Eight Seconds in Madison Square Garden

bullriding Saturday night, David and I got invited to box seats in Madison Square Garden for a bullriding competition. The whole contest for a million dollars started with a prayer (“bless our riders, our livestock, and bless this great competition of bullriding”), an appearance by Rudy Giuliani (Really? Running for president requires he do this on a Saturday night?), and some U.S. soldiers.

Each dude gets released from a pen on top of a bull which from all the way at the top of Madison Square Garden, still looks like a mac truck. I think the object is to stay on a bull for eight seconds with one hand in the air, like that movie starring Luke Perry, keep your chaps on and not get trampled on. Then after getting spun and tossed off the bull like crazy, you have to scoot quickly and get your bum on top of a fence so you don’t get…gorged. After watching ten or twenty, I finally stopped screaming. It’s just scary–when a dude falls off and the bull is stomping so wildly they literally fly high in the air, you just worry they’ll stamp on someone’s chest or hand or head or pinky. I don’t know. As I watched the bulls 360, I thought to myself, Not an activity for say the nausea-prone or the pregnant.

I worry about the lives the bullriders lead. They can’t really be more than high school educated and, like minor league baseball players, they have to travel to each town and muster up enthusiasm for a dying demand for this particular life skill.

There was one rider called “Mike Lee.” I got excited. Was he Korean? Nahhhhhhhh. In fact, most of the crowd seemed to be caucasian with cowboy hats on except for this one small group with yarmulkes.

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