It was a more or less normal night at the Longhorn. Two riders stayed aboard for the needed eight seconds and 14 had a short time aboard; then hit the dirt.

Bull riding is not a sport for the faint of heart. The rider is usually outweighed by his bull by a thousand pounds or more. The bull had the aggravating flank strap tied in an irritating manner on his hind quarter. He is crammed into a chute that he had rather not be crammed into. The hand rope is passed around his front quarter. A bull rider gets on his back and begins to pull on the hand rope. The cowboy gets his backside tight on the bulls backside. Is it any wonder that most bulls are in a foul mood by the time they are let out of the chute? The only thing on the bull’s mind is getting the rider off of his back and getting out of the arena.

At times a bull is so foul-minded as to look around and try to hook the rider, run over the rider, roll the rider like a bowling ball, attack the bull fighter that comes in to save the bull rider from the wreck, give the arena crew a hard time, or just for fun charge around being bullish.

The third session of Listen to the Thunder was just another night at the bull pen. Some bulls were mean, some could care less and a couple showed what bad bulls could do.

The ratio of rides versus buck offs was about average for the Longhorn.

It started with a great ride by Josh Barrentine. He drew Y31, always a good bull. It was possibly the best matchup of the night.

Bull Y31 came out high, hard, and fast, making the turn out of the chute that every rider and bull owner wants to see his bull make. After Y31 cleared the chute he took Barrentine on a ride that could have been programmed at a theme park.

Through it all Barrentine kept his free arm high, kept his balance, kept control of the ride. It was one of the better eight seconds at the Longhorn in a long while.

One problem with making a good ride on the first ride of the night is that the judges will sometimes score a little on the conservative side. There is the possibility of a better ride coming later in the night and a judge will often leave himself a little “wiggle room.” If he scores high too early he may have to give a score later in the night that would indicate the ride was better than it actually was. The logic is a little hard to understand but that is how the game goes.

Barrentine scored 71 points. The ride was better than the score indicated. At the end of the night it would be second place and pay $356.

Not a bad return on the $50 entry fee.

Timmy Faul, coming out in the third slot drew bull 33. Faul’s bull had been “on cows” for a year. The bull had just been roaming the pasture looking for agreeable cows to be bullish with and not doing much else. After a year of this 33 was rusty in the bucking department.

If Faul was not trying to ride too soon after a leg injury he would have ridden 33 into the ground.

When the gate opened 33 came out like the lord of the manor. The aggressive bucking bull is somewhere in his psyche, but was not there this night. Faul got bucked off in short order, but that was due to his not being able to use his legs like he needed to in order to command the ride.

At times a bull that performs like 33 did will have his next trip to the sale barn. Hopefully he had some good genes to pass along in the past year. Maybe he was just too tired to buck.

Rider number six was Casey Stone. Stone drew bull 307, a bull spotted like a butter bean and weighing around 1500 pounds. Keeping in mind that the bull can score 50 points, as can the rider, there could be the possibility that the bull outscored the rider this night.

Bull 307 made four moves that took all four hooves off of the ground at the same time. Going up on these moves is easier on the rider than coming down. The come-downs are bone jarring and can dislodge the rider. This night Stone was not dislodged, but the landings put him out of position.

Stone used his free arm to keep his balance, but his body stayed a little off center for most of the ride. He kept control, but barely.

The judges scored him 72 points. That put him in first place for the night and sent him home with $534.

At this point in the series Barrentine may be the leader. He has placed all three times he has ridden. He has points for first, second, and fourth place finishes. Each rider gets points for riding each session. Barrentine is the only rider to have placed in each session. That should give him the lead. However, rodeo secretary Elizabeth Jackson keeps the official points and she is the final word on who is where in the series.

There is plenty of action to come in the series with the usual $2000 added money and the custom designed Broken Arrow silver buckle for the winner.

Action is picking up in the outdoor arena as well with several team roping, rodeos, barrel races and a pro bull riding event on the calendar.