Just like the cowboys always said: When the bull bucks you off, get up and have another shot of tequila.
Last weekend, this reporter went toe-to-hoof with Brooklyn’s most dastardly, vicious, and only mechanical bull — which was just installed at the Viva Toro bar on Berry Street in Williamsburg.
Now, I’ve braved some gutsy challenges in my day — including the obligatory Tasering — but none whipped my spine around like tumbleweed. Indeed, it was my first ride on a hulking 1,600 pounds of steel, hydraulics and horns — but a little liquid courage and the roar of the (laughing) crowd put me in a cool state of do-not-care.
Straddling the beast — given the appropriate feminine name, Michelle — I held my cowboy hat up high and dug in my spurs. The operator has full control of the monster, including its spin speed and buck strength, which gives that extra little touch of mystery. And fear.
I lost my B-card with surprising grace. Though I flew face-first into the inflatable arena several times, bartenders said I gripped the saddle with the strength and expertise of a “solid” amateur, rather than a newbie. If you’ve ever been blessed with the opportunity to see these monster thighs, you’d know why I was able to hold on for so long.
I even had to tell the operator to ramp it up a bit — the kiddie setting was just too elementary.
All right, so I may have cheated a little bit: a mechanical bull manufacturer gave me some tips before that fateful ride.
“Most people turn into a wooden plank when they get on,” said Robin Whincup, owner of the England-based Rodeo Bull Company. “If the bull’s going one way, you have to counter-balance your weight and go the other way, otherwise you’re done.”
Here are some other tips for Michelle’s next victims — take them from a cowboy who knows:
• Drink booze. Syrup may not make you the king of the rodeo, but it’s gonna hurt a lot less when you get thrown off (physically and in regards to your dignity).
• Lock the thighs, loosen the torso. It’s all about holding on with your dominant hand and legs. If you stiffen up, your body will follow the bull’s erratic movement — when she jolts in another direction, your momentum will send you flying.
• Counter-balance your weight. If the bull goes one way, move your upper half in the opposing direction. Also, hold your other arm in the air to balance yourself. You’ll stay on a lot longer and look really cool.
• Get a hat, and don’t blow it. Seriously, you’re gonna have some spectators at Viva Toro. We condone having the guts to ride, but if you’re going to impress the ladies (or gentlemen), try looking like a real cowboy and stay on as long as you can.