professional bull riding

can someone explain to me how bull riding has gone from an obnoxiously disgusting rodeo attraction to a corporate-sponsored festival of cruelty broadcast on major network teevy on a saturday afternoon? ugh. i was channel-surfing today and NBC was showing a 90-minute block of bull riding. it makes me sick to my stomach that this is considered a “sport” (please), not to mention harmless enough to broadcast during the family-friendly hours of a saturday afternoon.

i think this topic hits close to home for me because my dad watches this stuff, and it upsets and confuses me. my dad is one of the reasons i love animals so much. he always loved the outdoors, he adores animals both wild and domestic, and he taught me to appreciate nature at a very young age. when he met my stepmom, he made sure to introduce me to her right away because she had a horse and he knew i’d love to meet him. when they got married, he adopted a horse of his own, and loved that gigantic sweetie pie until he died (too young, from a sad and unexpected illness) a few years ago. they are still nurturing and caring for my stepmom’s horse, who is 37 years old(!!), and yet he watches the rodeo on cable. wtf?

about ten years ago, my dad and stepmom came to visit us in texas, and we went to the houston livestock show & rodeo. there was a concert after the rodeo (which i guess is the way it works there), and my parents bought tickets for all of us. my husband and i begged off going to the rodeo portion, and my parents were very understanding, but attended anyway. it bugged me. they have also been incredibly understanding of my veganism–they don’t poke fun, they try new recipes, and they have never EVER questioned why i’d want to make such choices. but yet: rodeo. i don’t get it! i’ve sent them a few random things from SHARK over the past couple of years, but they have never mentioned it to me. i’m a coward i guess, because i haven’t really broached the subject in person, but it still frustrates me.

anyway, back to major network television and the newfound success of bull riding: ARGH.



  1. Ugh, I am SO with you on this. The AR group I volunteer with actually jumped into the ring of a major Canadian rodeo last spring and held things up before being dragged out by security. (We and other groups had been involved in multiple protests over the last few years as well.) It was all over the national news and the result was the permanent cancellation of 4 major events, including calf-roping and steer wrestling. They insisted it was because of the death of a calf, but we all know that animals die in the rodeo pretty frequently. Anyway, it was a big victory and will probably result in this particular rodeo being dropped from the national circuit.

  2. I don’t get it, either. My parents watch bull riding, and attend rodeos quite often. They invite me every time… and really don’t seem to understand why I might take issue with it.
    I honestly don’t understand how anyone can watch a rodeo and not see something drastically wrong with it.

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