Saturday, February 11, 2006

Mamas DO let your babies grow up to be cowboys

Mamas DO let your babies grow up to be cowboys
BY BRYCE DONOVAN
The Post and Courier
Only in the South, a place where we teach our kids that 5 - 2 = Dale Earnhardt, could a sport like bull riding flourish.
But just like chainsaw-related deaths and low SAT scores, sports involving farm animals always have been an integral part of our cultural fabric. And as surprising as it might sound, I can honestly say, after spending three hours at the North Charleston Coliseum last weekend watching the guys of the Professional Bull Riders tour, I'm proud to be a Southerner. Kind of.
You know why? Because in my humble opinion, there is nothing cooler than being a professional bull rider (just keep in mind, I also think Kenny G is cool). Now you might be saying, "Bryce, why would anybody in his right mind choose a profession where the No. 1 answer listed under 'reason for retirement' is 'death'?" Good question. That's why this week I'll share the top eight reasons why being a bull rider is what all Americans should strive to be.
REASON NO. 1: THEY COMMAND RESPECT.
Professional bull riders are, without question, the most manly guys on the face of the Earth. In the grand hierarchy of manly professions, it goes: astronaut, lion tamer, Alaskan king crab fisherman, timber cutter, Alaskan king crab tamer, lion cutter, bull rider.
So no matter what occupation somebody else has, if you're a bull rider, you can pretty much call him out.
BULL RIDER: "So, what do you do for a living?"
GUY: "I'm a firefighter."
BULL RIDER: "Wuss."
REASON NO. 2: EVERY DAY IS CASUAL FRIDAY.
Outside of joining the Village People, being a bull rider is the only profession where you can actually wear chaps to work. And if that wasn't enough, under those chaps you can wear either A) nothing or B) jeans so tight people will swear they were painted on.
REASON NO. 3: STAMINA IS NOT A FACTOR.
Unlike in a successful relationship, the key to bull riding is making it only eight seconds. Stay atop your bull for that long and you'll have a long and successful career. Yee-haw!
REASON NO. 4: THEY HAVE COOL NAMES.
If you're a stockbroker, you're pretty much limited to names such as Lee, Michael or Darren. But if you become a bull rider, you get to go by a sweet name such as current PBR members (I swear I am not making these up) Wiley Petersen, Tater Porter or B.J. Kramps. I've already decided on mine: Stump McNinja.
REASON NO. 5: SO DO THE BULLS.
It's not just the riders that get to pick cool names, the bulls are in on the action, too. For instance, on any given evening, B.J. Kramps could end up riding Collateral Damage. Or Tater Porter could sit atop Caramel Corn. Or Wiley Peterson could match up against Honkey Cat.
REASON NO. 6: THEY MAKE LOTS OF MONEY.
Sure Cody Whitney has broken his shoulder, wrist, foot and face (twice) in his six years as a professional bull rider, but still, he wouldn't ever consider changing professions.
"Do you know how early you have to get up in the morning if you're a banker?" he asked me.
While I conceded that was a good point, I asked him if he knew how often bankers broke their faces on the job.
"Did I mention I made $200,000 last year," he added.
Never mind.
REASON NO. 7: THE SPONSORS ARE AWESOME.
Most professional athletes have lame sponsors such as car companies, cell phone carriers or fast-food chains. But in professional bull riding, these guys are sponsored by companies such as Jack Daniel's, Fritos and U.S. Smokeless Tobacco. Real sponsors for real men.
WILEY: "Hey Tater, what you doin' after the big meet tonight?"
TATER: "Wait ... did you just say 'big meet'?"
WILEY: "Yeah, I guess I did." (Laughter.)
TATER: "Seriously though, I'll probably chew some tobacco, eat a couple of bags of Fritos, wash it down with some Jack Daniel's and then take a ride on my Branson tractor. You should come. Oh, and bring the kids."
REASON NO. 8: THEY GET ALL THE CHICKS.
Sure I might be single, and sure I might consider scalding hot coffee thrown in your face as flirting, but if there's one thing I know, it's women. Nothing impresses them more than a guy who risks his life for absolutely no good reason whatsoever except maybe for the glory of being sponsored by Oberto Beef Jerky.
In conclusion, bull riders get lots of cool free stuff, the adoration of women all over the globe and cool names to boot. So if there's any profession cooler than bull rider, America, I'd like to hear it.
Just be warned, I already have my response ready: wuss.
Bryce Donovan wanted to ride the bull, but a small technical problem came up at the last minute (he wet his pants and started crying).

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