If you have a bucket list, and bull riding is on it, you won’t have to drive very far in Connecticut to do it.
Let’R’Buck in North Canaan is New England’s first and only bull riding school, and it’s considered one of the world’s best according to its owner, JW Gowan.
“Toughest sport on dirt,” Gowan says. I learned that with a mouthful of dirt.
Training starts on a very tall horse, without a saddle, to strengthen the inner thighs and to condition the core. That was already a very rough ride for me. Then it’s onto a see-sawing barrel where dismounting can be a challenge.
Finally, if you’re a beginner like me, Gowan puts you on what he considers a gentle, 2000 pound bull. Watch the video to see how that turned out for me. I believe my “unofficial time,” both times, was 2.8 seconds…far from the 8 seconds which make pro bull riders champions.
Gowan has different levels of bulls. After two rides, he wanted to put me on a bigger bucker. I said, “No thanks, and by the way, thank you for the bruised ribs.”