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SO WHAT? So the bullfighters who risk their lives over 100 times a weekend for the cowboys on the Professional Bull Riders tour are tougher than a hospital steak. And, yeah, they make an NFL middle linebacker look like Richard Simmons. And, true, they may be the bravest, most underpaid athletes in America.
I don't give a cow chip. They're the worst damn interviews this side of the Kentucky Derby winner.
I spent a day at Madison Square Garden with three of the bullfighters who save fallen cowboys from getting gored or crushed on the PBR tour. I even got into the arena with them, wore the pads and the outfit and everything. Yet every time I'd ask anything, it would get real quiet.
One time this cowboy who'd already made his eight seconds was hanging on by a cuticle as the bull kept wildly spinning. So bullfighter Shorty Gorham, 28, cupped his hand over the bull's eye. "Why'd you do that?" I asked.
"Cuz it works," he said. Spit.
Sometimes they'd slap the bulls on the top of the head as the beasts went spinning by.
"Slows 'em down," said Frank Newsom, 32. Spit.
At one point Frank decided 40 feet away was too far from the action for me, so he dragged me up right next to the chute. After the bull busted out, Frank held my sleeve, and I couldn't get him off me. "What's up with that?" I asked, wiping off the bull slobber.
"Case I needed to throw you outta the way," he said.
Even the clown, Flint Rasmussen (above, left), who entertains the crowd and helps the bullfighters, clearly doesn't get paid by the word. I told him I couldn't climb the fence if I had to escape—the first rail was too high. He looked at me and said, "You will."