For 2 Seconds, I Was a Babe on Bull

By Capitano, Laura | The Florida Times Union, February 3, 2006 | Go to article overview

For 2 Seconds, I Was a Babe on Bull


Capitano, Laura, The Florida Times Union


Byline: Laura Capitano

The Professional Bull Riders mosey into Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena Saturday and Sunday, and hats off to those guys. You might call your average bull rider a madman in chaps, but he'd call you a sissy right back because you've never risked the use of your limbs for your love of the beast. Bull riding is a dangerous job that, I guess, someone has to do. It's nice that there are people around who feel the call of the bull because I'd check the "no" box next to straddling a raging, 1-ton beast.

The closest I've been to the thrill of a death-defying ride is the Babes on Bulls mechanical bull riding contest at Bourbon Street Station's Crazy Horse Saloon.

My friend Tiffany and I were first-time riders, but we stepped up to the bull operator (the man at the bull ring-side cash register with the leather cowboy hat and yo-yo size lump of chaw in his cheek, distorting an otherwise impressive mustache) and signed the liability waiver on the authentic Old West clipboard. He told us things would kick off at 11:30, and the winner of the hundred bucks is gauged from audience reaction.

Our eyes lit up with the prospect of such fortune until the bull operator shared the secret to victory with us: "Pretty much whoever rides the sexiest wins."

This news was a bit intimidating to girls with no sexy bull riding moves.

The bull itself was more lifelike than I expected. Far from the bare bones, massage table looking mechanical bull I've seen in movies, this bull had a head, face and horns, and its body was tanned and leathery. The bull sat in a red, vinyl, inflatable pit, a shallow version of one of those bounce houses people rent for children's birthday parties.

We lined up with the other cowgirls at go time, purposely taking a spot near the end of the line so we could scope the techniques of more experienced riders. In truth, no one was very good, and rides lasted a few awkward seconds as the girl struggled to stay on, then fell during the first intense motion by the bull operator.

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