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Top 40 bull riders in the world compete in Tampa today

The top 40 bull riders in the world will be in Tampa today for a simple task, really: stay on the bull for 8 seconds while hanging on for dear life with only one hand. Did we mention the bull weighs 1,500 pounds? And you can watch it all at the Built Ford Tough Series tour at the St. Pete Times Forum.

Tough guys J.B. Mauney and Brian Cantor of North Carolina, Kody Lostroh of Colorado, Brazilian star Guilherme Marchi and more are here to qualify for the finals in Las Vegas and the Professional Bull Riders World Champion title.

We caught up with PBR iron man Luke Snyder, who hasn't missed an event since earning his tour card in 2001. A win at this weekend's event — his 241st in a row — would boost Snyder's career earnings past the $1 million mark. Here are some highlights of the conversation:

What famous pro athlete would you like to see try to ride a bull?

It wouldn't be a basketball player. We're pretty compact. That helps you as far as the centrifugal force. I'd say a thoroughbred horse jockey would probably have a great chance.

So a football player wouldn't have the right body type? You know they talk about how dangerous it is.

Football is dangerous, but when a bull is jumping around you, he doesn't stop when somebody blows a whistle. Your adrenaline gets going (after you get thrown). You've definitely got to get out of there.

What are some of your favorite bull names?

This weekend one of the bulls is (2007 PBR bull of the year) Chicken on a Chain. He's part-owned by the comedian who plays Larry the Cable Guy. I'm thinking that may be one of his jokes.

Ah yes, the bulls. Here are some that will be there today (yes, we picked them solely based on their names) along with the average time in seconds it takes to toss off a cowboy.

• Booger Butt (3.78)

• Super Beast (3.8)

• Lil' Wicked (4.3)

• Mean Machine (3.95)

• Alligator Chomp (5.17)

Tickets start at $10 for the 8 p.m. show at the Forum, 401 Channelside Drive; (813) 301-2500.

After two hours of heart-pounding action, the cowboys — and you, of course — are going to need a beer. Mosey over to the official PBR After Party at 10:30 p.m. at The Roundup, 13918 Hillsborough Ave., Tampa.

Sharon Ginn contributed to this report

The baddest ever

That's a matter of opinion, but it's hard to argue with Bodacious. The 1,800-pound bull developed a nasty habit of dropping his front end in mid-buck to pull the rider down then snapping his head back to smash a cowboy in the face. After seriously injuring two riders, he was retired in 1995 at age 7, still in his prime but way too dangerous to ride. He later was a celebrity guest at Harrah's Las Vegas and somehow got into the pages of GQ and Penthouse.

Top 40 bull riders in the world compete in Tampa today 02/05/09 [Last modified: Thursday, February 5, 2009 10:02pm]
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