The Texas Longhorn changed to an open bull riding format, Friday.

There is no series, no accumulation of points, no Broken Arrow buckle, and no big payoff at the end. This is just an old-fashioned Friday night bull riding. The payoff is a jackpot based on the entry fees and there is $250 added money from the Longhorn. 

Most of the bull riders from the past series returned to the arena, with a couple of new faces. Shane Young brought his SYJ Productions team and a good pen of bulls. Rodeo Director Coleman Peveto had everything in order. 

The biggest change of the night was the absence of Boar Hog, Chipper Nance’s pickup horse. Friday night Connie Nance, Chipper’s wife was on Boar Hog. Connie worked him out in the arena before the show started. She showed that the horse has a little fancy footwork in his system, she backed him, turned him, and side-stepped him. The 16 year old horse looked like he was enjoying the workout as well as the crowd. Throughout the bull riding Connie stayed mounted on Boar Hog in the back pen area and let Chipper on his bay horse be ready to go if needed, which was not the case Friday. 

“Doc,” Mike Prado, the paramedic was the one watching the action the closest. Thankfully “Doc” never had to go in the pen, but it was a night when bulls went after riders and bullfighters, alike. 

Starting with the first ride of the night, Danny Dugas on bull 33, the hard times started. Dugas was bucked off early in the ride and bullfighters Bubba Tacker and Jody Pape moved into help. The bull made a quick turn, Tacker was a little close and the war started.

Tacker was trapped by the chute gate on his left and 33 on his right. The bull took a step, lowered his head and caught Tacker in the stomach, pushing him to the ground. Tacker was pinned by the chute and wasn’t able to roll away. All he could do was to “ball up” and take the bull’s head as 33 tried to grind the bullfighter into the ground. Pape moved in, slapped the bull and 33 backed off a little from trying to push Tacker into the dirt. Pape finally got 33’s attention and moved away taking the bull off of Tacker. A little dazed when the war was over, Tacker waved off “Doc” and got ready for the next bull. 

Craig Jackson was the third rider of the night. An occasional participant at the Longhorn, Jackson is qualified on one of the PBR, Professional Bull Riders, circuits. When he has a week off the pro circuit, he looks for a place to ride and keep his form going. The Longhorn, with its indoor arena and always a good pen of bulls, gives riders like Jackson a fine venue to visit. This was a good night for the professional. His big black bull came out with an extremely high buck and did a lot of bucking and spinning for eight seconds, Jackson countered every move the bull made, kept his balance, and looked good the entire ride. The judges awarded him 83 points for the top ride of the night, earning Jackson $366. 

Dawson McKee followed, drawing KB from the bullpen. McKee is a good rider and a full-time cowboy working on ranches around the Dayton area. He is no stranger to either a saddle or a bull’s back, but, lately he’s had some hard luck. 

Peveto says “McKee is just trying too hard.” 

Friday night, this cowboy finally turned his luck around. KB did not perform as well as he should have, but his bucks and turns were enough to keep McKee thinking. Looking good, he covered the ride but only earned 69 points. KB had stumbled and nearly went down on his hind quarters early in the ride and no doubt cost McKee a few points, finishing in third place, but out of the money.

Josh Durant, another Longhorn regular, made a ride that would earn him second place and $244 for the night. He earned that money the hard way. Durant is capable of riding and winning on any night.

The buzzer sounded and the ride scored 73 points. 

Trouble started when Durant was dismounting. Making the move to leave the bull’s back, Durant got his riding hand hung in the rope. For a few seconds it looked ugly, very ugly. Durant was hung and was inside the bull’s turns. He was pinned and there was nothing he could do except “go with the flow.” Tacker and Pape moved in and worked the bull and finally got the bull to straighten out. That gave Durant a chance to finally work his hand out of the rope. 

The whole thing probably took about 15 seconds, but time seemed to stand still. 

Landis Hooks made the last ride of the night. Hooks got bucked off and went down to his knees. His bull spun fast and got his head into Hooks’ backside while he was trying to regain his feet. He was pushing Hooks as bullfighter Pape moved into help. The bull turned away from Hooks and blew into Pape, pushing him to the ground and working him over with his head. For a few seconds Pape disappeared in a cloud of dust. Tacker moved in to help and distracted the bull. Pape was able to escape to the top of the fence.

Tacker got away clean and the show was over. 

The open bull riding will be held the first and third Friday of each month. “We will be starting the rodeos in the new outdoor pen before too much longer, but we will still have our bull riding in this indoor arena too.” said Peveto.