Nine of the 10 riders at the Longhorn Friday could have stayed at home. There was a combination of green, or inexperienced bulls, and plain old mistakes that put the riders off of the bull’s backs and into the dirt.

Daniel Bryant led off the night on a green bull. The bull had not been out of the pasture very long it seemed, and Bryant needed more time in the practice pen. Not a very good way to start the show.

Bryant made the first buck out of the chute barely hanging on and by the second move he had bounced to the bull’s neck and hung over the head of the bull like a hood ornament on a 1950 Pontiac.  When the bull’s front hooves hit the dirt, Bryant slid off of the right side and the ride was over.

The best show of the night was just starting. The bull, so green he needed fertilizer, refused to go to the back pens. Mike Cormier held the exit gate open as usual, but the bull balked every time he approached the open gate. It was obvious that the bull needed some time in the practice pen as well. Bulls need to be trained as well as the riders need to learn to ride.

Chipper Nance rode his mighty horse Boar Hog into the arena and began to try to rope the bull. Nance would throw the loop and the bull would make some move of his horns and the loop would not go over the horns. When there was a semblance of a catch. Boar Hog would go into low gear and begin to pull the bull. Often the bull would charge Boar Hog and hit the horse in the rump with his head.

Cormier got exercise keeping the gate open and Nance got roping practice as Boar Hog was butted four or five times. The bull, who should not be back until he learns arena etiquette, commanded the show for 20 minutes before Nance got a solid catch, Boar Hog pulled like a John Deere and Cormier was finally able to slam the gate shut and the bull was pushed to the back pen.

Bulls like that are a waste of time in a show and should not be brought to a show until they have become familiar with the routine. They need to be trained so that they learn to look for the exit gate. A bull that refuses to exit is a time waster.

Ride No. 2 went a little smoother. Dillon McNeil, a regular at the Longhorn, drew a bull that showed a little promise. McNeil hung for some spins and bucks that covered a bit of ground in the arena. He managed to hang with every move the bull made and look fairly competent doing it.

McNeil kept his seat and by doing so kept good posture and control. When the buzzer buzzed and the judges scored the ride he would earn 76 points. It was a good ride and would end up the only covered ride of the night. McNeil would earn $650 for those eight seconds of work.

Cody Wilson followed McNeil and was off the minute the gate opened. He came out leaning forward and as the bull moved out and made the first jump, Wilson was carried even more forward. In about three seconds he was going, going, gone, and the ride was over.

Keegan Lab ray was off in his usual two seconds. He was another rider that manages to be out of position when the gate opens. This buck off put him in front of the bull when he hit the ground and at one point Lab ray was looking over his right shoulder as the bull lowered his head and charged. Lab ray showed expertise as a fence climber and escaped a horn in the ‘whoosis.’

Last August at the first Longhorn rodeo, Nathan Dupry was injured in a saddle bronc ride. He broke a handful of ribs and has continued to ride since that night. He is still hurting and it is affecting his ability to control his rides. Friday night he had driven to the Longhorn from Carthage, Texas to enter the show.

Dupry is tougher than an old boot and shows it every time he enters a bull riding. Most people would take a little time off and recover, but Dupry continues to work a steady job and ride on the weekends.

Friday he made about half the time needed for a ride and then was bucked off. As he landed and tried to get his footing, it was obvious he was hurting. “Cowboy Up,” must be his personal motto. When he gets over this injury and gets his form back he will be a formidable contender.

The rest of the night was status quo. That is until the next to last rider, Joey Johnson.

Johnson made three or so seconds and then started on his downward trip to the arena floor. In the process of the slide off, he had the misfortune to have his body go under the front hooves. Johnson was face down as the bull’s hooves came down in the shoulder blade area of his back.

Several hundred pounds of bull hoof on the back of a person lying on hard ground has the effect of emptying the lungs in addition to whatever else they may damage.

Johnson was out cold for about ten minutes. In addition to refilling his lungs, he also had to be checked for other injuries before he could be moved. After he regained consciousness, he was able to walk out of the arena with assistance.

As the action restarted, Jace Coleman ended the show with a short ride and a no score.

It was an unusual night, but then most bull ride nights are unpredictable.

March 5, will begin the next buckle series. The series, Listen to the Thunder, will continue until June 18. Once again there will be the $500 custom designed Broken Arrow silver and gold buckle, and $1,000 added money at the finals.

There will also be a new condition at this buckle series. A rider must ride in at least five shows to be able to qualify for the buckle and the money at the series.

This series will bring back some of the riders who are chasing the buckle. There are a few riders who have ridden at the Longhorn since the beginning of the indoor bull ridings who would like nothing better than to put the Longhorn buckle on their belt.
Maybe this will be the time that one of them gets lucky. One thing that would even the playing floor would be that the producer brings in some experienced bulls with an even degree of difficulty.

In bull riding the rider earns half the score, the bull the other half. They are a team of sorts and every rider should be given an equal shot at the buckle and the big bucks.