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A whole lotta bull

Terri Schlichenmeyer

Eight seconds doesnt seem like a long time, does it? Professional singers can hold a note for much longer than that. You probably read these three sentences in less than eight seconds. Eight seconds isnt even enough time to warm a cup of coffee in the microwave. But imagine jumping astride a bull that wants you off its back. Youre only allowed to hold on with one hand, you need to stay put for eight seconds, and you have to look good doing it. Eight seconds, in this case, is an eternity.With that in mind, author Josh Peter followed an elite corps of athletes who willingly jump astride up to 2,200 pounds of muscle and fury. In his book, Fried Twinkies, Buckle Bunnies & Bull Riders: A Year Inside the Professional Bull Riders Tour, those athletes might win big bucks if they can avoid getting bucked off.The cowboys are mostly young; a man in his 30s is considered to be nearly at the end of his career. They are mostly Americans, but they also come from Brazil, Canada, Australia, and Mexico. They are all men, although women groupies called buckle bunnies play a big part of this story. Sportswriter Josh Peter followed the bull riders of the PBR (Professional Bull Riders, Inc.) for their 2004 season, including the bone breaks, the heart breaks, and the heart-stopping action.There was the crowd-pleasing Chris Shivers, who was small in physical size, but a giant in the arena. Justin McBride, an Oklahoman who hated wearing the number 2 on his back, because it signified the reason he was jokingly called McBridesmaid. Brazilian Adriano Moraes, whose two PBR championships were followed by two years of bad luck. Mike Lee, who was running from lustful thoughts and sin while he was chasing a million dollars.And then there were the bulls: Little Yellow Jacket, two-time Bull of the Year, whose bad temperament brought his owners back from the brink of bankruptcy; Pandoras Box, also a contender for the title; and the legendary Bodacious, whose name still puts a dose of fear into riders.Eight seconds on a one-ton mean-spirited creature with horns and sharp hooves. Why do the riders do it? For the adrenaline. For the money. And for a gold diamond-encrusted buckle. Not necessarily in that order.For most people, jumping on a bred-to-be-nasty bull is kind of like keeping an elephant in the back yard: its an interesting thought, until you actually have to do it. I liked this book because its a peek into a world that only a few rugged athletes will ever see, and because author Josh Peters reports rather than opines, which will give you much more of a you are there feel while youre reading it.If you love to watch extreme sports, if youre a bull riding fan, or if you just want to read a good book with a small humorous Twinkie-twist, then get Fried Twinkies, Buckle Bunnies & Bull Riders. I think youll enjoy every second of it.


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