For most sane people, jumping onto a snorting, snot-slinging, 2,000-pound bull that wants to throw you into the dirt and stomp on you may seem a little nutty. But, for East Texas bull riders, it’s a challenge they simply can’t turn down.
“You not only wanted to ride bulls well, you wanted to be tough and be respected by other bull riders,” said champion bull rider Terry Holland. Holland, a Carthage native, is still heavily involved in the sport. “Man, I was absolutely proud to be from East Texas and be a bull rider, because we had a reputation, and most everybody who came from here tried to hold up to it,” said Holland.
Nicky Wheeler, the late bull riding champion from Flint, said a few years ago, “There were at least 20 professional bull riders from right in this immediate area [East Texas]. I mean, you could almost get on a bull somewhere any night.” But, as the years have passed, those bulls have changed.
“We had great bulls back in the 70s and when I rode bulls in the 80s,” said Holland. “Now, when you go to a bull riding or a rodeo, every single bull is going to turn back, spin, buck, and give you an opportunity to win. When I rode bulls, there might be 15 guys a night, and three or four of those guys actually had a good enough bull to place and win some money.”
Glenn Sullivan, another former bull rider from East Texas, now travels the country as a professional bull riding judge. “Nowadays, you don’t even have to call back and see what you got,” said Sullivan. “You’ve got a good bull nearly everywhere you go, and all you’ve got to do is stay on.”
The money is a bit different now as well. According to Forbes, Professional Bull Riding (PBR) pays out well over $10,000,000 to riders each year. It’s a far cry from the amount the guys who rode in the 70s pulled in.
Bull riding is a culture that’s been built and carried on by men such as Glenn Sullivan, Terry Holland, and Nicky Wheeler. We all tip our hats to these men who chose—and the ones who currently choose—to make “taming the bull” their way of life in East Texas.
For more information about rodeos and bull riding in East Texas, including an updated calendar of events. check out Rodeos USA.
Please feel free to e-mail us or call us at 903-530-2488 if you have any questions or need more information about Roadrunner Acres RV Ranch. We look forward to hopefully welcoming you as one of our new residents soon!