I seem to recall making a passing reference to bull riders last week. I must have been in a prescient state of mind because this week it seems that we are going to talk about bull riders. I certainly didn't plan it that way because I am not much of a planner. Honest.

You can ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that I have almost literally backed into anything that worked out well for me. So let's just agree that this is the way it fell out and overlook the pun about bull riders and falling out or off of anything, OK?


As far as the bull riding goes it certainly is local. There will be two major IBR (that means that these are International Bull Rider sanctioned shows) events put on by the good folks from the J/Bar W Ranch up in Union Bridge, and both events will be at the Carroll County Ag Center. The dates are Feb. 27 and March 5 and both of these events light up at 7 p.m. sharp.

I say light up because there will be a lot of noise and bright lights and fun as well as the deadly serious business of getting on an honest to goodness bull that didn't much like the whole idea anyway.

Oddly enough the cowboys who sign up to ride these bulls for this event actually pay $75 for the somewhat peculiar pleasure of doing this. There is something wrong with that but if they weren't doing this they would probably be paying at least that much money to do something equally life threatening. I'm not sure that I can even imagine what that could be because trying to sit on a bull seems excitement enough for most folks. However there is the ancillary inducement of $1,000 added money which seems to be a good idea until you realize that you have to live long enough to get your hands on it.

The thing about bucking bulls is that they are actually bred to have attitudes. The mothers of successful bulls are from bloodlines where their owners can proudly attest that serious attitude problems run deep in the family and the sires of those bulls were bulls that proved themselves to be hard to get along with when it came to chutes, cowboys and bull ropes.

Real bull riders would agree that bucking bulls live to buck. Of course bull riders live to ride bulls. It's nice when things work out that way, isn't it? A bucking bull honestly feels that his purpose in life is to make life as difficult for a cowboy as it can get in the eight seconds that the bull gets to work on it. It's not just the eight seconds either. Knowing that you are going to ride a bull later in the day after you have paid good money to do it can't be pleasant either.

I know, sitting there in your chair eight seconds doesn't sound like much, does it? But if you think of what you could do to make life unpleasant for yourself eight seconds could take on a whole new meaning. For instance, try balancing a really hot cup of coffee on your forehead for eight seconds and see how long those seconds become. It's amazing how time just seems to stretch on into infinity when you use it differently.

I know this, certainly not from bucking out bulls, but because in years long past I got on some horses that I had serious second thoughts about getting on. It was one of those things that didn't even seem like a good idea at the time but you sort of had to do it, you know? You were pretty much up against it and so you took a deep breath and just got on up there and, what do you know, it was every bit as bad as you thought it was going to be. Sometimes it was even worse.

But when the time came you did it again and it never really got much better for your health, but you lived and that is what counted. Maybe the horse even learned something or maybe he just got bored with the whole thing and acted better sort of to get it over with because he realized that you weren't going to go away. One of the real joys of living long enough to get old is that I don't do that anymore.

But bulls aren't that way. And neither are bull riders. They both like what they do. So if you want to watch some cowboys having a questionable good time you ought to show up for those two days of bull riding.