THE LONGEST 8 SECONDS IN SPORT, AND THE DARING MEN WHO LAY THEIR LIVES ON THE LINE TO MAKE THEM
Let's put the jaw-dropping intensity of this dangerous sport into perspective…
Eight seconds after the starter's pistol has fired, Usain Bolt, the world's fastest man, will still be hurtling along the 100-metre track, a good 17 meters from the finish line.
Eight seconds, according to another study, is how long it takes to fall in love.
A second is such a fleeting moment in time — there are 10,800 of them in a single day — yet it's in these brief increments that an elite bull rider can take stock of his career and measure his success. All he has to do is stay on that bucking bull for eight seconds. The toughest 8 seconds in sports will be invading the Adelaide Entertainment Centre on Saturday, 8 December.
The rules at the heart of bull riding are pretty simple. One hand grips a rope tied to the bull. The other hand is air bound - if it touches the bull or rider, he's disqualified. If the rider stays on for eight seconds, he earns points, and possibly money. Sounds simple, but the sheer determination, grit and fearlessness it takes is out of this world.
These men have nerves of steel and iron wills. Entire careers can be made or lost in those eight seconds, and it's a hard living. Only the strong survive. Billed as the toughest sport on dirt, bull riding is dominated by riders from Brazil, the U.S., Australia and Mexico.
Not forgotten in all this are the bulls that, similar to the riders, are studied and ranked. True bull riding enthusiasts know the bulls as well as the cowboys, and as often as not are likely to cheer them on. "A lot of the bulls have more fans than some of cowboys," says Young. "Some bulls even have their own merchandise. We really have two athletes competing in the arena and they're both trained to do this." The bulls account for half of a rider's score, and so cowboys typically want to be paired against the toughest ones. "They're very much a part of it. If you don't have a strong enough bull, you're not going to place, or someone is going to place ahead of you." Whether the bull a spinner coming out of the chute and which way it's likely to turn is what the rider studies beforehand. "It's just like a boxer going in the ring," Young says. "You got to be ready for anything and everything."
Make sure you're ringside to witness the fearless bull riders strap in and brace for lift off at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre on Saturday, 8 December. It will be the ride of their lives on some of the most elite bucking bulls Australia has to offer. You won't want to miss it.
Get your tickets now at Ticketek.com.au.