My next release, Cat and Mouse is due out on 1 October. I panicked a little when I realized it was just over a week away. Duncan Ross, the hero, is a feline shifter. He also participates in rodeos as a bull rider, hence the topic for my TT today.
1. Bull riding is a rodeo event. The cowboy must climb on board a bull and remain on the bull’s back for eight seconds.
2. It’s a risky sport and those eight seconds have been called the “most dangerous eight seconds in sports.”
3. It’s thought that bullriding originated in 1864 where two groups of ranch hands met in Deer Trail, Colorado. They had contests to see which group was the best at ranch work and from this, rodeo was born.
4. Each bull ride is scored out of a possible 100 points. Half of the score is based on the bull and his performance – how he bucks etc. The rest of the score is based on the cowboy’s ride and how he matches his moves to the bulls. The bull rider must ride with one hand and is disqualified if he touches himself or the bull during the eight-second ride. The clock starts when the bull’s shoulder or hip passes across the plane of the bucking chute. The clock stops when the rider falls off or his hand comes out of the rope he holds onto.
5. The bulls are stars themselves and are extremely valuable. Not all bulls are good buckers.
6. Bull riders have specific equipment. These days some wear helmets instead of the traditional hat. A protective vest is worn to protect cowboys against punctures from the bull’s horns and/or hooves. It also absorbs shock. They wear chaps, which also help protect them plus a glove on the riding hand. A special substance called rosin is used to help the glove adhere to the rope. And finally the bull rope is a flat rope braided from nylon or grass that goes around the bull’s girth area behind his front legs. The rope has a handle, constructed partially of leather that is braided into it and serves as the cowboy’s only anchor for the duration of his ride.
7. Cowboys travel a rodeo circuit. If they achieve the highest score, they win prize money and also receive points. At the end of each season the cowboy with the highest number of points wins the “tour”. The Professional Bull Riders circuit structure is composed of three levels of competition. The elite Built Ford Tough Series is comparable to the (Major League). The U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company Challenger Tour and Enterprise Tour are comparable to the (Minor League). The entry level tier of competition is known as the Discovery Tour, and it provides more riders to get involved and test their skill. ~ from the Professional Bull Riders website.
8. The bulls also have a similar competition and receive points. They’re athletes in their own right.
9. Although rodeo originated in America, other countries have adopted the sport including Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand.
10. How do I know so much about bulls? My father used to be a stock contractor for New Zealand rodeos. They were big – very big – and I liked to have a fence between me and the bulls.
11. Bodacious was the biggest, baddest, meanest bull of them all, knwon for headbutting his riders. He was retired in 1995 because even the world’s best cowboys had trouble riding him and many were injured.
12. Ty Murray is seven times World Champion All-around cowboy. He retired in 2002 at age 32. He runs through the basics of bull riding.
13. Cat and Mouse is due out from Ellora’s Cave on 1 October, 2008. Go here to read an excerpt.
QUESTION: Would you consider riding a bull? I know what my answer is but I thought I’d ask…
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I’m also guest blogging over at Shape Shifter Romance today. I’m talking about alien cats and also giving away a download from my Middlemarch Mates series. I hope you’ll come and say hello.