For excitement and the ultimate danger in rodeo, there is nothing to match bull riding. With the bull weighing nearly a ton and with surprising agility, bucking bulls generally are very bad tempered. Many of the crossbred Brahmans go a whole season without being ridden the required eight seconds by any bull rider.
For the bull rider, it's a contest of mind over matter, both for the rider as well as the bull.
Things to look for:
Bull riding is done with either hand while gripping a loose rope with a bell attached. Watch how the rider uses his free arm, jerking and thrusting to counter the bull's spins and lunges.
The rider lunges his body forward as if to jump over his riding hand and will move his feet forward to grab a new hold. These are a series of complex movements learned after years of training to enable the rider to stay on as long as possible.
The rider must stay on the bull for eight seconds and is judged on how well he rides. The rider is disqualified for bucking off before the eight seconds is up or for touching himself, the animal or equipment with his free hand.
After the eight second ride is over, the danger isn't!
The cowboy has to run for his life from the bull to avoid being trampled or tossed in the air like a rag doll. The cowboy's safety depends on his own speed and the skills of the rodeo clowns and bull fighters.