Rodeo best left to professionals

Published 8:56 am Friday, May 1, 2015

It amuses me how sometimes a banner or sign along the road gets me to thinking.

I’m sure we all saw the banner that was hung at the corner of Louisiana Avenue and Louisiana Highway 21 and other venues around the city that told about last Saturday’s rodeo at the Bogalusa Community Arena. T-N-T Rodeo Co. produced the show and top riders from Tri-State Rodeo Association participated. The rodeo was put on by the City of Bogalusa as a fundraiser to keep the arena operational.

No doubt I’m particularly fond of the bull riding and bareback riding activities. Those are the two reasons I’ll watch the rodeo on television.

I just can’t fathom how those bull and bareback riders manage to remain out of hospitals for as long as they do. Major injuries like broken necks would seem to be regular occurrences, but thankfully they’re not. But riders suffer more than their share of broken arms and broken legs. I suppose some broken bones have to come with the territory when they sign up for things like that. I am quite sure the prize money they receive for risking their overall health is pretty good, but money doesn’t fix everything.

A lot of people simply go to rodeos to watch the clowns do their act. Part of their responsibility is to keep riders safe from harm as they put themselves between the bull and fallen rider. Talk about a dangerous occupation. We hear about how that kind of work runs through their veins and seems a natural part of their being. One minute they’re saving a rider’s life, while the next they’re cutting up and cracking jokes to make children and adult alike laugh.

One rodeo passed through McComb, Miss., years ago during the time I was sports editor at my hometown newspaper. When I reported to work one morning, I was informed somebody volunteered me to participate in a donkey media race against employees from the local radio station. It was myself and two other newspaper employees against three radio station employees.

I thought about it long and hard before I agreed to it. After all, how difficult could it be, I asked myself.

I found out soon enough when I arrived at the arena for the start of the rodeo. Organizers didn’t bother to inform us that we were to ride bareback. I’ve been thrown from riding horses while in the saddle, so I knew trying to ride bareback wasn’t going to be good.

I figured correctly.

For some reason my donkey stopped during the race. One of those clowns came up from behind and slapped my donkey on the behind. That was a mistake, and I wound up paying the price for that action. The donkey bolted after the slap and started running wildly. I held on for dear life but ultimately fell off.

I was so sore the next morning that I felt like I had gone through high school football practice. I was thankful for no broken bones or anything more more serious.

I’m sure the race was something to see for spectators and drew some laughs. I didn’t find it amusing trying to pick myself up from the arena floor.

It did allow me, however, to view a rodeo from a different perspective. I believe I’ll stick to watching it on television or from the stands.

Randy Hammons is a staff writer for the Daily News. He can be contacted by phone at 985-732-2565 or by email at