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Interview: Bull Rider – 12-Year-Old Olive

Even though I’m the farthest thing from a cowgirl, we seem to gravitate towards living in rodeo towns. Prescott is home to the world’s oldest rodeo.

Olive is my adorable twelve-year-old neighbor who is a little bigger than Puppy Girl who weighs ten pounds soaking wet. Olive might weigh 60 pounds. She is athletic and has taken lessons in several sports. If any girl can learn to be a successful bull rider, Olive can.

The little one is Olive.

“No, no, no, no, no,” said my nurse friend Carmen last night when I told her about Olive’s experience. “I work in a hospital. Too many kids come in hurt.” (Not specifically from riding bulls, but in general, mostly from riding ATVs)

Even though I spent nearly twenty years living almost next door to herds of bulls, I can’t stand to even watch videos of adult bull riders. I worry about the horns. I went to the Woodlake Rodeo once even though it is famous in CA, and was located six miles from our home. There is a restaurant in Prescott that features looped videos of bull riders while you try to eat. Now I sit with my back to the closest screen. You can’t get away from them entirely, and the restaurant does have great food.

Statistics from Journal Studies on Bull and Horseback Riding

“According to the injury classification system (severe, minor, or other), 36% of injuries to bull riders were severe. Fractures were the most common severe injury. Concussions constituted 10.6% of all injuries; neck injuries and concussion with other head and facial injuries accounted for 28.9%. About half (48%) of injuries were minor. The knee and shoulder were the most commonly injured joints.”

National Library of Medicine Dale J Butterwick 1, Willem H Meeuwisse

As far as horse-riding is concerned, more girls get hurt than boys. Teens and children tend to have more head injuries from horse riding than the general population (duh) and head injuries were the leading cause of fatalities. One in 10,000 riders during a Canadian study died or about three per year.

“Head injuries and other serious injuries occur with equestrian activities and it is important for doctors, instructors, and parents to promote the use of appropriate safety equipment, including helmets, especially for children.”

BMJ Journals Equestrian Injuries Janet M Sorli

Parent Perspectives

What would you do if your daughter desperately wanted to try her hand at bull-riding?

Olive’s dad is enthusiastic. “Her trainer here in AZ said she could be on the professional or Olympic level circuit. She’s already better than most of the other young riders.” (my close-enough paraphrase)

The videos in this interview of Olive bull-riding are impressive. She looks like an expert. The bulls are young, not full-sized. Olive seems to bounce up after each fall – and you DO have to fall to get off of a bull. I’ve never seen a bull politely bow down, stop, or go quietly back to the stall and let the rider get off when the ride is finished.

This is a conversation with Olive and her mother about the experience. All pictures and video clips are provided by her family and are used with their permission, but, of course, can’t be copied. I created the video by cutting and pasting together video clips and photos but got frustrated when I tried to add music. You don’t get to copy my amateur efforts either. LOL.

Quick Summation of the Video

In case you don’t have time to review the five-and-a-half-minute video, here are the salient points.

  • Olive loved the experience, especially the adreneline rush, the animals and the people.
  • Olive knows her dad is proud of her and happy for her to try bull riding. He didn’t try it though.
  • Olive has been riding horses for about seven or eight years, but had only ridden a bull once before this camp experience.
  • Olive knows her mother doesn’t approve and had her first bull ride when mom was out of town.
  • Olive’s mother, Natalie, though frightened for her daughter, seems supportive of the opportunity to try it.
  • Both Olive and Natalie suggested that if someone has a passion for bull riding, even though it’s hard, they should at least try it.

Now it’s your turn.

This video is not created to encourage or teach you, your kids, or your grandkids to ride bulls. Will it stimulate conversation? That’s up to you. I always love to hear what you have to say.

Coming Up on Always Write

  • Yvette’s story, “Sweet Feeling” has been so popular that we’re leaving it open for comments for another week before the Summary of all the comments.
  • Coming April 5th is an exciting short story from Anne Goodwin that will get you all chatting called, “The Power of Verticality.” Visit the Story Chat page to see the year’s lineup of authors and upcoming titles. Story Chat runs from October through September.
  • I love WQW and all your quotes and responses to the prompts. There’s still one more day to talk about all things green or Irish. “Don’t iron a four leaf clover. You don’t want to press your luck.” Next week we rush into the spring equinox.
  • PPAC lets us travel all around the world to see the artistic sights of many countries. I’ve enjoyed murals, statues, moons, sculptures, gargoyles, and much more from Tasmania to Africa, from Europe to Asia, and all places in between. Add your links for PPAC 40 by Thursday.
I prefer cars to bulls. 🙂

64 replies »

  1. The video interview was so well
    Done and really
    Gives us a feel for Olive and her mom!
    Nice job/ and her mother does seem really
    Cool!
    And omg

    – Olive is so Brave – but I guess riding horses for seven or eight years primed her pretty well for large animals.

