The opening session of the new series Listen to the

Thunder at the Texas Longhorn was enough to make the problems of the last

session go away. The bulls performed better and the riders looked better. It

was a good night in the arena.

Nathan Dupry blew out of the chute for the first

ride of the night on a big, bad brown bull. The first move out presented the classic bull riding picture with the bull’s rear high in the air

and Dupry leaning back with good posture. Dupry has not looked that good in a

long time. Unfortunately Dupry’s injuries are still keeping him from being all he can be. He made a good five seconds on the bull but was not able to

last for the last three seconds needed to score.

Joey Bergeron’s pockets were empty Friday night so rodeo

director Coleman Peveto allowed Bergeron to ride as a “mount out.” If a rider

cannot pay the entry fee he may be allowed to ride “just

for fun.” He cannot score or win any money. Bergeron’s fun did

not last more than three seconds on the second ride of the night. As he hit the dirt

the bull turned and came back on him as he was getting to his feet. The bull

lowered his head and rolled Bergeron like a frozen turkey on a tile floor.

Bullfighter Bubba Tacker ran in and distracted the

bull. Bergeron was able to gain his footing and make a getaway.

As if once was not enough, Bergeron would come back

for a second turn in the next to last ride. His luck was not any

better, lasting three seconds. As he tried to regain

his footing, it was almost a replay of the first ride, except this time the

bull’s aim was off and he did not put a horn to the rump as he

passed by.

Bergeron’s second bull did not want

to leave the arena at the previous show. Someone must have told him a

bull that does not learn to leave quickly when he gets his back empty will

quite possibly end up on a truck to the sale barn before usually heading to the meat


At any rate, the bull bucked off Bergeron and then

looked for the exit gate like he was an old pro. With a little more seasoning,

he may become a good bull.

Sometime bull rider and sometime rodeo announcer

Shannon Faircloth made another appearance in the arena. Faircloth

came out off balance to the right side and continued to lean right and go to

the ground in less time than it takes to tell the tale. In about two seconds he

was on the ground looking over his right shoulder at the bull making a run for

him. Once again it was Tacker to the rescue.

Josh Barrentine made the first eight second ride of

the night. His speckled bull came out of the chute, turned right and moved into

a series of spins. Even though he did not buck much his spins were enough to

give Barrentine a fairly difficult time.

Barrentine matched the bull move for move and

managed to keep both his seat and his balance. The buzzer buzzed, and the

judges awarded him a respectable 72 points. At the night’s end that would earn

Barrentine fourth on a night that paid three places. Good score, but no


Marcus Clowers made a few seconds on a big bull that

overpowered him. He made slightly less than half the required time.

Justin Lopez followed Clowers and did not last quite

as long. That set the stage for Dillon McNeil.

McNeil’s bull came out hard and fast and kept McNeil’s

chaps flapping for the entire ride. The bull came off the ground with all

four legs at least twice, with a lot of spins and other bucking motions. McNeil

hung tough until he heard the buzzer then just threw his left leg over the

bull’s right side and hit the ground with both feet moving.

That ride was good for 80 points, second place and


The next four riders were not as lucky.

Travis Prejean 

ended up on the ground with his rear to the bull’s rear in less than

four seconds.

Joey Johnson drew a bull that hopped like a thousand-pound grasshopper. His bull would go straight up with all four hooves clearing

the dirt and come down like a four-legged pile driver. Johnson shook loose with

time on the judge’s watch.

Keegan Labry came out off balance and stayed that

way. No time, no score.

Kyle Blanks was popped off the rumble seat and for a

moment he still had a hand on the rope. It looked like he was walking a bull on

a leash. Thankfully the hand came loose and he avoided looking like a plow.

Billy Joe Griffin was the old man of the arena. Old

enough to be the dad of any of the other riders, he showed the kids how the

grownups can play.

Griffin’s bull came out fast with the turn that

everyone likes to see. After his turn to the right he began a combination of

spins and bucks that would give anyone on his back trouble.

The bull made moves that were not spectacular, but

were moves that would put the rider in the position of having to keep his form

and also think faster that a gale wind to be able to counter and stay in the

game. Griffin did all that he needed to do and did it well. After the buzzer he

got off and walked away, no big deal.

The judges gave him 82 points. He went home in first

place with $365 to buy his gas.

Josh Smith was the last rider of the night. His bull

slowed down for a moment after he left the chute, but later in the ride made

Smith’s chaps flap a time or two. Overall it was a good ride. The bull moved

good in the last few seconds, Smith stayed with him and after the buzzer, the

ride was the third place ride worth 75 points and $146.

If the rest of this series is as good as the first

night it will be worth the time of any rider to stay in the series and make the

five required appearances – to stay in the running for the buckle and the added


It will also be worth the time of any bull riding

fan to attend. In addition to the bulls there are also the amenities of the

Texas Longhorn entertainment complex.

March 12 the arena will turn into seating. The

popular Jamie Johnson will appear in concert. Tickets are nearly sold out

for what promises to be a great show. For tickets call the Longhorn

at 337-589-5647.

The next bull riding is March 19 with a rodeo in the

covered arena following on March 20.