No Bull - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

No Bull

February 17, 2006

Albany -- The Albany Civic Center has a different look tonight, with over a foot of dirt covering the arena floor.

They're not behind on their cleaning.

Not yet, anyway.

Some of the top bull riders in the country will hit the dirt in Albany for the PRCA event at the Civic Center, but tonights competition is most anticipated by the guys still looking to make it to the big time.

The top 45 riders in the world are on national TV every week.

A good number of those riders will be in Albany tonight, but announcer Terry Starnes says sometimes the most excitement is generated by the guys still looking for their chance in the spotlight.

"We've got some guys coming in here that are name-brand bull riders. The good part about it is right behind them we've got those little dry mouth rookies that want to be on TV so bad they can't stand it."

18 year-old rookie J.J. Thiel says, "I just got my PBR card, so I'm going to go to them and see how I do."

Between a rookie and a world champion, there's a differing opinion on whether it's the start or the finish that's the toughest part of bull riding.

Event announcer and eight-time world champion Don Gay says, "The last second becomes most important because you develop an internal clock for that eight second ride and that's tough to overcome."

The rookie Thiel says, "I think it's hard from the first second to the last one. It just depends on how lucky you get, I guess."

Starnes says an event like this is great experience for a young rider like Thiel.

"These guys ride bulls as good as anybody, most of them. There's a lot more to it that riding bulls. You gotta know how to get there and get on them."

Thiel has been riding since he was eight years old, and says it just came naturally.

"My dad rode bulls and it's just kind of a family tradition, I guess. They're glad I was going to be a bull rider, and not anything else."

And that's no bull.

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