    Now I never would
    Have guessed that Prescott
    Had the oldest rodeo!?
    In 1995, right when I started dating my husband –
    One of my roommates was a bull rider from Wyoming – he was such a cool guy!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Hi – well three of us shared a house and at the end of summer – I found a new place and so did the second roommate And she moved first – so the bull
        Rider guy moved in her spot and so I knew him for three weeks!
        He was taking a huge chance by moving to Colorado for a job.
        He wore tight wrangler jeans and button up shirts and had that awesome hat (so typical).
        The day before I moved out, I found a pack of little cowboy hats at a craft store and put them All around his room!

        I don’t even think I got to say goodbye / but you know how sometimes when we are young we can be so quick to move on and leave people in the dust – at least I had seasons like that – and then had seasons where staying connected matter more ! Hmmm

        Anyhow – this young bull rider featured here is also special because as noted this is such a make dominated area! Great to a young lady following her interests!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Great comment, Yvette. I love the story and I can just see you putting little cowboy hats all over his room. 🙂 You always go the extra mile. Even when you were young and left people in the dust.

          Like

  2. oooo, to walk in her mama’s shoes would be tough. I respect her realization that Olive needs to continue, if she loves it that much. Good or not good doesn’t necessarily come into play for me, love does. So, go Olive!

    “The one who fails and gets up is stronger than the one who never tried. Do not fear failure but rather fear not trying.” – Roy Bennett. somehow I think her parents know this. How will Olive ever know if she doesn’t try. Donna

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What an impressive young lady! I can’t imagine wanting to do something like that at any age, but good for her pursuing a dream like that. I’m sure her parents will worry, but so must the parents of budding racing drivers, for example. I do have to add though that I have my reservations about this as a sport. It can’t be good for the bulls 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • They lead a great life off the ring, for the most part, in my experience living next to bulls. In Central CA they live on free ranges. It’s the cows you should worry about. They are penned up or walking around in the mud, not allowed to eat grass because their formula gives them a higher quality milk. Then they walk onto a carousel to be milked by a machine as the carousel turns slowly. Dairies in our area of CA could run up to 5,000 cows. They are very scientific about everything including not allowing them to get stressed because all of that ruins milk production. The bulls lead a good life unless they are slaughtered for food, which also happens quite a bit.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I can’t horseback ride, I found out a few years ago. My hips are just to arthritic and stiff. I was in excruciating pain during the entire two hour trip. Probably all the skating falls did them in. 🙂

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  4. Great post. I have grown up around horses and currently recovering from a recent fall after an absence of 20 years. I was wearing a safety helmet but that didn’t prevent broken bones! See my blog post for details. I’m on the mend now and intend to get back in the saddle albeit no bucking broncos! I love rodeos and attended lots of them over the years.

    I can appreciate the concerns parents have for their children. While horse-riding and bull riding can be dangerous sports with long-term consequences, my heart was in my mouth watching the young girls in the new Olympic sport of street skateboarding. We had a local girl competing and she has experienced broken teeth and the such. The thought of meeting concrete with your face scares me no end! But it is a passion for some. Sometimes accidents happen from things deemed to be safe activities.

    I think the key is to minimize risk with safety measures. Most rodeos and other equestrian sports are now much more professional in their approach. Other sports like football (Australian Rules) are now having to adopt improved measures to prevent concussion and to better manage any injuries especially in younger players.
    Olive sounds like she knows what she wants to do. If she is well supported by her family and provided with the right training, hopefully she can achieve her dream. But I agree there is an element of risk involved and sometimes we make a calculated choice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I was a skater, Only in my later years did I skate on the street. I skated paths and sidewalks until I fell quite a ways from home and had to skate home. I wore knee pads and a helmet, but my hands were pretty torn up. I decided not to skate any more. I was about 50, I think, and my friend who skated with me a lot was 67 at the time. Good times!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wow! You go Marsha. I wasn’t expecting that response. I did note that there was an American competitor in her early 40s if I remember correctly. Good to hear you have some great memories.
        I have ridden a mechanical bucking bull at a rodeo many years ago! In Australia young kids usually do the poddy calf ride. My brother at 12 still managed to hurt himself because the buckle on his helmet dug into his face!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Oooh ouch! The little ones in Woodlake Rodeo rode goats until they are about 6-7. After that I don’t think they ride until they ride horses.

