The first thing you need to ride a rodeo bull is bravery. “Bull riding is the most dangerous sport in the world,” says Brandon Moore, a third-generation cowboy who’s been riding professionally for 23 years and who owns Bramer’s Rodeo training school in Ontario, Canada.
“I’ve broken my pelvis, I got my face stepped on and broke my eye socket, pulled my shoulder out, broken both ankles. Injury is inevitable, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.” Once you gain the courage, Moore can teach you the skills and get you on the back of the beast.
“I honestly didn’t know what I was getting myself into,” says Chris Toledo, 23, a medical student and, since his bull-riding experience, a rodeo medic, a task he describes as like working in an emergency room. He went on a two-day riding course with Moore in May this year. “After learning the ground rules, we went on a mechanical bull to get a feel,” he says. “Four hours after walking in there, I was getting onto my first bull!
“I was only on that bull for four seconds, but they felt like an eternity. It was just me and the bull. Until I got thrown off, then I was suddenly back. There was so much adrenalin pumping, and I saw the bull running towards me. He started attacking my legs until someone grabbed me and threw me back into the chutes. Then I was just grinning. I’d had the most killer thrill. I knew I was hooked.”
Not so Wild West
ONTARIO OUTSIDE THE BULL RING
If watching natural strength from afar appeals after a close encounter with a bull, witnessing the Niagara Falls is one to tick off the bucket list.
Crawl and climb through a world of caves 25m below the surface of Collingwood. Follow the sound of water to find the freshwater spring.
The Thousand Islands region, an archipelago of 1,864 islands near Lake Ontario, is a SCUBA-diving Mecca, with something for every level of underwaterman.