“No matter what your problems are —it’s just like going out and facing that bull every day:  Look at what you’re up against, and figure out a way to make it work.” —Gary Leffew, Champion Bull Rider

We face many life challenges, big and small;  consequently, there are many advisors, coaches, experts and various motivational guides offering advice on how to make a success of it all.  You may have noticed, social media is full of it.  But, really nothing beats the shared wisdom gained from personal experience, and sometimes the very best advice comes from an unexpected source, like a skateboarder, shipyard welder, yo-yoer, or rodeo cowboy. Spend less than 10 minutes with Gary Leffew and learn what it takes to be a success in bull riding and all other endeavors.  (Hint: It’s a mental game.)


The Bull Rider”, is a short film from “I Am Los Angeles”, directed by Joris Debeij, featuring Gary Leffew, PRCA World Champion Bull Rider and member of the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame.


The taming of bulls has ancient roots that have been traced to a Bronze Age civilization of the Aegean islands (2600 BC – 1100 BC), and bull riding developed from a 16th century ranch skill competition known as ‘Jaripeo’ among the haciendas of Central and Southern Mexico where a rider rode a bull to death much like is done in bull fighting.  It eventually changed to the traditional charreada sporting event, ‘Jineteo de Toro’, where the rider attempts to ride the bull until it tires and stops bucking.


The Arti of Bullfighting

Νο. 24: El mismo Ceballos montado sobre otro toro quiebra rejones en la plaza de Madrid (1816), Public Domain, Francisco Goya (1746 -1828), via Wikimedia Commons

No. 24 (The Same Ceballos Mounted on Another Bull Breaks Short Spears in the Ring at Madrid) is from a series of 33 prints “La Tauromaquia” (The Bullfight) created by Francisco Goya using techniques of etching and aquatint.  The scenes depicted in the series focus on the violence, rituals and styles of 19th century bullfighting.  A portfolio of these works of art is currently located at the National Gallery of Art.


The Most Dangerous 8 Seconds in Sports 

“Everything’s in slow motion.  He’s floating in the air, and it’s just weightless.” — Cody Campbell

The modern rodeo sport of bull riding requires a rider to stay mounted on a bucking bull for a specific period of time.  In the ‘American style’, both rider and bull are scored by judges, and the rider must hold onto the bull rope (fiber rope wrapped around the chest of the bull) with one hand for eight seconds and not touch the bull with the free hand.  It’s been referred to as the most dangerous eight seconds in sports.



Gary Leffew’s Bull Riding School – for all ages and levels of bull riders
Professional Bull Riders, Inc.  Touring Schedule
Event Schedule, Bull Riders Canada, Inc.
Professional Bull Riders – Australia Schedule 
Charreada Event Schedule, Asociacion de Charros de San Antonio
Facing the Bull:  The Most Dangerous Eight Seconds in Sports”, by Zoltan Istvan, National Geographic News (February 25, 2004)
American Veterinary Medical Association News, The Bovine Athlete by R. Scott Nolan (July 18, 2012)
The Jackie Robinson of Rodeo by Christian Wallace, Texas Monthly (July 2018) – Fifty years ago, Myrtis Dightman broke the color barrier in professional rodeo and became one of the best bull riders who ever lived.


The equestrian sport of cutting evolved from the special skills of 19th century cowboys and their horses working cattle ranches in the American WestCutting Horse Competition
Horse & rider teams compete in a rodeo sport that began in the American West
Watch LIVE & FREE, but OK if you miss the live stream broadcast because there are video recordings of the competition to watch.


Surfing the Great Lakes is not easy, but also no impossible.You’ll find more inspiration from the stories told by this diverse group of pathfinders on the video bio- documentary channel “Life Inspired“.



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“How to Beat the Bull” is an edited version of an article originally published on the “Zblog” by Zeester Media LLC.

Feature photo of bull rider, Cody Campbell, is a screen shot from video Weightless by filmmaker Jesse Rosten

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Posted by Zola Zeester

Zola is a vagabond playmaker, the On2In2™ recreation guru and primary source of inspiration for this article. Currently resides at Zeester Media HQ.

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