Rodeo Life
Each year thousands of cowboys all over the world travel from rodeo to rodeo. They get hurt, broke and utterly disappointed. They lose almost
everything and yet come back for more! The sport is very demanding - mentally and physically. A lot of times rodeo is unfair because cowboys
don`t go up against each other but against judges who decide the score of the efforts. And to be quit honest: Who`s to say the difference
between an 88,25 ride to a 88.50 ride?!? Another reason why it is not always the best who wins is because it is up to the contestant himself to
decide how much time and money he puts into traveling to the rodeos. In football or baseball the teams play the same amount of games to
keep it even. Not so in Rodeo! If a Cowboy does not compete he does not get any points. And then yet another reason why the best does not
always win is the luck of the draw!So what is it that makes cowboys come back for more time after time?!? Maybe it is the camaraderie or"
brotherhood" amongst bull riders or it`s just the experience of holding on to a 2,000 lb living tornado. Or maybe it is the feeling of  being a
cowboy. Whatever it is - Justin McBride describes it best in his song "Cowboy till I die": "Unless you`re one of us you`ll never understand"
In bull riding (and the other roughstock rodeo events "bareback bronc riding" and "saddle bronc riding") the contestant has to stay on the
bull for 8 seconds in order to earn a qualified ride. If he gets bucked off before the 8 second mark he will get no points for his efforts.
Whatever happens after 8 seconds does not matter for the score that the cowboy receives! A rider who stays on will get points for his riding
style and for the behaviour of the bull. Each ride is graded by two judges. Each judge can award up to 25 points for the bucking of the bull
and up to 25 points for the riding-style of the cowboy...
Bull Riding / Rodeo is not just a show, it is a serious sport - the sport of the cowgirls and cowboys. During the events the riders usually fight
for the event championship as well as for points towards the seasonal championship. I competed as a bull rider in several European Rodeo
leagues. On this page I would like to introduce my sport but also talk about my experiences as a bull rider in Europe.
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Bull Riding
Unfortunately I have come across several people now that are under the impression that our livestock is mistreated in bull riding. Many
people over here in Germany do not care about bull riding...and that is OK. But because of that, people don`t really think about what others
tell themabout Rodeo - they just believe what they are told without checking it for them-selves... And that is how lies and rumors are
spreading. Thewebsite of a leading "animal rights organisation"even claims that we would secretly use tasers and acids to make the
animals buck. Another organisation claims that we would torture the animals "behind the scenes" so that they are wild. Statements like
those upset me. Why are theytrying to dis "my" sport with lies? Because their claims are far from the truth. What they say is not even
possible and they can be provenwrong with a little bit of common sense and just a little knowledge about cattle. So let`s take a look at the
accusations:

Acids: I have no clue how it would even be possible to use acids... When are we supposed to do that? Before the bull isloaded into the
bucking chutes? That would be impossible as the last thing the riders need is a wild bull in the chutes. Preparing the ride is very important
and not that easy. So a wild moving bull in the chute would make things very dangerous for the cowboy! Using acids would be the exact
opposite of what we need for a good ride

Tasers: I have been riding bulls since 2008 and I have never seen the use of a taser during a rodeo. I have not even seen the use of a
cattle prod
even though vets (bovine experts) attest that cattle prods do not hurt the bulls because of their thick hide. I personally think
using a hotshot to make a bull buck does not make sense t
hough. But usually rodeo associations DO NOT allow the general use of a cattle
prod to make the animals buck! And that is good! Maybe there are a few "backyard rodeos" that allow it because there is no evidence the
animals are hurt by it, but the sport can`t be judged by what a bunch of stray black sheep associations do anyways.

Flank strap: The flank strap is a rope that is pulled around the bulls flank. For some reason in Germany people think that the flank strap
goes around the bulls testicles! This however is complete nonsense! People who say that obviously have no clue about a bucking bulls
anatomy! Just look at a rodeobull! The flank strap goes around his flank - like the name says while the testicles are between the hind legs!
It is not possible to put the flank over the testicles!!! Need I say more?!? I guess not!

Representatives from those so called "animal rights" organisations have been frequently invited to watch our events behind the scenes. We
want them so see first hand that their claims are nothing but lies! And guess what: When they come they don`t find anything! They then
insist that we did not do anything bad THIS TIME just because they are there this time! Now lets use some common sense again: The
rodeos those folks visit are part of a championship series! Changing stuff would have impact on the championships and would make a fair
competition impossible. But what is even bigger: The bulls buck the same way they always buck! They do exactly the same what they
always do and the rodeo show runs asit always does!!! So tell me: How is it possible that the animal rights people claim that we did not do
anything bad just this time because they are there...but usually we do bad things?!?  How is this possible when our animals do exactly what
they always do? A classic shot in the foot I would say!!!!!

I have been riding bulls since 2008 and I can assure everybody that I have never seen any crualty during our rodeos!!! Neither behind the
scene nor elsewhere...

