Grab the bull by the horns

Posted by on Oct 18th, 2010 and filed under Featured, Nightlife. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

In honor of Las Vegas hosting the PBR World Finals, VEGAS.com nightlife writer Justin Lawson set out to the find the badest bull on the Strip. He suffered a few bumps, bruises and some shots to his ego, but managed to make it into the office to give you a summary of what he found.

The ranking was determined by an extremely unscientific means. Basically, the first criteria was the bull itself: appearance and authenticity. After that, the other factors included were the type of bull, electric or hydraulic, because hydraulic bulls behave more like the real thing and have a bigger range of motion.

The operator skill level is huge because anyone can get whipped off sooner later if you just spin the bull out of control, but really, how many bulls just spin? Bulls buck, spin and sometimes do both at the same time.

And while environment does play some roll in the deciding factor, this is about the bulls themselves. So the harder the ride, well, the better the score.

To stay true to the authenticity we’ve included the terminology actual bull riders would use in describing these bulls and in this contest, it was clear there were two winners: PBR Rock Bar and Stoney’s.

The bull operator at Gilley's Saloon and Dance Hall surfs the mechanical bull.

The bull operator at Gilley's Saloon and Dance Hall surfs the mechanical bull.

Cadillac Ranch
At Town Square
Cost: $3
Type of bull: Electric
Operator skill level: Usually a trained member of the wait staff that has developed their own method of throwing people off the bull.
Crowd environment: Ready for a laugh.
Cushioning: Air bag feels only half inflated when walking on it, but it provides plenty of cushioning when bucked off.
Beverage to help heal wounds: Pear…fect 59 Cadillac.
Summary: It’s always exciting to see a bull leap up in the air and spin with a cowboy on its back. But it’s not as much fun when that person on the bull’s back is you. Putting the bull on spin cycle is almost a sure-fire way to get you bucked off and it’s sure to happen to you here.
Rating: Spinner: A bull that tends to come out of the chute and spins to the left or right.

Gilley’s
Inside TI
Cost: $10
Type of bull: Hydraulic
Operator skill level: Professional operator with 1.5 years experience at multiple locations.
Crowd environment: Usually ready to hop on the bull right after you.
Cushioning: Feels like a bounce house.
Beverage to help heal wounds: Shot of Jack Daniels.
Summary: Feels more like a real bull, or at least what we think a real bull would feel like. The back and forth motion pushes you to find a good balance. Squeeze tightly with your legs, hold one hand up and get ready for a ride.
Rating: Honker: A really rank and hard bull to ride.

PBR Rock Bar
Inside Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood
Cost: Operator works for tips
Type of bull: Hydraulic
Operator skill level: Four years
Crowd environment: With the 80-ounce guitar drink cups in tow, the crowd can be pretty riled up.
Cushioning: Prime quality allowing you to easily leap on board and a bit of bounce when you get flung off.
Beverage to help heal wounds: Hat bender.
Summary: There isn’t a head on this bull for a reason. The bull dips down 45 degrees which makes it easy for you to flip over the front if you’re not prepared for the angle.
Rating: Fighting Bull: The kind of bull that you would like to give your mother-in-law. These bulls are almost considered to be head hunters.

Stoney’s
9151 S. Las Vegas Blvd No. 300
Cost: Operator works for tips.
Type of bull: Hydraulic
Operator skill level: All have several years under their belts.
Crowd environment: This is a country bar, so they expect good rides or a good laugh.
Cushioning: The bounce you need to get up without looking like a fool, and plenty more to help you on the way down.
Beverage to help heal wounds: Shot of Jack Daniels
Summary: The bull looks as real as can be without being a real one and with highly-skilled operators you better hang on for your life. Really it’s the same bull as the one at PBR, just this one actually has a head to it, which makes it look mean.
Rating: Fighting Bull: The kind of bull that you would like to give your mother-in-law. These bulls are almost considered to be head hunters.

Toby’ Keith’s I Love This Bar
At Harrah’s
Cost: Free
Type of bull: Electronic 
Operator skill level: Some training
Crowd environment: Party atmosphere puts much attention on the bull – and you.
Cushioning: Like an air mattress filled three-quarters of the way up. Soft enough to catch you, but not bouncy enough to help you get on the bull.
Beverage to help heal wounds: Whiskey Girl
Summary: The bull is a bit smaller than the other ones in town, but the six-inch rope that serves as the only keeping you on the bull sure makes the ride interesting. Be prepared to hold on with your hand and not so much with your legs.
Rating: Arm Jerker: A bull that is really stout and bucks with the power to cause a great amount of pull on the contestant’s arm.

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