Riders Compete In Most Dangerous 8 Seconds In Sports

Lamar Lehman of Wolcottville, Indiana performs his first ride during the Southern Extreme Bull Riding Association rodeo on Friday at the Auglaize County Fair.
Managing Editor

 It’s the most dangerous eight seconds in sports, but it’s also a thrill of a lifetime.

Sixteen riders competed in the Southern Extreme Bull Riding Association (SEBRA) rodeo on Friday at the Auglaize County Fair and the show featured one of the best riders in the world as well as an upset at the end. 

The nearly two-hour rodeo featured No. 1 rider Cody West — who has made $11,821.08 coming into Friday — as well as other top riders in No. 2-ranked rider Hayden Townsend and No. 5 rider Lamar Lehman. The event also featured riders from nearby counties, including Jesse James — 77th-ranked — and Davey Thompson — both from Celina in Mercer County and Tanner House from Van Wert County. 2018 Rookie of the Year and 12th-ranked rider Briar Schultheisz from Waterford also competed in the star-studded lineup.

With a full crowd at hand in the grandstands, fans were treated with a close match as Marcus Mast’s lone ride yielded him 81 points, beating out West’s 80.5 for the win.

To receive a score, the rider must stay atop the bull for eight seconds with the use of one hand gripped on a bull rope tied behind the bull’s forelegs. Touching the bull or themselves with the free hand or failing to reach the eight-second mark, results in a no-score ride. A perfect score is 100 points, but most scores land in the 70s and 80s — as was the case on Friday.

Lehman, who finished third in the competition, said he had grown up watching rodeos and wanted to give it a try. 

“I started out local, playing close to the house where I would get on practice bulls,” he said. “But once we started getting into i there are different associations — you enter — and we travel everywhere around the country.”

Back home in Indiana, Lehman said he uses a drop barrel to practice as well as getting on practice bulls to prepare him for events such as Friday night’s.

Lehman said he is a member of SEBRA and Professional Bull Riders (PBR). Lehman said PBR involves playing for more money and is considered the professional league in bull riding.

The SEBRA event on Friday was worth $1,000 to the riders. Lehman said SEBRA events range from as low as $500 to as much as $5,000, while the PBR events range from a minimum of $10,000 to as high as $100,000.

“I like the adrenaline rush. There ain’t no comparison,” Lehman said. “I can’t really explain it, but it’s just fun.”

James said he has been bull riding for six or seven years with a number of bumps and bruises. He said he broke open a cut near his eye and had his eye swollen shut. 

“I got my hand tied up and the bull was going away from me, but it decided to turn back at me,” he said. “He had what we call high horns and he came around, brought his head up while my head was coming down and he completely split my eyebrow open.”

He has also dealt with a broken cheek bone as well as broken ribs a couple of years ago and was making his first appearance after dealing with injuries leading up to Friday. Now he wears a helmet to save his face.

“I’m a little more fortunate than some of these guys,” James added. “You never know what you are going to get. You ride a different bull every time. You do a draw-in and whatever number you draw, matches up with a bull and that is what you get. You never know what bull you are going to get and you never know what they are going to do.”

James said he competes in fewer rodeos than most riders because he has another full-time job, but he hits around 70 to 80 rodeos in a season.

For a full story, see Saturday's print edition of The Evening Leader.