30 years, 30 Great State stories: The time Galen got run over by a bull

Great State

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – There’s a lot to being a cowboy. There’s the boots and spurs, and cool hats.

Rodeos and stock sales like this one are exciting, even to the real cowboys, but only because it’s dangerous too.

Just ask Paul Bonds.

He’s a rodeo clown and bull fighter, the most dangerous rodeo job there is.

You might think he’s crazy but this is his chosen career.

“It’s the excitement,” he explains. “How much more exciting can you get that a bull weighing 1,500 to 2,000 pounds to come at you?”

Bullfighters use auctions like this one at the State Fair arena to compete, and qualify for the real rodeos.

What they do looks dangerous from the stands.

But it’s hard to get a gauge on how dangerous it really is unless you get closer, close enough to feel the speed and power of a ton of angry beef firsthand.

Paul says, “It’s impressive that a four-legged animal can be so agile.”

Sometimes it takes a really close look to bring true clarity, to make clear that anything can happen inside a rodeo arena, and that your only protection is speed and agility (Neither of which I possess).

Anyone who wants to do this kind of thing full time has to be kind of crazy.

“I’ve had a couple of injuries,” says Bonds. “I’ve had a concussion and numerous broke ribs, and broken fingers. It’s part of the job.”

Careers in bullfighting are unpredictable.

Even clowns and those as good as Paul Bonds know they’re only one bull away from retirement.

Some bullfighting careers are so short you can count them in seconds.

But even the shortlived bullfighters count there blessings if they can still walk away in one piece.

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