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"Night at the Rodeo"

Updated on May 28, 2011

Big, Bad, Bull!

"Steamy Night In Georgia"

It was a hot, muggy night in Georgia.....The stench of manure was in the air, but the excitement was all around! It would be an interesting night for me and my buddy Andy. The year was 1995, and I was looking for my usual adrenaline rush. Andy and I had been training for some time on mechanical bulls at a local hangout, but I wanted more. I wanted to feel the power of a massive bull, I wanted to see if I had what it took to, as they say..."Ride for Eight." We were sitting around one night after riding the mechanical bull, and Andy dared me to find a place with bulls, and to ride one. He didn't think I'd do it, but he didn't know me too well either.

At the time, I was serving in the USAF as a medical technician. I loved danger, so I tried hobbies that kept me on the edge. Motocross, Enduro's, etc. kept me busy on weekends and then the bull riding dare came into play. I finally found a ranch in GA. that would allow anyone to try their hand at it every Tuesday night, rain or shine, as long as you signed the waiver so you couldn't sue them if you were hurt or killed. My girlfriend at the time was nervous, but she knew I was going to do it no matter what she said. The time finally came....I drove from South Carolina to meet them in GA. for the ride of my life. Like I mentioned earlier, it was a muggy, hot night and the sweat was pouring off of me as I stepped into the trailer to sign up. They dropped our names into a hat and the bull's names into another. I knew some of the bulls were mean, and I prayed I didn't get the worst of them. One by one, they called our names and then the bull's name. Here it was, my name was called.....The anticipation killed me, waiting to hear which bull would have the honor of kicking my ass around the arena. "Red Alert" was the lucky one.....He was a massive animal, around 2000 lbs. and he had the look of a killer! I walked behind the chutes, and found him in the holding corral, showing his dominance over the other bulls. He was bigger than all the others in that corral, and his back seemed as wide as a sheet of plywood. A lump grew in my throat, and I could feel my stomach churning as well.

I knelt and prayed for a safe ride, and for me to reach the safe haven of the chutes once I was thrown or after jumping off of Red Alert. I looked into the crowd to find my support....She had her head buried in her hands, praying Andy or myself wouldn't be killed. Finally, she saw me and waved until I turned and walked back to the riding chutes. It wouldn't be long now, since I was in the second round. The crowd was going wild, and a few cowboys had had their bells rung already. That didn't go over too well with me, and I tried not to think of it. I had trained for this moment for over a year. I kept going through my routine....Sit up straight, lift on the rope, chin tucked, toes out, and keep lifting for the stars!!

The time had come!! "Randolph! You're in chute one on Red Alert!" My stomach tossed and turned, and I instantly dry heaved as my nerves took over. I finished heaving behind the chutes, cleared my throat, and my mind....I was now ready, in the zone, and focused. It was like nothing else mattered now....I went through the motions one more time before stepping over and down onto Red's wide back. His muscle's were ripped and I could feel his power just sitting on his back. My legs felt like I was sitting on an elephant's back, that's how big this bull really was...HUGE! He blew and snorted, anxiously awaiting that moment when the gate would bust open and he'd take off like a rocket.....I wrapped my rope around him and Andy pulled it tight as I wrapped my left hand into the suicide wrap. "What was I thinking?!!" I pulled my hat down tight, said a quick prayer, and looked out in the crowd one last time for a last good-bye to my girlfriend. It was now or never.....The chute boss screamed, "You ready cowboy?!!" I screamed back at him...."Hell yes, open the gate!!"......I heard him yell, 'Cowboy Up!", as he opened the gate!!! Red busted out of there like a locomotive, almost leaving me in the chute! He jumped high off the ground, bucking right, then left, all the while twisting sideways, rolling his belly to throw me off. I turned with him every chance, I spurred him on each jump, and held tight as he turned into my hand, giving me the advantage to ride for eight. The roar of the crowd gave me the boost I needed. Finally, I could feel my hand losing it's grip with each passing second. I was almost there, 4....5.....6.....7.....7.1.....7.2 seconds and I flew off his right side right into the fence. My right arm caught a post and at the same time, his rear right hoof met with my groin area, NOT GOOD! He turned, looked me in the eye, as to say "Good job Cowboy", and turned back to disappear into the corral for his champion's pile of hay. I, on the other hand layed on the arena floor, bruised and battered but happy that I had done it without being killed. Andy was slapping me on the back for the ride, since his lasted only a split second. "You did it man, you did it!!"....he screamed. The bruises and girlfriend lasted for another month, but the memories will last a lifetime. I rode many more bulls over the next two years, only breaking a wrist and being knocked out twice.....I was one of the lucky ones as they said, "It's not IF you get hurt, but when and how bad." I'll never forget those days, the good, the bad, and definitely the ugly! Cowboy Up!!

