Tuesday, January 08, 2019

All The Bulls Are Hard

For the past 15 years or so, bucking bulls have been intensively bred like racehorses to make them harder to ride.  Breeders use high-tech reproductive techniques and a detailed, computerized registry of 180,000 bulls and cows.  Cowboys have continued to be bred the old-fashioned way.

The end result of all this effort, unsurprisingly, is that the bulls are becoming harder to ride. In earlier times, a rider had a chance to draw an easy bull. Now, all the bulls are hard, as both the riders and breeders will attest. In 1995, cowboys finished their rides 46 percent of the time; in 2012 they managed just 26 percent. Since then, the cowboys seem to have caught on a bit: their success rate has hovered around 29 percent for the past two years. Still, getting thrown 71 percent of the time means absorbing a lot of pain.

-- James Gorman, How to Make a Bucking Bull: Good Breeding and, Just Maybe, a Cow's Love, New York Times, 5 January 2019

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