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Bull riding competition at the Tucson Rodeo

Posted at 4:36 PM, Feb 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-23 18:36:14-05

These competitors put in hours of preparation, often years of hard work and training, for their shot at an 8 second ride atop a bull, doing whatever it can to throw them off.

"I've had times where I feel like I've rode for pretty close to eight seconds," bull rider Dalan Duncan said. "And the judges say it was three."

Duncan is 24 years old, and has rode professionally for the past six years. He says every experience on the bull is a different challenge.

"When it's fun and you're doing stuff right, it goes by pretty quick," he said. "If you're struggling and getting bucked off it, it seems like an eternity out there."

In order for their run to count, the bull riders have to stay on top for eight seconds. Many times, the riders are bucked off within three seconds.

Every rider has their own pre-ride ritual to get in the right mental and physical state. The bulls present tough challenges for the contestants.

"These bulls are bred to buck," Bennie Buetler said. 

Buetler raises bulls, and his family has been involved in the rodeo business since 1929. He says the tougher the bull, the better the show for the audience.

"I always root for the bulls, but these kids rode some hellacious bulls today," Buetler said. "Some of them don't look like they're old enough to chew bubble gum, but they can ride bulls."

The rodeo finals take place on Sunday, at the Tucson Rodeo Grounds.