Bull Writing, Bull Riding and Heifers Dancing

   Written by on November 25, 2015 at 2:26 pm

This weekend my bride Management informed me we were going to a Bull Writing competition. Since that is what I do here, and especially since my usual dull boring and uneventful life had been a little more flat than usual, I thought this was a good idea.

Imagine my surprise when we arrived at a fairground and were surrounded by large, hairy, horny creatures. Then we went down to the pens, which were filled with large male bovines. I haven’t seen that much bull since the last writer’s conference.

The stories in this column are true. Averett lives a dull life in rural Southside Virginia with his wife Management, two children and a rotating assortment of goats, dogs, cats, snakes and other local fauna.

The stories in this column are true. Averett lives a dull life in rural Southside Virginia with his wife Management, two children and a rotating assortment of goats, dogs, cats, snakes and other local fauna.

Even after 30 years my bride continues to surprise me. There has never been any indication she was interested in bulls or bull riders or anything similar. I had a similar revelation a few years ago when the preacher announced in church some guy named Ivan the Terrible was going to speak. Now, I’ve read about Mr. Terrible but I was pretty certain he died a few centuries ago.

We believe in an afterlife but in general we don’t believe the after-life and the current life intermix so I wasn’t expecting much from Mr. Terrible. Besides, I’m certain he wasn’t Presbyterian.

Then the preacher started talking about some other guys named Jake the Snake, Rick Flair and The Blue Cyclone or somebody and my bride jumped up with a shouted Ye-haw!

I thought they must be preachers from her Pentecostal background but as it turned out they were professional “rasslers.”  That is not a misspelling. I’ve seen wrestling and what they do is nothing like it.

You just never know what a spouse might have lurking around from their past. Management claims to have had similar surprises but I don’t know what they could be.

So, there we were attending a bull-riding competition.  From my perspective there was more falling, running and limping than riding but what do I know about bull?

The concept appears to be simple.  The bull (weighing three quarters of a ton or so) is trapped in a chute. The “rider” gets to wrap a rope around his (the bull’s) chest and can hang on to that rope with one hand. The other hand is apparently supposed to be held above the head.

The chute is opened and after 8 seconds a horn blows. If the rider is still on the bull he or she is considered to have “made the ride” or “covered the bull” and the ride was a success. Then the judges give points based on difficulty, style and performance.

Apparently both bulls and riders have fans and apparently both bulls and riders are trained professionals.

The bulls, with names like Snot Jammer, Dynamite, Crossfire, Demon and other happy names, act fairly dangerously. They buck, twist, twirl, stomp and gyrate until the rider is no longer riding. Obviously the bull doesn’t realize he loses after eight seconds and continues to buck until the rider is no longer on board. Then he will playfully chase a few other people and return to the corral like a conquering hero.

Some of the rides are so short they are over almost as soon as they start.  In one case even the bull seemed surprised. He gave the rider a reproachful look as if saying, “This was a disappointment. You were finished before I even got started well; you are going to have to do better than this.” I can’t remember the details but I’m certain I’ve seen that look somewhere before.

It seemed to me that half of the audience could relate to the bull on this; the other half (me included) could relate to the rider.  We will not discuss this any further.

All in all, watching the bull riding was fun. Management didn’t “holler” any more than she would have at her former church. As always, I watched the entertainment AND the audience.  I almost got into trouble on this. There were a couple of little heifers dancing that I was watching. Management asked me why they weren’t freezing since we were wearing coats and hats and they were wearing jeans and flannel shirts and WE were cold.  “Apparently,” I replied, “they are hotter than you.”

I thought it was obvious. If they had been as cold as we were they would have put on more clothes. Since they didn’t, they must have been hotter.  I did notice an immediate drop in the temperature about that time.  There was a chill in the air that wasn’t there before.

I’ll let you know if I figure it out.

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