Short ride a memorable one for Ochocinco
By Steve Eubanks
It only lasted a second and a half, but to hear Chad Ochocinco tell it, his brief but adventurous time on top of a bucking bull named Deja Blu was the most memorable, powerful and adrenaline-packed One Mississippi of his life.
"Of all the things I've done, there is no way to describe the adrenaline and the power of that animal," Ochocinco said after being bucked off in only 1.5 seconds at the PBR event in Duluth, Ga. on Saturday night. "I wasn't worried about hitting the dirt or where the bull was. I was mad that I wasn't able to ride longer. I got bucked out of the chute. That's embarrassing."
It is also more than a little crazy. Bull riding is only slightly less dangerous than aquatic ballet in a shark tank. Every 15 times a PBR bull chute opens, a professional bull rider is injured with 7% of those injuries requiring a trip to the emergency room. When your opponent is a 1,500-pound animal that bucks with three tons of force, the injuries are a tad more severe than turf toe.
Nine-time world champion cowboy Ty Murray, the best rider in the history of the sport, tried to talk Ochocinco out of it. "He told me I was in over my head," Ochocinco said. Murray was charged with teaching the 11-year NFL veteran the fundamentals of bull riding and keeping him alive.
"This was an unbelievably monumental task," Murray said. "Take the highest level of something, no matter what it is you start out with baby steps. (Chad) started out as high as you can go. You might teach ski schools all day long where you teach somebody to snowplow and then to do side to side. I was faced with a guy wanting to jump out of a helicopter on top of the Alps."
It wasn't as though Ochocinco had a death wish.
"Every down is a risk to my career," he said. "Every time I wake up in the morning is a risk to life in general. You never know what's going to happen. I don't live life like that. It was extremely interesting and unpredictable. I am willing to do anything. If God said it was okay to ride, and he did, he said 'I gotcha,' then I went out and rode."
It started as a Twitter dare. Ochocinco, with 2 million Twitter followers, was working out in Atlanta when he saw a television special on Valdiron de Oliveira, the No. 1 bull rider in the world. Within minutes, Ochocinco had tweeted that he would be going head-to-head with Valdiron at the PBR event in Duluth. Minutes after that, the PBR responded via Twitter, taking him up on the dare.
"They said would you like to come down and ride and I said ‘Yeah,' " the Bengal receiver said. "It's bull riding. It can't be that hard. Those were my thoughts because I'm so naïve."
He isn't naïve any more. "This sport does not get enough credit," he said. "These guys should be the highest-paid athletes."
For getting on the bull and out the chute, Ochocinco received $10,000, money he plans to donate to charity.
"It was fun," he said. "One more thing off the bucket list."
But does he plan to do it again?
"No, absolutely not. One and done."
As for what the NFL thinks about this stunt, Ochocinco didn't pull any punches on that front either. "I'm sure my coaches were pissed, and I'm sure the NFL is pissed, but I don't follow their rules anyway," he said. "They don't give a f*** about us, so I don't give a f*** about them."