Sunday, May 25, 2008

Bay Area Bull Bash

I went to the Mill Casino's Bay Area Bull Bash and that was fun!
Besides a lot of bull riding, which is always exciting, they also had "Dancing horses" and a cowboy mounted shooting demonstration. A trained Andalusian stallion and Friesian stallion perform to music. The man who was riding them just sold a trained friesian stallion for $200,000 and the one he was on today was in training.

I love animals, so I walked around behind the chutes to look at the bulls. I took some pictures, and a man came up and said, "Hey, take this bull's picture!" and started to climb over the fence into the bull pen...
"His name is Preacher."
"You're going in there with him?"
"Yup, he loves to be scratched. I wouldn't do this with those other bulls, though."
He scratched Preacher's head and told me he liked cookies.

Bulls chillin' behind the chutes where they had hay and water before they had to go to work stompin' cowboys.

Most bulls are pretty mean to anything that gets in their way-- people, animals, fences, or even other bulls! But just like with any animal, if you handle them alot, they can get somewhat tame (but just like horses or other big animals, are still always dangerous).

After bucking and chasing his rider, this bull walked around the arena and looked out at the crowds. He then walked out the gait back into the pens where his flank strap is removed and he's turned back loose.

I don't know if you could ever get tired of watching the bulls. They have an air of dignity-- after bucking and stomping a cowboy, many of them calmly looked around at the audience with their heads held high, and then walked slowly out of the gait, as if to show us they did their job well, and were in no hurry to leave the arena.

Many of the bulls just trotted right out their gait after performing.

They almost seem trained-- they stand in the chutes, wait for them to be opened, explode in a bucking frenzy of power, try to smash a few people, then look around at everyone and walk with dignity out of the arena-- not bleeding, limping, or running for their life out of the arena as the cowboys do. I think the bulls are so proud because they always win-- they always buck the cowboy off. Even if he lasts for a full 8 seconds, he hops off as quick as he can and runs away-- and the bull always gets the satisfaction of chasing him in front of all the spectators before proudly walking out of the arena.

Thank goodness he was wearing a helmet-- but he still left bleeding.

The most amusing part was the bull poker. People from the audience had a chance to pay $50 to sign up to play... and the winner gets all the fees. There's a plastic table and chairs, and people sit down and the rules were explained as:
1. You can't be drunk
2. You must sign a release saying that you won't sue them if you get injured or die, and by competing, you're acknowleding you're an idiot (basically)
3. You can't move your chair; last one sitting in the chair wins.

The players were given helmets and vests, and seated in the arena.

They turned a small bull loose in the pen with four people, and after trotting around the arena a bit, the bull turned, chased the clowns up the wall, then turned toward the poker players and in one shot tore through the table and two players, butting and stomping over them.

I got a lot of pictures of bulls bucking people off-- but not so many as the rides. The bulls were actually ridden for such a short amount of time it was difficult to get good riding shots! I have many pictures of cowboys getting thrown or chased, or bulls walking around in the arena, but very few of successful rides.