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Gallery 63-Rank Bulls 2 - Man 0

Kris Gray

I feel blessed to be able to combine my love of photgraphy with my love of hockey. Raised in a family that avidly followed the sports of Pro Wrestling, Roller Derby, Nascar and the Chicago Bears.

Bull Fighter 13 (2).jpg

Injured Bullfighter, Jerry Pellham, pauses on the railing after running to safety. He was injured by a Bull's horn while protecting a Bull Rider who was trapped on the ground by the Bull.

The Bulls seemed to get the best of their Riders and the Bullfighter on Saturday during the afternoon show put on by the Big Hat Rodeo in Belvidere, IL. Not a single one of the 14 Bull Riders were able to ride the required 8 seconds it takes to earn a score from the judges. Most rides lasted only 2-3 seconds before the Riders found themselves flying through the air off the Bull.

The Bullfighter is a highly skilled individual, who puts his life on the line, time and time again to protect the Bull Riders from the Bulls while in the arena. While the Bull Rider's life is at risk for several seconds during their turn, the Bullfighter's life is on the line the entire time the Bull Riding event is taking place. He faces each & every bull during the show, while the Riders only face one bull each.

The risk of injury is high when dealing with unpredictable Rodeo animals. That risk was proven twice Saturday afternoon, as two men ended up taking a ambulance to a Rockford area hospital for medical treatment. First injured was Bull Rider, Jeff Fields. He took a wild ride on a bucking, twisting Brahma Bull and ended up with a reported fractured arm and leg. The Rodeo's Bullfighter, Jerry Pellham, was also injured later in the show while protecting a Bull Rider who was cornered on the ground by a bull. The Bull's horn appeared to have caused an injury to his left eyebrow. It was unknown if he suffered any other injury from that horn to the head.

The modern day Rodeo performer has a wide assortment of safety equipment available to help protect his body from serious injury. While the Bronco Riders during the show were seen wearing an assortment of chest and neck protection, none of them were noted to wear any kind of head protection. The Bull Riders all wore chest protection and several chose to wear head protection too. Hockey helmets with a full face cage seemed to be the head protection of choice by the Bull Riders on Saturday afternoon. The Bullfighter wore padded shorts and a chest protector underneath his costume. He also added knee, ankle and elbow supports/pads to his arms and legs for added protection.

Here are pictures from Saturday's show when the Bull Rider and Bullfighter were injured in separate incidents.



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