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Mechanical Bull Riding Tips: A How To Guide

Are you planning on jumping on that mechanical bull ride at the bar tonight? The last thing you want is to fall off – even if that’s what your friends want to see. At Mechanical Bull Sales, we not only want to see you succeed in riding a mechanical bull, but we want you to stay safe while doing it!

Follow these tips and you’ll be riding that bull like a pro in no time!

Get a grip!

A rope handle as shown above is the safest type

A rope handle as shown above
is the safest type

Most mechanical bulls come equipped with either a rope handle or a leather strap so riders can have the best grip possible. Many people prefer the rope to the leather handle because it is easier to release if you fall off the bull. However, a metal handle on a mechanical bull can be a huge negative. Falling forward on a metal handle could cause injury and you should avoid these mechanical bull rides.

Use your dominant hand to grip the rope handle or leather strap. Keep your second hand free to help you with balance. We suggest a firm grip.

Special Note: if the Bull you are riding has a connected handle, be sure that your palm is face up, rather than overhand. This is important for two reasons.

  • It allows your body the movement you need during the mechanical bull ride
  • If you fall off, it’s a cleaner release than if you held the handle overhand.

Extra Tip:

If you ride mechanical bulls often or are entering a tournament, you may want to invest in a pair of gloves that fit well on your hand. Frequent riding without a glove can give you large callouses or cause your knuckles to split and bleed.

Balance is everything

Proper balance is everything. You need to position yourself towards the front of the “seat,” as close to the handle as possible without actually sitting on your hand. This helps you keep maximum control over your body and helps to center your weight. Your body is the counterbalance to the bull. In other words, the weight of your body balances the weight of the bull. If the mechanical bull tips forward, your body should move backwards. If the bull’s head moves backwards, your body should move forward.
Extra Tip: Sometimes – most commonly with women – riders use their non-grip hand to help their balance. Your arm directs your body and uses your counterweight to help you stay on the bull.

If you’re riding a bull from Mechanical Bull Sales, the operator has several different settings from amateur to experience riders. If it’s your first time riding, you can ask the operator for the lowest setting and practice your balancing techniques.

In this video, you can see how the rider reacts to the motion of the bull as the levels increase. The harder the bull moves, the more his body works to keep him in his seat.

Don’t freak out

The longer you stay on the bull, the more the mechanical bull will try to throw you off. As speed increases, a lot of beginner riders get nervous and get thrown off the ride. Once the bull begins to move, do not get nervous and try to adjust your grip or move on your seat. Remember – this is fun! There’s no reason to be nervous.

When Jack Black was on Ellen, he started off with the proper technique, but once the bull began to move more quickly, he gets nervous and eventually falls off.

Don’t ride double

A pretty girl riding a mechanical bull is definitely one of the reasons these rides are so popular. And two pretty girls on a mechanical bull ride is better, right? No – it’s actually really dangerous.

Imagine running face first into a wall – what do you imagine will happen? If you said a broken nose, busted lip, black eye or a pretty knot on your forehead, you’re right. The same thing can happen to you if you choose to ride double on a mechanical bull ride. When the bull begins throwing you around, it doesn’t take much for the two riders to knock heads. Accidents like this have happened, and unfortunately one of the most common injuries is a broken nose. No one wants to end a night of fun with a trip to the hospital.

Dress appropriately

Your mechanical bull ride will never end well if you didn’t plan ahead and wear the proper clothing. This general rule applies almost always to ladies. If you are planning on getting on a mechanical bull ride, do not wear that really cute black dress or the very short mini skirt.

While riding a mechanical bull, your ankles, legs, and knees all rub against the bull during the ride. If you aren’t wearing jeans – or if you have bare skin in contact with the bull – you might be leaving with minor scrapes and cuts. Wearing jeans or pants takes away the risk of being pinch, cut, or scraped by the ride.

Though scraped knees are uncomfortable, the biggest concern is what could happen during the ride. Wearing a skirt or dress is an obvious problem while riding a mechanical bull. The last thing you want, ladies, is to reveal a little bit too much if you wall off or while you’re still riding the mechanical bull. And once you try to adjust your clothing, you can almost guarantee that you won’t be on the back of the bull for much longer.

Think you’re ready to take the bull by the horns and jump on the ride? For more riding tips, product information, and safety precautions, visit the Mechanical Bull Sales website and follow our blog.


How to Ride a Mechanical Bull. (n.d.). Retrieved February 02, 2016, from

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