When I was a kid, a friend of mine had a bucking barrel in his back yard. I spent hours trying to stay on that barrel but most of the time I was eating dirt. That was the extent of my bull riding experience until I read John Bird's "Used to Want to be a Cowboy".
"Used to Want to be Cowboy" is a primer on bull riding. It is a fascinating look at the mind set and testosterone overload it takes for young men to do inherently dangerous things like strapping themselves to a powerful animal and getting more points for staying on a really mean bull. It's about facing fear win or lose, and facing it again. It's not bits, bytes and keyboards of today, its more about bones, blood and bruises. It's about the relationship between man and beast and the bond that develops between young men who have a common goal stay on that bull until the buzzer sounds.
Was it for the money? I don't think so, it appears to me it cost more than you can make. Was it for the glory? It doesn't seem to be. Not a lot of glory in the emergency room. It was for the desire to be "real", a real cowboy, a real bull rider, to be a part of something bigger than you.
I enjoyed reading "Used to Want to be Cowboy". My favorite line for the book, with the scene fully pictured in my mind, was when Travis said, "I'm riding in the front". John Bird allows the reader to ride up front and ride out of the chute on top of a massive bull. You will hear a few buzzers, eat a lot of dirt, and break a few bones but in the end you will understand.Texas Bob