Bull riding is literally a killer sport, but many proponents of the rodeo lifestyle are now actively pushing for safety reforms. People have never truly realized how dangerous bull riding is. That is, until world champion Lane Frost died when a fractured rib pierced his heart after a bull gored him on the side following an epic ride.
Frost’s death was a much-needed wake-up call for the Western world, and now bull riders are encouraged to wear the proper safety gear when on top of a bull. Here's what you need:
Bull riding helmets are important in rodeo safety. They protect the vulnerable skull from being stepped on or breaking during a fall. They also help prevent concussions or, at the very least, minimize the stitches you may need. Most helmets also offer face protection.
Vests are made of ballistic nylon and reinforced with foam padding to protect your vital organs, while still offering a full range of motion. Unlike helmets, protective vests are a requirement for everyone who wants to step out into the arena and ride.
Chaps may look flashy because they often feature your sponsor’s logo, but they provide an extra layer of protection, particularly for your legs.
Cowboy boots have spur ridges on the heels to make sure their spurs stay in place. Traditional boots are slip-on, but modern models have a lace-up front, which allows you to adjust the tightness of the boots.
Spurs are dull, flat metal-edge spikes on the back of your boots, which you use to dig into the sides of the bull. These allow you to control the bull better and turn him around if you want extra points.
Leather cowboy gloves protect your hands from rope burns and blisters. They also help you hold on to the rope much longer. For extra grip, you can also apply rosin to your gloves, an adhesive that lets the leather stick to the rope.
Bull riding demands a lot of courage, but what is even more courageous is to admit that you don’t want to lose your life participating in a sport where there were options for protection. Follow your passion, but stay safe before you ride.