There’s no doubt that mechanical bull rides are the life of the party. Nothing can be more entertaining than watching your friends get bucked off, attractive girls on the slow ride, and finally hanging on for 8 seconds or longer. Unfortunately, your night to remember could be spoiled without proper safety precautions.
It’s important to remember that although you aren’t riding an actual bull in a rodeo, you’re still on a very powerful machine that is used to train the real professional bull riders. Mechanical bulls pack a punch, and the establishment, the bull operator, and mechanical bull riders need to be prepared and responsible when purchasing, setting up, and riding the bull.
When purchasing a mechanical bull
A mechanical bull ride can be a huge attraction for many different events and establishments. The popular ride is often seen at carnivals, birthday parties, charity events, and bars across the United States and other parts of the world. When purchasing or renting a mechanical bull, it’s important that you do your research before making any commitments. The safety of your guests could depend on your decision. Ask yourself the following questions before making a purchasing or rental decision:
Is the bull designed for over-head or side toss?
Most mechanical bull injuries occur when a rider is thrown over the head of the bull. This comes from poor bull design and poor planning of the riding motion. MBS bulls are designed to toss riders off the side of the bull rather than over-top of the bulls horns.
Does the mechanical bull have a metal handle, a leather strap, or a rope to grip?
A mechanical bull ride with either a leather strap or a rope handle are your best options. Many people prefer the rope to the leather handle because it is easier to release if you fall off of the bull. However, a metal handle can be a huge negative. If a guest or customer falls forward over the handle, they could get injured. In addition, the strap should be a single rope, not a connected strap. This will help avoid any wrist injuries.
Is the mechanical bull well padded?
Nothing screams injury quite like a mechanical bull that feels hard as a rock when you touch it. Make sure the bull is sufficiently padded around the head and the horns, first. The last thing you want is a customer or a guest to bruise their head, break their nose, or otherwise injure themselves because the mechanical bull you purchased or rented was unsafe.
What kind of controllers are available?
The control unit is important for events or establishments that the owner or event planner is expecting to get a range of mechanical bull riding experience. Controllers should have speed or riding level options that range from slow (amateur) to fast (expert). This ensures that an inexperienced rider won’t be injured because the level of difficulty was too high, and that experienced riders are presented with a challenge.
Operating a mechanical bull ride
Just like any other mechanical ride, the operator is a key player when it comes to keeping your guests and customers safe. Mechanical bull operators are responsible for not only controlling the bull, but also to ensure proper set-up and maintenance, as well as who to allow on the bull. Operators should perform the following checklist before allowing riders on the bull:
- Be sure the air mattress is fully inflated.
- Set the air pump to run constantly while the mechanical bull is active.
- Clear the area of any objects that may cause injury should the rider fall off.
- Check the bull for any defects (i.e. defects in the padding)
- Perform a test run on all levels (speeds) to be sure mechanics are working properly.
- Cover or move all cords that may cause someone to trip
During the rides, it’s important that the operator is aware of customers and guests both riding the bull and around the area of the mechanical bull ride. Be aware of customers attempting to enter the ring while a rider is on the bull, guests throwing objects, or individuals creating a clearly hazardous environment for both themselves and the riders.
As for the riders, there are different rules at every event or establishment that pertain to who may or may not ride the mechanical bull. However, some basic no-no’s include overly intoxicated individuals, double riders, and riders with a noticeable injury such as a cast or an open wound. This guarantees that those wishing to ride the mechanical bull are safe, and the establishment or event is protected from any legal repercussions.
Riding a mechanical bull safely
Though operators are tasked with informing riders who may or may not rider the mechanical bull, riders should use some common sense before attempting to ride.
Not only is it embarrassing when a little bit too much is revealed because you chose to wear a dress or a skirt to ride a mechanical bull, but inappropriate clothing can also cause injuries. Cuts, scrapes, and abrasions can happen if you aren’t wearing jeans or longer pants that cover your skin making contact with the bull.
Too much to drink
Be responsible and know when you’ve had too much to drink. Alcohol and intoxication of any kind severely impairs your balance, and you need your balance to ride a mechanical bull. If you attempt to ride after having too much to drink, you increase the risk of hitting your head, injuring yourself while falling, or making a poor decision that leads to a more severe injury.
Sure, two girls riding the slow ride is something everyone looks forward to seeing. And of course, riding the bull with your significant other seems fun and romantic. However, having more than one rider on the bull is extremely dangerous. You increase your odds of injury because now you have to ride the bull in tandem without knowing exactly how the bull is going to move.
At Mechanical Bull Sales, we take the safety of our customers and their customers very seriously. Our mechanical bulls are all inspected for padding, damage, or malfunction before being sold and we ensure all owners and operators know how to properly operate and inspect their equipment before allowing riders on the bull. We provide top-of-the-line accessories that both look great and allow you to keep guests and customers as safe as possible. Though injuries may still occur despite the precautions, having the correct equipment, a qualified operator, and informing your customers of risks will prevent most.