Bull poker adds unusual element to game

July 29, 1999

Poker is traditionally a high-stakes gamble that takes skill, wit and a whole sack of luck. But just imagine how the game changes when you sit the same group of poker buddies in a rodeo ring, and add a Mexican fighting bull to keep things lively.

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That is essentially the gist of "bull poker," one of the events for Dave Martin's Bullride Mania Saturday night at the Washington County Ag Expo.

Three to four "gamblers" will sit on plastic patio furniture and try to stay seated while a frisky bull does its best to unseat them through nerve or force. The last one sitting wins.

Martin, owner of the rodeo company, says this is the second year his rodeo has presented bull poker, and this is the first time it has come to Washington County.


But whether or not bull poker will return to next year's Ag Expo remains uncertain. Martin says it is difficult to maintain the bulls that make bull poker interesting.

"You don't want to haul animals around to a show that are crazy. But with the bull poker, that's the sort of bulls that are crazy," Martin says.

He says the ones that are "pretty juicy" are younger bulls or a special fighting breed from Mexico or Spain. And the older the bulls get and the more they travel, the more mellow they get, making them less performance-friendly.

To see bull poker, check out Dave Martin's Bullride Mania, which will begin at 7:30 p.m. Saturday night. Admission is $10, but children 8 years old and younger are admitted free.

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