A lot is riding on bulls at school in Oregon
Former No. 1 bull rider Myron Duarte schools young riders in the sport in Jefferson, Ore.
Seattle Times staff photographer
Part of an occasional series
Bull school is not for the bulls. They're not lesson-oriented.
They mostly think, "Get off my back."
Bull school is for young riders with hopes of becoming professionals someday.
It's taught by Myron Duarte, formerly ranked No. 1 in the nation, with more buckles and trophies than he can track.
Seven youngsters are getting the fine points of the sport in Jefferson, Ore., from equipment to chute procedures to how to get off the bull.
"It's a dangerous sport," says Duarte, who has broken ribs, arms, shoulders, knees, ankles and his jaw in a two-decade career.
He demonstrates "back straight, chin down, elbow bent and push on your rope."
Twelve hundred pounds of Bad Bob is packed into the first chute.
The bull's owners at Branton's Arena say "he's more of a pet who just acts all tough and mean." Bad Bob casts a wary eye at the next eight-second passenger.
Duarte says, "If a bull throws a fit, know what to do. Go slow and steady in the chute.
"It won't upset the bull."
Bad Bob has not gotten the message.
The gate opens. He bolts, snorts, bucks and sends his student rider airborne.
He has his own lesson to impart: This is the school of hard knocks.
Alan Berner: 206-464-8133 or email@example.com