          Like

  5. I Love rodeo and was an avid fan of PBR (Professional Bull Riding) for years. The guys taught me some great life lessons–to keep trying when you don’t make a great ride, pick yourself up off the dirt when you can barely breathe… But I can’t imagine a young girl taking up the sport.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can’t imagine a young girl doing it either, but obviously she did it and loves it. Of course, she is twelve and what kids like to do changes frequently. She’s very fortunate to have parents that encourage their kids to follow their dreams. They are some of the nicest people you could meet and both the girls are very involved in things.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve watched a LOT of professional bull riding (I enjoy rodeo) but I wouldn’t want my daughters, or really even a son if we had one, riding bulls. It’s one thing to ride a small bull this size but the bulls in professional rodeo are completely different. The injury possibilities are almost endless, being gored/hit by the horns maybe being the least likely because of the rodeo clowns. I did see a bull rider get killed many, many years ago back in Omaha. The bull threw him by the gate where the animals leave the area (and they know where it is). The bull threw him against the gate with its head and he died on the way to the hospital. I admire what bull riders do, but there are reasons why they wear helmets and flack jackets and why so many get injured. Just FYI, my comments have nothing to do with the gender of the rider but just the inherent possibilities of serious injury.

    I ride a lot each summer and although I know it makes sense to wear a helmet rather than a cap or cowboy hat, I have yet to take that step–too many years of riding without one. 🙂

    I don’t know how you find the time to put together these long, interesting posts so often! I’m also curious why the show up in my comment section as a complete post rather than in my WP Reader. Very strange. 🙂

    janet

    Liked by 2 people

    • That is so strange. Cindy and Donna’s do the same in mine! I have no idea why, but I kind of like it because I don’t have to look them up. They are just there and I read them. If I knew what I did to get them there, I would add in more people. 🙂

      Like

  7. Hi, Marsha – Thought provoking post! Olive sounds awesome, as do her parents. There are tons fo things that my son’s wanted to try (have tried, and continue to do) that have made me nervous. As with so many things, knowledge and education smart risks are key. I’d love to read more about Olive as she progresses/makes decisions for or against bull riding from here.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I liked this interview. She seems to know herself even at 12. You are right about how she looks like she can sit the bull well too. Also horseback riding is a dangerous sport. Why some people ( mostly Western riders) still ride without helmets is a mystery to me. That and kids especially must wear boots with a good heel so their foot does not go through the stirrup iron catching them and then they are dragged behind a panicking horse . Anyway. I hope this young girl will be able to follow her passion without injury.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do too, Anne. It looks like she is taking every precaution to prevent injury. If I’m not mistaken she is also an gymnist, but that might be her sister. She looked so agile when she fell. I would have lain there dazed for a while before I could have gotten up! LOL

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’d have been terrified if either of my daughters had wanted to do that. The sportier one of the two managed to injure herself playing tennis so I hate to think what she’d have managed riding a bull!

    Liked by 1 person

    • They both have their dangers for sure, but tennis sounds a lot safer. I think tennis is hard on the knees and ankles whereas bull riding is hard on the head!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think it is generally safer, as you don’t have a large animal to contend with. Our little one was under the wings of the Lawn Tennis Association here as one of the best juniors in her year. A stress fracture of her shoulder and her career was over – at 12!

        Liked by 1 person

        • How sad. That is super disappointing to all. Athletics are so iffy. One of the trainers in our gym is about 25 now. He was had a leg injury playing sports at aged 17. It cost him his scholarship and any possibilities he might have had as a pro athlete. He went into sports medicine and training, and is doing well, but he knows what it is like to be laid up for a year and to be told he would never walk again.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Sadly, that isn’t an uncommon story: so many have dreams that are taken away from them. Our little one started coaching and was working her way through the various levels of that. She then managed to stand on a loose ball during a session and broke her foot. That was the point at which she called it a day!

            Liked by 1 person

          • We did. She went through so much pain and disappointment for two years until her shoulder was properly diagnosed and then that happened to her foot. She now takes her 3yo niece to toddlers tennis sessions and loves it. She works very hard for a finance company in the City of London. Long hours but she’s earning about the same as I was when I retired!

            Liked by 1 person

          • She sounds like a wonderful person and she learned hard work and persistence during her ordeals. She was lucky to have such amazing family support, Clive.

            Liked by 1 person

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Marsha

Marsha

Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. My all-consuming hobby is blogging and it has changed my life. My friends live all over the world. In November 2020, we sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ. We live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes, and hundreds of trails with our dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince's sister came with us and lives close by. Every day is a new adventure.

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