When you see someone dare to try to stay on the back of an angry bull for eight solid seconds, you can rest assured that everything they bring with them has a purpose. That goes for obvious items of equipment but it extends to wardrobe, as well. That includes the bull riding vest. The vest is not just another accessory. It matters. Let us look at why vests have become a regular part of the bull riders’ wardrobes at every rodeo.
Every bull rider has a vest. In many cases, the vest is hidden under the shirt. In others, they are in plan view. Some of them can be pretty sharp looking, too. Do not be fooled, though. That daredevil is not wearing a vest because he wants to look good. The bull-riding vest is an essential piece of protective equipment.
You have heard the old saying, “Mess with the bulls and you’ll get the horns.” That expression has become well-know because it is true! If you are in the vicinity of a bull, you are at constant risk of finding yourself on the business end of those strong, sharp horns.
Obviously, that is a predicament bull riders want to avoid. No one enjoys being impaled! The vest helps avoid that kind of stabbing by providing a thick layer of protection between the rider and the bull’s horns. A vest cannot stop every instance of goring, but it can prevent some of the most potentially dangerous and it can reduce the damage caused by other incidents.
A bull riding vest can also absorb shock. That can spread the force of bull’s hooves across a wider area, reducing the risk of serious injury. Riders do not always dismount their bulls cleanly, obviously, and anything that can reduce the chance of a hoof print and several shattered bones in the event of an accident is a good idea.
The next time you see a bull rider, pay close attention to everything he is wearing. Almost every stitch of clothing and every single bit of equipment is there for a reason. That is true of hats, gloves, ropes and even the bull riding vest. This seemingly innocuous piece of clothing is not an eight-second fashion statement, it is a potential lifesaver. That is why every guy on a bull is wearing one.
The next time you are watching bull riding, pay attention the riders and their vests. You may very well see more than one instance in which the bull riding vest provided necessary protection for someone with the guts and skills to hop on the back of those deadly bulls!