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Bucking with bulls

By Lance Cpl. Matthew Bragg | | September 13, 2013

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Crowds gathered to watch professional and amateur riders compete against one another during the inaugural Surf & Turf Buck & Bull Event & Concert at the New Town & Country Stables in Waimanalo, Hawaii, Sept. 7, 2013.

Bud Gibson owns New Town & Country Stables as well as Rocker G Livestock, which hosted the event.

Participants in the competition were mainly comprised of service members tasked with the goal of staying on their bull as long as possible before being bucked off.

Competitors received the maximum amount of points if they meet or exceed a mere eight seconds.

“It’s about compartmentalizing your fear before you mount the bull,” said Rob Bache, a livestock contractor from Arizona. “You don’t have time to think when you’re out there, so you need to leave everything else behind when you prepare to buck with a bull and experience eight long seconds of pure adrenaline.”

The bull riding was split into different rounds, and a concert band played various songs as the crowd waited for the next round to begin. In addition to bull riding, the event also had different events including cowboy hula and cowboy poker. Each event involved contestants competing against each other in an activity while a bull ran loose in the ring with them. The goal was to be the last man standing.

"You don’t choose this sport, it chooses you,” Bache said. “You either love it or you hate it and, if you love it, then you need the drive to continue doing it when you get thrown off the bull.”

The ranch opens its doors every two or three weeks and anyone can practice bucking bulls or try it out for the first time.

"Every time we practice we usually have one or two riders who have never ridden a bull before,” said Cory, son of Bud Gibson, who works on the ranch with his father. “Some of them are completely jazzed by the experience and immediately want to do it again. I guess that’s why they say bull riders are insane.”

Former University of Hawaii quarterback, Colt Brennan, attended the event to buck a bull for the first time as a celebrity guest. Donations were raised to watch Brennan do the charity bull ride, and a portion of the proceeds was given to Wounded Warrior Battalion West-Detachment Hawaii.

Military competitors were identified with their branch of service.

“A lot of the guys who come out here and practice are in the Army or the Marine Corps,” Cory said. “Most of them have prior (riding) experience, and it’s good for them to be able to do something that reminds them of home.”

When asked what it takes to get in the ring and buck with a bull, Bud responded saying, “You need to be a good athlete and you’ve gotta have heart.”

“Make sure you have a good heavenly relationship,” he joked. “In all seriousness, you’re going to get hurt one way or another but it builds character. You just have to suck it up and get back on that bull.”

Anyone interested in riding bulls and have price inquiries can find out more information by going to Rocker G Livestock’s Facebook page. Updates on all upcoming practice sessions and various events are posted on the page as well.

There is a nominal fee for bucking a bull for the first time, and the price is halved every time after. However, if a rider can last four and a half seconds or longer on the bull, their next ride is free.

“There’s always a place out here for (service members) to come enjoy and experience,” Cory said.

When the dust settled, competitor Ercell Petrie, nearly 50 years old, was victorious with a final score of 78 points. Petrie was awarded $1,560.00 for placing first in the bull-riding event.

But for some competitors, the experience is priceless.

"When it comes down to it, at the end of the day it's all about bucking bulls and doing what you love most,” Bud said.


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