6 things you didn’t know about bull riding

bull riding
The top 15 bull riders and bovine athletes will converge on Huntington Beach, California, Friday and Saturday. Photo courtesy of Professional Bull Riders

Beachgoers better watch where they step this Saturday or they might just find themselves on the wrong end of a bucking bull.

“Surf City USA” will play host to the world’s top 15 bull riders and top 15 bulls on the planet on October 18, when the Professional Bull Riders Monster Energy Bulls on the Beach competition debuts in Huntington Beach, California.

The one-day event pits the best rodeo riders against the top bovine athletes in the world right on the beach, with a ride atop Bushwacker (ESPN The Magazine’s “Baddest Body in the Sports”) worth $25,000.

But the event we’re most excited for? When the bull riders try their hands at surfing with the pros of the Monster Energy Surf Team on Friday. And for payback, the surfers will have to try their hands at bull riding (the mechanical kind, obviously).

Which got us thinking—is bull riding really as hard as it looks?

“During a bull riding session in Montana, a bull named Pandemic kicked me in the stomach,” No. 6-ranked rider Matt Triplett, 23, told GrindTV. “It causes internal bruising. Around a year later, I rode him in the Grand Rapids for 91 points. It was kind of my way of getting back at the bull.”

"Bulls on the Beach"
“Bulls on the Beach” pits 15 of the world’s top bull riders against the best bulls in the business. Photo courtesy of Professional Bull Riders

We’re guessing that’s a “yes.” Here are six more things you may not have known about bull riding:

1. The Professional Bull Riders organization was founded by 20 bull riders who pooled their money ($1,000 each) to make their rodeo event its own sport.

2. A qualified ride is just eight seconds—the clock stops when the rider’s hand comes out of the rope, the rider touches the ground, or his free arm touches the bull.

3. A bull always gets a score based on how difficult he is to ride, even if the rider gets bucked off.

4. Rodeo clowns aren’t just there for entertainment; their job is to protect the cowboys from being trampled. Clown Timber Tuckness once jumped into a barrel to hide, but a bull got its leg caught inside the barrel—Tuckness broke his jaw and neck in the incident.

5. Bulls are only allowed to travel a maximum of 10 hours a day. They’re allowed to rest for 12 to 14 hours after that before they can be moved again.

6. The hardest bucking bull to ever be ridden is believed to be Red Rock, a bull who dislodged more than 300 riders in the ’80s. He was never successfully ridden for eight full seconds during his pro rodeo career, but World Champion rider Lane Frost successfully rode him during a special match-up after the bull was retired from pro rodeo.

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