"Hangin on for 8!"

"Ride Cowboy Ride!"

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    • profile image

      Jrandol62 

      6 years ago

      Hey PDXK...Here's my thoughts on life. I'm an adventurist of sorts...Growing up, I watched Bob Hannah, and many of his friends race around a motocross track, doing the doubles, triples, and whoop de whoops....When I turned 33 (1993), I bought my first dirtbike and a few friends and I would race motocross at local tracks, and enter enduro races throughout the Southeast. As I served in the USAF in those years(86-97), I also decided to challenge myself with bull riding. The first ride (7.3 secs) was from a dare a buddy of mine gave me. I took the dare and ran with it, as they say. Two years and two broken bone later, I decided it was time to do other things. What I'm getting at is this.....We have one life here on this earth right? I don't want to be the guy who turns eighty, and is sitting on his front porch thinking..."I should've done more with my life." There is SO much adventure out there and SO little time to see and do it all. My son was about 8 when I was doing all that crazy stuff, and I realized I had to live for him, so that is why I quit riding bulls/motox. I couldn't take care of him if I was killed or laid up. He is 25 now, and big enough to join me in ALL we do these days. He and I are cage diving with Great Whites this September, Lord willing. If you have children, which I think you do from looking at your profile pic....enjoy life with them friend, they grow up quickly, and cherish every moment you have with them. Yes, there will be times when you are frustrated, we all have those, but love them madly....They are ALL blessings from above friend. Live your life with some adventure in it every now and then, it makes for a good story my friend!! I wish the best life has to offer, today and every day!! See my other hubs for more of my adventures in life....Take care friend!

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

      Justin W Price 

      6 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      well, at least u tried it. that's more then I can say :-)

    • Jrandol62 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeff 

      6 years ago from Where ever the road takes me....

      Yes aniperez....at times it was scary, anyone that says it isn't is lying. PDXK, they DID seem like hours, and in slow motion....LOL, and MsDora, the joy of the memories lives with me forever, and I sometimes look back at the ones I remember the most and reflect on the crazy times I had as a young man. Will always be adventourous, even in my late years. I turn 50 this year, and I'm still looking for the next adrenaline rush!! God bless you all in everything you do!! JVR

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      6 years ago from The Caribbean

      I admire your bravery and your interesting presentation. I bet the joy from the memories are worth the minor hurts. Thanks for sharing.

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

      Justin W Price 

      6 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      wow. I've always admired the insanity of rodeo cowboys. To ride a bull for eight seconds doesn't seem long... but, then, when you're on a bull, I imagine each second seems like an hour.

      great story. Up and shared.

    • anjperez profile image

      anjperez 

      6 years ago

      scary!

    • profile image

      Jrandol62 

      7 years ago

      Thanks man....C.O. Lucky he didn't get killed doing what the cowboys do. Thanks for the kind words....I guess you've figured out I'm kind of an adrenaline junkie?...LOL Thanks again!

    • Cogerson profile image

      UltimateMovieRankings 

      7 years ago from Virginia

      Great story.....7.2 seconds is very impressive....even the great Chad Ochocinco could only manage 1.3 seconds the other day....great writing and with a great point of view approach....voted up and useful

    • Jrandol62 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeff 

      7 years ago from Where ever the road takes me....

      Thank you sunshine! In college, my professors always told me that....I guess they were right...LOL Keep checking back for more crazy stories! God Bless ya!

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      7 years ago from Orlando, FL

      You are an awesome storyteller! Great pics to go along with your story! Keep 'em coming!!!!

    • Jrandol62 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeff 

      7 years ago from Where ever the road takes me....

      Where'd my pic go? What tha?....LOL

    • profile image

      Jrandol62 

      7 years ago

      Yes, put it on your bucket list!! Is great to see in person, especially from the back of a bull!! WHO HOO!! LOL Thanks for checking my hub out friend!!

    • trimar7 profile image

      trimar7 

      7 years ago from New York

      I have never been to a rodeo but I hope I get to attend one. I'll have to put it on my bucket list :)

    • Jrandol62 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeff 

      7 years ago from Where ever the road takes me....

      HAHAHA....Yes, may be crazy....I'm glad I lived as well! LOL Life's too short to sit and watch it go by though. Live it to the fullest!

    • profile image

      marellen 

      7 years ago

      You're crazy......I'm glad you lived.....lol

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