Bashed-around bull rider back for more

Lawrence bull rider Jimmy Longley came out of retirement on Saturday to compete in the Mad Bull...
Lawrence bull rider Jimmy Longley came out of retirement on Saturday to compete in the Mad Bull Rodeo, at Henley. PHOTOS: PETER MCINTOSH
In the greater scale of life, 46 is still a pretty young age — unless you are a rodeo bull rider.

Jimmy Longley says riding a 1000kg bucking bull at his age feels akin to an 80-year-old riding a mobility scooter at high speed down an escalator and flying over the handle bars at the bottom.

"It’s pretty hard on the body.

"At 46, I’m over the hill in terms of bull riding. A lot of them quit when they get to their 30s."

Longley said he, too, had retired from bull riding in his 30s after accruing a long list of injuries, including dislocated shoulders, smashed ribs, a broken arm, a "bashed-up knee" — and he has forgotten how many times he has been knocked unconscious.

But 11 years after his last bull ride, the Lawrence shepherd came out of retirement for one last season, which started at the Mad Bull Rodeo in Henley on Saturday.

Why?

"Because my two sons are riding now, and I thought I would come back and do another season — maybe two — with the boys while I still can.

"I’m still pretty fit, but I’ve had to get out and do quite a bit of gym work down in my garage to prepare for this."

Mr Longley said he started riding when he was 17, and rodeo still ran thick in his blood.

"Every guy does it for different reasons, but I just enjoy doing it.

"It’s a lot of fun and there’s a good group of guys at rodeos.

"Once you’re on the bull and you nod for the gate, it’s just you and the bull and 14 other guys cheering you on."

He was one of about 30 riders who competed in events including the junior and novice steer rides, the second division and open bull rides, and the junior, second division and open barrel races.

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