How to Ride a Mechanical Bull
October 12, 2015
Mechanical bull riding has been around for a long time and was originally a way for bull riders to practice their skills. If it wasn’t for the 1980s flick Urban Cowboy that popularized this sport, a mechanical bull may not have become a staple in so many bars across the country. This is a good thing and a bad thing, but it’s only bad if you don’t know how to ride one when a friend challenges you to a “rodeo.” Don’t worry, at Buckin’ Wild we know all about mechanical bulls and will be happy to share some best practices on how to stay on the longest.
This is a video showing some essential techniques for riding a mechanical bull. We’ll go over them in details below.
Dress for the Ride
You don’t need to wear a cowboy hat and the full rodeo gear, but it usually helps to wear pants. Shorts are OK, but the friction may irritate the skin on your legs, especially if you are sliding around a lot, so pants are usually your best bet. Professional bull riders wear a protective vest and pant covers (chaps) in case a bull tries to puncture them with a horn, but you don’t have to worry about that with a mechanical bull.
Every mechanical bull has a handle that you can grip. If you are right-handed, you should use your right hand to do this, and vice versa for left-handed folks. You can grip over or under the handle—there is no rule of thumb here, just do what’s comfortable for you. However, don’t hold the handle with both hands or you won’t last long. The second hand is for balancing to help you shift your center of gravity as the bull bounces around.
Use Your Legs
Squeeze the sides of the bull with your thighs to avoid sliding off. Your legs will help you steady yourself and remain attached to the bull. But as you tighten your leg muscles, try to relax your upper body. Just like when riding a motorcycle you need to lean on turns, you need to move your upper body to counteract the direction the bull is pulling you toward.
Shift Your Body
The nice thing about mechanical bull riding is that you can ask the operator to adjust the settings based on your skill level. But even at the easiest setting, you can’t just sit on a bull like you would on a chair and expect to hold on. Like the video above shows, there are certain ways you need to move your body in order to avoid getting pulled down by gravity.
Stay calm and try to find a spot to focus on. Mechanical bull riding can be a bit disorienting, especially on harder settings, so it helps to have a focal point. You can focus on the bull’s head or another object. But don’t try to outsmart the bull or predict its next move—just have fun and don’t be afraid to fall, because it’s also a part of the fun!
Jump Off Gracefully
If you feel like you are going down, you have one last chance to redeem yourself by jumping off gracefully instead of falling off the bull. To do that, move both of your legs to one side, let go of the handle and jump. If you are lucky, you will land on your two feet, or at least catch yourself with your hands. The flooring around the mechanical bull is soft and cushioned on purpose, so it may not always be possible to stick a perfect landing.
And if you are looking for an opportunity to practice, you don’t have to go to a bar. Simply rent our mechanical bull for your next event in Maryland and practice all you want!