Cabarrus

Bull riding: Eight seconds of danger

Eight seconds may not sound like a long time. But it depends on what you are doing during those eight seconds.

As you read this article, eight seconds go by very quickly.

Sitting on a large, very angry bull as it bucks for eight seconds, however, could seem like eternity.

I guess that's why bull riding is called "the most dangerous eight seconds in sports."

If you have never been to a bull-riding competition, all you have to do is travel up Odell School Road to Stegall's Arena for a taste of this popular sport.

Owner Stan Stegall has lived on this family farm for the past 50 years and has been in the livestock business since he was a boy.

"He has been doing bull riding and rodeos at his arena for the past 18 years and has been furnishing bucking bulls for several other associations," said his wife, Robin Stegall.

"Stan is not a bull rider but tried a few times when he was a teenager."

Bull riding is not for everybody. It is responsible for about half of all traumatic injuries to rodeo contestants and has the highest rate of injury of any rodeo sport.

Tonight, Stegall's will show off the best at their annual Championship Bull Riding Finals.

"This is where the contestants compete for the final awards for the year," Robin said. "There will also be a Halloween costume contest for adults and kids, with cash prizes."

Lots of other kids' events are planned, including candy scramble and calf scramble.

Kids can also try their hand at mutton busting, where they get a chance at bull riding, except that instead of riding an angry bull they ride sheep. It's one of the most entertaining events of the night - next to the bull riding, of course.

"There will also be a Ring of Fire," Robin said. "That is where contestants from bull riding and fans stand in a circle in the center of the rodeo arena. They then turn out a very mean bull and the last one still standing in the ring at the end wins all the money."

After all the competitions are over and the scores finalized, tonight's event will end with a spectacular fireworks show.

Sounds like a unique way to spend Halloween night, don't you think?

If you can't join them tonight, you've missed it for this year. But make a note that there are rodeo shows at Stegall's every Sunday from April through October.

"We start at 7 p.m.," Robin said. "We also have special Saturday night bull ridings on July Fourth weekend and Labor Day weekend with a live band and fireworks."

Stegall's Arena is at 3601 Odell School Road in Concord, between N.C. 3 and N.C. 73 West. For more information visit www.stegallsarena.com.

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