It surely is possible that there are rodeo organisations that mistreat their animals. However people can`t dis an entire sport because of a
few black sheep! And that brings us to common sense again: Do you think dogs should be forbidden? Certainly not. But unfortunately there
are dogs abused by their owners! So should we disallow dogs and children because bad people abuse them? Same goes for bull riding!
Common sense..
2008  - My first year
I competed in my first rodeo a couple of weeks after the clinic. The rodeo was held at
Ragow near Berlin. And surprisingly I won second place right at my first Rodeo! With
that I collected valuable points towards the Championship race.Even though the season
had alredy progressed pretty well I was able to gain enough points to make it to the
Finals that year (the Finals are the final Rodeo of the season where riders can get a lot
of points towards the Championship. Usually there are more rides than at other rodeos
and only the top riders are invited). I had no chance of winning the Championship
(points from the season are carried over to the finals) but it was an honor to be among
the 4 invited riders in each event! The Finals took place in “Erdgas Arena” in Riesa and
each rider was supposed to ride 3 bulls during the 2 day event. Unfortunately I was hurt
during my first ride and had to spend the night in a hospital. I was supposed to stay for 3
days but I talked the Doctors into letting me go after just one night. However the rodeo
officials had already given me a medical turnout for my last ride on Sunday…
Basics
Associations
The first official Rodeo Association in Germany was the ERCA (European Rodeo Cowboy Association), founded by Alan Jacob in the
1970s. Alan, originally from Oregon, came over after the war as a photographer. The ERCA was a U.S. Military organization and most of
the rodeos took place on U.S. Military installations to bring a piece of home to the American military. Over time more and more Germans
found their way to the rodeo. Because of the US military drawdown and the goal to be officially recognized outside the U.S. Military, the
GRCA (German Rodeo Cowboy Association) was founded. The GRCA took over more and more responsibilities from the ERCA. In 2009
another German  Association, the DRSV (German Rodeo Sport Association) was founded. In the State of NRW (a rodeo stronghold) the
NRW Rodeo Association was also founded in 2009. That gave riders plenty of opportunities to ride in several leagues. Rodeo also gained
popularity in France, Italy and Belgium so riders from Germany often competed there as well.
My Bull Riding Years
When I first came to the rodeo I did not do much, I just enjoyed being around the cowboys and watching the events. After a little while I
helped out at the calf chutes and I became “Calf Chute Boss” over time. I never really thought about riding in the rodeo until 2008. During
the Cologne Rodeo that year all of a sudden I felt the urge to become a bull rider. I am not sure why but I remember watching the riders
behind the chutes and I wanted to be part of that. On the way back home that weekend I told my travel buddy that I`ll ride a bull at the next
rodeo. He looked at me like I was crazy and said something to that extend but during the next week I made a phone call and it was done: I
would get a clinic including a bull ride next weekend! My ride was not part of the rodeo competition, it was just a clinic ride during the
Sunday morning slack. The ride only lasted a couple of seconds but I was hooked!
2009 - My best year
At the beginning of the season I traveled to every single rodeo . I rode at DRSV and
NRW Rodeo Assn events. I missed a few events at the end of the season due to a trip to
the USA but it was a very successful year for me. I came in 4th place before the finals
and that meant I qualified for the finals again. And – compared to the previous year –
the finals went great for me. Each rider had to ride two bulls, one on Saturday and one
on Sunday and I managed to ride both bulls for the full 8 seconds! However the other
riders did pretty well too so I was unable to catch up to the 3rd place cowboy. So I ended
the DRSV season in 4th place. However I was very successful with the NRW where I
ended the year as the 2009 Bull Riding Champion.
Rodeo in Germany
Is Bull Riding crual? The truth!
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Probably the biggest misconception about bull riding is the thought, that the rider who stays on the bull the longest wins. This is far from the
truth. But how then does bull riding work? Here is a brief overwiew:
Bull riding is often compared to the riding of a mechanical bull. A ride of a 2000 pound bull is hardly comparable to a mechanical bull though! It
takes a whole lot more than just good balance! Outsiders often misjudge the enormous power and movement of a real bull! The right position
and body movement as well as the correct use of the legs are very important! Also the preparation in the chute is elementary because all the
rider has to hold onto the bull is a rope! After the rope is prepared with rosin the cowboy has to ajust the rope and has to decide how much
the rope is pulled! He does not stand a chance if the rope comes lose during the ride. But if it was pulled to tight he might get hung up! As you
can see - bullriding is harder and much more complex than getting on a "mechnical bull". The two things are hardly comparable!
Riding Badboy at Rodeo Griesheim
Getting bucked off Painball at Rodeo Cologne
As far as I know Rodeo came to Europe in the early 1970`s when Alan Jacob had a vision of bringing America`s cowboy sport to the old
continent. Alan, originally from Oregon, came over after the war as a photographer.
Behind the Chutes
Terry Don West and DJ
Kanin Asay and DJ
2010 – 2015 – Time marches on
After two successful years I really thought I had a chance to fight for the championship in
2010. I traveled to all rodeos but for some reason I couldn`t get things to work my way…
several 7.9 rights and a few unfortunate judges scores left me out of the finals. I decided
to take a break from serious competition in 2011 and traveled to a few select rodeos
only. But even after the break I was unable to regain my 2009 form in 2012. In 2013 I
received an offer to become the head coach of a youth football team. You see, besides
rodeo I also love the sport of football and my dream job had always been high school
football coach. I took the offer but did not stop bull riding completely. I just went to a lot
fewer rodeos than before. I officially retired from bull riding in 2015
Rodeo Griesheim
RTL TV shoot
Christmas Rodeo - Belgium
Rodeo Graben-Neudorf
Rodeo Cologne
Rodeo Edewecht