Bull at center of escape takes stage at rodeo


by Courtney Zubowski / 11 News


Posted on March 11, 2010 at 1:08 AM

Updated Thursday, Mar 11 at 1:10 AM

The rodeo bull that ran wild through a parking lot took center stage at Reliant Stadium Wednesday night.

Hard Ball has become something of a celebrity since his escape over the weekend. He went hoof to toe Wednesday with a cowboy who tried to hold on for eight seconds.

Tyler Thomson didn’t mind all of the attention, but the Canadian Champion bull rider wished it was his reputation that was causing all the hoopla, not the reputation of a 1,600 pound hornless bull.

“I pulled into the parking lot today and the lady at the gate asked if Tyler Thomson was in the truck and I spoke up and I said, ‘yeah,’” said the bull rider.

At that point, Thomson had yet to hear about the bucking bull’s great escape.

“I said, ‘why?,’ and she said, ‘you’ve got Hard Ball,’ and I said, ‘oh, is that bad or good or what,” Thomson said.

Hard Ball has forced the president of the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo to take a hard look at security measures.

The Washington-based bull broke out of a gate and ran into a parking lot Sunday night. A security officer tased the bull, but it didn’t work. Two wranglers managed to capture him before anyone got hurt.

“What we’ve done is, the panels that are in any way vulnerable, now, are not only pinned shut, they have chains, or either clasps or locks around them,” said Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo President Skip Wagner. “We then have, really, three series of gates that we will never allow to be open while we’re moving bulls again.”

Rodeo officials say something like this will not happen again.

“The chances of that happening again aren’t very good, but I guess if he does, we’ll have to rename him Houdini,” said Thomson.

Thomson placed fifth in the competition after he held onto Hard Ball for eight seconds.