Belton: Bull Fighter Takes Danger By The Horns

By: Kristin Gordon Email
By: Kristin Gordon Email

BELL COUNTY (February 9, 2013)--The PRCA Rodeo has one more night to take local residents on a wild ride of excitement and danger. The rodeo will be held at the Bell County Expo on February 9, starting at 7:30pm.

The two hour event will include legendary bullfighter, Rudy Burns. Also on tap is top notch bull rider, Sammy Andrews, and the meanest offspring from his famous bull, "Bodacious."

The event will also include bull fighters, Clint Hopping and his sidekick, Scotty Spencer. "We do a lot of stepping around to try and keep the bull riders from getting hurt," said Hopping.

The bull fighter is responsible for catching the bulls attention when the bull rider takes a dive. Even before the ride ends and the whistle blows Hopping steps in ready to distract the bull so the rider can make a clean getaway. "It's always a good day at the office when everyone walks away," said Hopping. "But if necessary, we will step in and take the hook for the bull rider." Another reason for this is to make sure the animal is safe, according to Hopping.

Even though the job of a bull fighter is a dangerous job, Hopping said he wouldn't give it up. "I love that moment right before the gate cracks, why you don't know what's going to happen. Your heart starts beating fast and it goes real quiet in your head. The crowds start yelling and just at that moment is when you have to get up and perform."

According to Hopping, bull fighters do paint their faces, but they are different than the rodeo clowns. "I like to say the difference is we wear cleats and they tell jokes. We have a Facebook and they usually have an AARP card." said Hopping, as he chuckled.

After the final night of PRCA rodeo in Bell County, Hopping said it's time to move on to the next one. "Somewhere in Texas there is a rodeo under way, so I always stay pretty busy," said Hopping. "There is a rodeo season, but we still keep rolling beyond those dates. One weekend it is Montana and the next it could be Florida." Hopping says he sees the same people on his rodeo circuit and that helps form friendships with those who travel the roads along with him.

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