecessary. Yes I was a pretty ditz, but we’re all here for the love of bull riding.
That night was best $16 I’ve spent in a long time. I thought there’d be a lot of hurry up and wait, but it kept moving. There were rookies, ones going to college and pursuing their dream of riding. Some from Georgia. Some from Louisiana, Texas, and Tennessee. A couple from Illinois.
I loved watching them drop in, get situated, and then, soon as the gate flies open, the bull bounding out and calling how long the kid would stay on. Some you could tell by their seat they were off. One came out sitting way back like he was in a recliner. I’ve never been on a bull. I completely respect what these guys do–it’s hard. A seat is a seat. Some of the Louisiana boys would drop their legs, find their center, and ride.
It was exciting when the rider got past those initials few seconds. He’s got it. He’s got it! Launches off the bull’s back.
“Give me good news!” the announcer begged. Sometimes he got it, sometimes he didn’t it.
The rain came in quick. When the winds picked up, half the stands left. It felt beautiful, a nice relief from the 90’s we had. When rain threatened to come down, another third left. When the monsoons dropped, the front rows moved up under the roof. I was showcased for a while– the girl in the pink dress in boots.
I don’t know how sensitive bulls are to barometric pressure. Horses feel it. Some bulls refused to go back in the pens. It was their moment to shine and they were going to own it.
It’s hard to keep your energy up after 3/4 of the stands clear out. After they covered the electronics, we in stands, the few the proud, the ones not afraid of rain, cheered and stomped until the announcer saluted us with his hat.
One of the best Fridays I’ve spent in a long time. They have two more in Illinois so I have those to look forward to.