Amish Bull - Rider Aspires To Big Leagues of Sport
May 28, 2009
GARNETT, Ks.--What does a good Amish boy growing up in Jamesport, Mo., do?
In Henry Yoder‘s case, he becomes a professional bull-rider.
In Henry Yoder’s case, he becomes the 2008 world champion of the National Federation of Professional Bull-riders.
“Everybody has God-given gifts,” Yoder said. “This is mine and I enjoy doing it.”
Being an Amish bull-rider might appear a bit against the grain, but Yoder said it’s a natural fit for him. Yoder grew up around farm animals on his parents’ farm at Jamesport. When his parents weren’t looking, “my cousins and I would dare each other to try to ride calves and young steers.”
When an uncle tried bull-riding, Yoder decided he would try as well. He’s been on the bull-riding circuit seven years, since he turned 18.
His parents and family were surprised when he made his career choice, he said.
“When I first started, they were a little leery of it,” Yoder said. “But I kept on riding and improving and they could see I could take care of myself.”
Part of bull-riding’s popularity as a spectator sport is that it looks dangerous. Riders grab a rope with one hand, climb aboard and wrap their legs around three-quarters of a ton of muscle and fury. When the gate opens, the bull explodes in a frenzy of spins, short charges and leaps with riders holding on for dear life. The ride lasts only a few seconds, until horse-mounted riders and garishly dressed rodeo clowns race in to drag them from the bulls‘ backs.
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