Sunday fun-day results in appreciation for bull riders

He approached me with two tickets, his blue eyes shining. Quietly, I warned myself to look excited no matter what, because obviously this was important to him.

“Look what I have! Two tickets to the Professional Bull Riders coming to the Resch! Remember? We talked about it!”

Oh, yes. In my wildest dreams, I didn’t realize my husband would actually go ahead and get those tickets. If you’ve read my columns at all, you know I have this explainable, but unreasonable, fear of animals after my episode with a Black Angus steer a little over a year ago. We had been trying to administer a dose of antibiotics, and he felt cornered and decided to give me a push — sending me to the ER and back home with a stapled and stitched head.

We had watched this professional bull riding event on television, and it was rather intriguing, sitting safely in my spot in the comfort of my living room, miles and miles away from big animals with horns hoisting cowboys in the air. My husband had been fascinated with the show, taping it. For me it was hair-raising and heart-pounding. But I guess that’s the draw, isn’t it?

Walking into the Resch Center, we were accompanied by a horde of people decked out in fringes and cowboy hats and boots and here I am, in my T-shirt and tennis shoes. Okay, let’s get this party started.

Sitting down with our popcorn, we settled in to wait for the show to start. Immediately, I could smell cows, not an unpleasant odor. As we had our tickets scanned, they had handed out mini flags. Greeting everyone, they ran a video showcasing the American cowboy, which was very dignified and respectful of our country and flag. I was totally impressed. Also, before the event began, they asked us all to stand for the singing of the National Anthem and then gave an invocation, asking God to bless the cowboys as well as the animals, keeping everyone safe.

As I was soaking up the atmosphere and the music and crowd were getting pumped to start, I realized we had come to the Resch Center for many different shows. We had enjoyed watching Carrie Underwood there, as well as the Trans-Siberian Orchestra for one of their Christmas shows. How they get this facility prepped for all of these different events is a marvel.

When my husband had presented me with these tickets, I recalled he had not wanted to go to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra thing at all. He really was not interested in the least. He and I both love Carrie Underwood, so that wasn’t a compromise.

This bull riding thing, that was something I was a little skittish about. But I figured if he went to TSO with me, the least I could do was to go to PBR with him. After all, 40 successful years of marriage don’t happen by being selfish. It’s a give and take.

After the anthem and prayer, the lights were dimmed and all of a sudden, flashing lines of fire appeared in the dirt floor, and blasts of fire were shot out of canisters on stage as two beautiful women with drop-dead figures and long blonde hair presented the cowboys riding for the show.

After that hoopla, the fellas protecting the cowboys were introduced, calling the three brave guys “The Border Patrol.” These fellas put their lives on the line, getting right in front of the bull to distract him so the rider can scurry to safety. Also, there was another guy there who was dressed head-to-toe in Packer colors, and he was in charge of keeping us all entertained during breaks. The music was phenomenal, piped in so loud we could feel it pumping in our chests, much like a Packer game. This guy danced or engaged the crowd by shooting T-shirts and furry balls into the audience.

Also standing at attention was a cowboy astride a beautiful Palomino horse. This horse, at the slightest turn of hand, responded to every command. It just shined; its mane was combed to perfection, waiting patiently to be called into service. Occasionally, a bull would not want to go right back to the chute, so this guy and his horse jumped into action.

During the program, we noticed on the back of one cowboy’s vest were the words: “I’m crazy.” Yes. Yes, they were all crazy. They get one hand tied as tightly as possible to a rope going around the belly of this big, wild, powerful animal, and they have to hold on with that hand while the other one is held way overhead, without any contact with the beast. Then they must ride this way for eight seconds that seem to last three years. If at the end of eight seconds they have not been bucked off, blasts of fire go up signaling they made it, and the crowd (and Kay) went wild.

I was getting into it. “Hang on! Hang on! Hang on! You got it! You made it!”

My husband looked sideways at me, smiling, “You like this? You like this!”

Surprising myself, I actually did. We were sitting in row F, very close to the action. When my husband bought the tickets he exclaimed, “I wanna see the snot comin’ outta their nose!” We did.

After the winner was announced, the lights went up and the crowd turned to head for the exits. I realized we had sat there watching this in fascination for over three hours. It did not seem that long.

We stopped for supper at Texas Roadhouse, one of our most favorite places to eat. Those hot rolls with cinnamon butter? Oh, so good. Later, we stopped at the Dairy Queen in Shawano because, why not?

All-in-all, a very Sunday fun-day off the farm with my best friend. I would go back. Ah, let’s see — if he takes me to TSO this winter.

(“House and land are handed down from parents, but a congenial spouse comes straight from God.” Proverbs 19:14, The Message Bible)

Kay Reminger writes about farm family life. She welcomes comments on her columns. Contact her at