WARNING: The following article contains graphic images that some readers may find disturbing.
One angry bull, 23 volunteers who aren’t allowed to run and a $100 prize.
What could possibly go wrong?
A lot it seems.
A number of spectators were injured on Sunday at the 2019 ‘Bull Bash’ rodeo and bull-riding event in Owensboro, Kentucky.
A game called ‘Cowboy Pinball’ ended in disaster when two spectators were flung through the air by a bull, leaving one unconscious.
How ‘Cowboy Pinball’ works
Volunteers were each placed in a small circle in a rodeo pen, before a bull with $100 tied to its flank was released into the pen.
Whoever grabbed the $100 without leaving their circle was supposed to be declared the winner.
Video shows a first run of the game going off seemingly as planned, but then a second bull was introduced after the first one was substituted.
The second bull seemed to have a much worse temperament for the event, and had no problem with charging the participants.
‘Never saw the man regain consciousness’
At least one spectator the Owensboro Times spoke to said he initially thought the event might have been comedic.
And then it all played out, with multiple participants being thrown into the air, and that’s when the arena reportedly became silent.
“A hush came across the gym,” the spectator said. “This did not seem normal for them [the producers of the event].
“I never saw the [second] man [regain consciousness].
“They were trying to decide who should get the $100 prize, and the people who were still left on the floor said they didn’t want it.
“They said to give it to the guy who was injured.”
The man was reportedly transferred to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
‘They love the entertainment of it’
Officials reportedly claimed each participant signed a waiver acknowledging the potential injuries, accidents and even death that could occur during the event.
The operators of the Owensboro Sportscenter told the Times that they were unaware the game was going to even be played until Saturday and that they requested the producers not play the game during Sunday’s kid-focused event.
“We’ve done this event quite a bit throughout the South. They love the entertainment of it,” the rodeo announcer for the event, Marvin Blanton, said.
“The show wasn’t about the last three minutes of it. It’s unfortunate that one guy got hauled out on a stretcher.
“The important thing is, the right people were here. They had paramedics that were taking care of him.”
The general manager of the Sportscenter noted that she has been told this game has been played elsewhere, and a quick YouTube search backs that up, with videos claiming to capture events in Clemson, South Carolina, and Gainesville, Florida.