Join the rush to the rodeo
This rodeo is billed as the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, and for once the hype might just be right, writes Rob Mcfarland
I AM2maway from a man with one of the world’s most dangerous jobs. A day in the office for 24-year-old J.B. Mauney involves hopping on the back of one tonne of muscle, hoofs and horns and trying his hardest to stay there for eight seconds. After which he has to get off without being trampled or gored to death.
To psyche himself up, he’s hitting himself, hard and repeatedly, in the arms, legs and head. It’s an unusual but effective technique. He’s won the event for the past two days running.
The gate opens and Mauney and his ride, the ominously named D Bomb, catapult into the arena in a writhing blur. It’s hard to know what’s more incredible – that a bull of that size can buck and thrash so violently or that a man can possibly hang on using only one hand. But he does, for the requisite eight seconds, and scores a respectable 80.5 out of 100.
But it’s taken its toll. He limps off the field, wincing. I presume this means he’ll have to retire, but he’s back on another bull the very next day.
There are many reasons to visit the Calgary Stampede, an annual 10-day rodeo that bills itself as the ‘‘ Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth’’.
There’s a daily ice-skating show featuring two Olympic gold medallists, an extreme motocross display, more than 40 thrill rides, a hypnotist, a highdive show and a human cannonball.
For those with a cultural bent, there’s an enormous art show with live artists’ studios plus an Indian village complete with teepees, indigenous art and dance performances by First Nation tribes.
Party animals will find a casino, beer tents and Nashville North, a cavernous marquee in which leading country bands play late into the night.
GOING DOWN: Tyler Corrington of Minnesota loses his bout with Blue Too at the Calgary Stampede. Picture: AP