Is Riding a Mechanical Bull Similar to Riding a Rodeo Bull?


You can ask any bull rider in the Rodeo, and they will say the mechanical bulls are quite fun, and they do pretty well on them. However if you ask someone who is an expert in riding a mechanical bull to get on a real bull, they’re going to have quite a few challenges. They aren’t the same. Now that is not to say that some of the mechanical bulls are not highly sophisticated robotic systems which to mimic the motions of a real bull.

Nevertheless “you can’t learn how to write a bike in a seminar” and you can’t learn how to ride a bull on a simulated bull in a country bar. And just because you can work up to the advanced settings, doesn’t mean you can ride a bull named; The Widow Maker. In the future I don’t doubt that these bull riding machines will feel the same, and the computer that runs them will be able to take an actual bull, measure every single bump and grind, and put that into the simulation.

Indeed, computer scientists and robotic engineers have that capability. In fact in the future a mechanical bull may be so similar to riding an actual bull, that you actually could learn from it, and hone your skills. Of course, by that same token it will be quite dangerous, and you could get seriously hurt. This is no laughing matter, any bull-rider that doesn’t maintain their balance, can easily break their jaw or lose all of their front teeth from hitting the front of a bull, or in this case a mechanical simulation.

Who knows maybe animal rights activists may eventually shut down bull riding due to cruelty to animals. Yes, I can hear rodeo fans now saying; over my dead body! But even if that did happen, the mechanized version would replace the actual bull and the sport would surely live on. It’s just too exciting a sport to fade off into the country sunset.

There are several companies that make the mechanical bulls, and many of them have several settings for beginner, intermediate, and advanced. And kids will always attempt to create their own mechanical devices in their backyards when they grow up. I know that we had one in our backyard. A 55 gallon drum with a saddle on top, attached to four telephone stumps with giant springs. It seemed real enough at the time, but if you watch pro-rodeo on TV, you can begin to see that isn’t cutting it.

Indeed, it may have been fun for us kids when we were in school, but pro rodeo riders should be respected, and they definitely respect the bulls they ride, the real ones. Because if they don’t it will eat their lunch and that’s no mechanical steer. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.

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Lance Winslow



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