You won’t find this Roulette in any casino – Sidney Herald Leader

Posted: March 16, 2021 at 2:48 am

Im a huge rodeo fan. I have attended everything from local small town rodeos to Cheyenne Frontier Days to PBR events and Ive enjoyed them all. I know Sidney has a big event coming up later this year and I look forward to attending this one for the first time.

While it wasnt an actual rodeo, I did get the chance to see what its like to actually be a participant a few years back. It was actually about 20 years back.

I was working on a ranch in Wickenburg, Arizona and a radio ad said a bar in Phoenix offered bull riding a couple of times a week. It was basically a chance for those learning to ride bulls to get some practice in, however anyone who was willing to pay the $20 fee was allowed to ride.

Being born with more gumption than brains, I saw this as the perfect chance to give it a try.

I arrived at the bar, which had a small arena connected to the building. This was a real-deal arena complete with a grandstand, announcer, rodeo clown, pickup man and live bulls.

I have to admit I was pretty excited.

As I headed to the sign-up table, I stopped a moment to look over the bulls. I noticed only one had horns. Huge horns. No problem, I thought. Its not likely Ill get the only bull with horns.

I paid my $20 and told the guy it was my first time.

He said, Ill put you on one of the easiest ones in that case. He then pointed down in the pen and said, See that one with the horns. His name is Roulette. Thats your bull.

I must admit I was slightly concerned. Not concerned enough to back out but still concerned.

I proceeded to the staging area where all the sho-nuff bull riders were prepping for their rides. Im pretty sure I was twice as old as every one of them.

Of course, I had no idea of how to get ready but I kinda watched the others and tried to copy what they did as best I could.

A short time later folks came out of the bar and sat in the grandstands, the announcer and clown did their thing and the show started.

I was about the fourth rider up.

I climbed down into the chute and it was total chaos from that point on.

One cowboy was holding on to me in case the bull decided to go crazy and he needed to pull me out of the chute. All the other cowboys were hollering for me to make the ride. The fella in charge helped cinch my hand in the rope. As he did so, he said, When you hit the ground get up and get to the fence.

While I knew very little about riding a bull, that much I was pretty sure of.

I nodded my head and the gate opened. The announcer said, This is Mark Berryman and he is making his first ride tonight.

There was a sudden surge as the bull leapt out of the chute. I felt him hop two or three times. As he did I thought, Im going to be OK if it dont get no worse than this.

A split second after that thought I suddenly saw the ground coming at my face at a high rate of speed. I hit the ground hard and as instructed, jumped to my feet and headed to the fence.

It was then I understood why some refer to a cowboy being thrown off a bull as being a yard dart.

I have no idea exactly what happened between thinking I was going to make the ride and hitting the ground. I know I did not voluntarily release the rope because I strained every muscle from my fingers to my shoulder on my riding arm. I am guessing Roulette lived up to his name and went into a spin to the left because I had exited the back of the bull to the right.

The fella that runs the show started telling me what I needed to do on my next ride. I politely told him there would not be a next ride. Once was plenty enough.

As I said in the beginning. Im looking forward to the Richland County Fair & Rodeo this August. Just dont expect to see me on the back of a bull.

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You won't find this Roulette in any casino - Sidney Herald Leader

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