Bull riding draws fans, legendary musicians
Ray Cotton, owner of the club, had a dream to build the best bull-riding venue available anywhere and he has succeeded. Cotton and his daughter, Tina, own and operate the only indoor bull-riding arena within miles of the Golden Triangle area. The arena was designed and built exclusively for the Texas Longhorn Club.
Every first and third Friday night the bull riding starts at 9:30.
The bull riding is under the direction of Coleman Peveto, a rodeo announcer with 40 years experience. There few areas of Texas and Louisiana where Peveto has not been booked to announce a rodeo. The Cottons have given Peveto the authority to book the best bucking stock available and to hire experienced arena staff for each event.
Peveto’s experience and contacts in the rodeo business have enabled him to do just that.
SYJ Productions of Buna is the stock producer responsible for the bulls at each event. Shane Young owns SYJ and takes care to select bulls from his herd that have the ability to give a good ride and earn highpoints. The ability of the bull to buck is important because one half of the points earned on the ride come from the bull. The rider earns the other half.
In the arena are two judges who each score the rider on a basis of one to 25 points. The bull is scored in the same manner. Each judge gives a score up to a total of 50 points. A perfect score would be 100 points.
Judging this past Friday night were Peanut Bullion, an experienced local rider, and Dickie Richards. Richards is a member of the Texas-Louisiana Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame and is a past bull riding champion. Both of these judges brought years of experience in bull riding to their judging.
Responsible for the safety of the bull riders is the bull fighter. Cody Chesson is doing that job at the present time. Chesson is experienced, agile, and not afraid to get in close when the need arises. Chesson went in several times at the last session to distract the bulls when the riders got in trouble as they were bucked off.
Friday night there were 12 bull riders on the book to ride. They began getting ready by sorting out their gear behind the chutes. The hand ropes were hung and a coating of rosin was rubbed into the rope. This sticky rosin is the only aid that a rider has. The rosin on the rope and on the glove helps to keep the hand from losing grip. As the bulls were brought into the bucking chutes the riders began putting on the chaps and their spurs and looking for their bull and getting ready “to go.”
The first bull out turned back into the rider’s hand and the ride was over in about four seconds.
Second up was Jonathan Minix on bull number 32. Minix managed to hold on for the required eight seconds and scored 76 points for his ride.
The next six riders were bucked off before the buzzer sounded for the eight seconds. The bulls had turned back just out of the chute or had come out and started spinning. The riders had trouble staying in position, falling to one side, getting out of balance and losing the grip on the rope.
Chesson remained in close and ready to go in when he was needed. Chesson grabbed a bull’s horn a time or two to distract the bull away from a rider.
Joshua Marks was the ninth rider. His draw for the night was bull number 33. This was a good paring of rider and bull. 33 bucked hard after turning back right out of the chute. Marks was able to “keep his seat”. His body stayed in position and enabled him to stay close up on his gripping hand. The buzzer sounded and the judges scored the ride 83 points.
The next three riders were bucked off. The most spectacular buck-off of the night was the last rider. Hunter Bergeron, a full time bull rider from Amarillo, drew the hard-bucking bull number 220. The first two jumps pulled Bergeron back on the bull causing him to lose his grip. His position was on the rear of the bull as the bull gave one final jump. Bergeron was bumped off of the “rumble seat” and did a back flip in the air before he landed hard in the dirt.
Each session of bull riding has $250 added money. That is money provided by the Longhorn in addition to the entry fees that the riders pay. Friday night the payoff to Marks for first place was $489 and $250 for second place to Minix.
Entry fees for each session are $50 and the bull ridings are open to anyone wanting to ride a bull for the chance to earn a payoff.
Friday night is Ladies Night with ladies over 21 getting in free. Beer and bar is $1 for everyone.
The action is fast-paced and offers an opportunity to see bull riding closer up than most venues.
The new season will be starting soon. The riders will accumulate points over the season. In addition to the payoff at each event there will be a $500 buckle awarded to the first place winner.
Each month at the Texas Longhorn there is a concert by some of the best talent available. Feb.1 it was David Allen Coe. Coe took the stage at 10:30, playing to a large crowd. The Texas Longhorn is able to handle hundreds of people and not make it seem packed. There was room to move and with the placement of the stage the view was great from anywhere in the club.
Coe gave his usual outlaw performance, highly charged and a mix of his top hits and the fan’s own favorites. “Jack Daniels if You Please” was clearly a crowd favorite. When Coe sang “I was drunk the day my mom got outta prison” the crowd sang along with him. These are only two examples of the way Coe can still give his audiences more than their money’s worth. There were girls on guy’s shoulders and many arms waving. Everyone was having a great time.
On March 7 “The Timeless Duo,” The Bellamy Brothers, will be the featured entertainment that will follow the bull riding. Advanced tickets are available now.
For more information you may phone the Texas Longhorn at 337-589-4618 or go to the website: www.thetexaslonghorn.com