Sunday, 11 September 2011

The Professional Bull Riders Championships

For an animal that doesn’t get much attention from the world at large (ok, city dwellers) for most of the year, it’s funny how the bull is the animal du jour when it comes to events.
Famous events like the running of the bulls, bull fighting, pin the tale on the bull (can you check the last one please? Ed.) enthral and horrify many the world over. In the USA, where the cowboy culture of the parts of the wilder countryside endures, bull riding is the name of the game. And, yearly, in Las Vegas, there is an annual competition: The Professional Bull Riding World Finals. Basically, think of bucking bronco riding, add a heavier and far more aggressive bull and slightly braver rider to the mix and you are there.
This is a big draw too. The finals take place inside The Thomas and Mack arena in Las Vegas over a week from the end of October to the beginning of November. Trials and previous competitions throughout the year have whittled the competition down to the top 45 bucking bull riders in the world- and 7 rounds of competitions throughout the week begin the elimination process. There are literally millions of dollars of prize money up for grabs, for the, er, best grabber and watching the bulls readily shake their riders hard and fast is enough to give you a back ache and a sense of awe (and fear) for the competitors. This is hard core stuff indeed.
Being Vegas, though, a mundane competition in the local church hall would not really be enough- and so the week is a great event in itself. There are banquets, autograph signings, beginners competitions, parties, charity fundraisers and amateur competitions too. But the real deal are the finals themselves.
All in all, this is a superb event which will amaze and frighten (in a good way of course!) any spectator who goes along.


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