If facing 900kg of rampaging hamburger for 8 seconds sounds daunting, try doing it for 6 hours… every weekend. On top of that, add the responsibility of keeping 40 cowboys and your coworkers alive. Sound good? Welcome to the world of the bullfighter.
The PBR’s protection athletes risk life and limb on a regular basis to save cowboys (and each other) from the heads, horns and hooves of their adversaries in the arena.
Each year the top bull riders of the PBR vote to determine which set of guardian angels will watch over them at the PBR National Finals and throughout the season at the Cup Series events. This year, Shane “Maddog” Simpson, Darryl Chong & Mitch Russell got the nod.
Protection Athlete Uniforms
The protection athletes uniform has changed over the years. The oversized clothing which once lent itself to the “clown” role has evolved into a loose-fitting jersey and shorts, which allow for maximum movement. The size of the garments serves another purpose: it makes the protection athlete a bigger target. In the words of PBR World Finals bullfighter Frank Newsom, “The bull might think he’s got you, when he’s just got your shorts.”
The vest is notably different from those worn by the cowboys. Since the vest is worn under the outer clothing, fashion plays no part. Another difference is that the protection athlete’s vest features hard plastic outer shells on the front and back, while the rider’s does not. Both types of vests feature break-away construction in the event of a hooking.
The padded garment worn under the baggier outer shorts keep muscles warm and loose while providing protection with both foam and plastic padding.
Shane ‘Maddog’ Simpson
Current Residence: Mackay Qld
Height: 184cm Weight: 92kg
PBR bullfighter Shane “Mad Dog” Simpson is originally from Central Qld but has worked for the past few years in the USA as a protection athlete. Mad Dog is considered among the top five bullfighters in the world and is a true character of the sport. Maddog’s brash exterior belies the caring heart of a man who puts his life on the line for his mates every time he steps inside a bull-riding arena.
1992 to 1995 Bullriding Australia Champion
2007 Alternate for PBR World Finals
2008 PBR World Finals
Chosen to work the 2007, 2008 and 2010 PBR World Cups.
PBR protection athlete since 2006
Current Residence: Blackwater, Qld
Height: 168cm Weight: 72kg
2007, 2008, 2010 APRA Champion
PBR protection Athlete since 2009
Current Residence: Maitland, NSW
Height: 170cm Weight: 84kg
2011 ABCRA Champion
PBR Protection Athlete since 2010
© PBR Australia, Inc. 2013