8 QUESTIONS FOR LARRY PETERSON
FOUNDER OF WILD THING RODEO
By Fowler Roberts
Q. Larry, why in the world would anyone ride a bull?
A. It’s like any extreme sport. Why does anyone jump out of an airplane? Why would anyone climb a cliff? I can’t imagine climbing those cliffs. Bull riding is the extreme sport. Even the guys who do all that other extreme stuff – they won’t get on bulls.
Q. If I paid $200 and signed up for Wild Thing, what kind of chance do you think I would have to last 8 seconds?
A. (Immediately) Zero. (pause) Negative zero really. Especially at Wild Thing with our caliber of bulls.
Q. So how about if it’s not me but Le Bron James?
A. Le Bron’s an athlete, but I’ve seen them do this. It doesn’t work to bring athletes from other sports to ride bulls. No. (emphatically) He wouldn’t last much further than you – maybe one jump more.
Q. So . . . if I sign up to be a sponsor can I give you a list of my enemies to recruit to be part of Cowboy Poker?
A. Yeah, we’ll get them in that chair. (laughs) A couple of our Cowboy Pokers have been just insane.
Q. What is your wildest memory from Wild Thing?
A. A couple of years ago the heavens opened up and lighting shut down our lights. After we got the lights back, we had about 16 inches of rain in the stadium. It was crazy because those guys had to push a wave of water just to get the gates open. When they came out, guys were landing and going out of sight under the water.
Q. How many bones have you broken riding bulls?
A. Uncountable, pretty much. Nose three times. Eight concussions. Seven or eight bones in my arm. My hands. Knee surgery. My coccyx. My ankle. Fingers. I broke ribs a bunch of times. I cracked my skull around my eye socket.
Q. So are you epoxied together? How do you hold yourself together?
A. They just fix you and you grow back together and drink lots of milk.
Q. What’s something most people don’t know about you?
A. One time I drew a really rank bull and my mouth was dry. I asked Skip Hansen if he had any gum. He said, “I’ve got one piece.” I said, “Give me half of it.” He tore it in half and I put half in my mouth. That was the first time that Skip and I travelled together. I got 2nd and he got 4th and we both got a big paycheck. So from then on one of us would pull out one stick of gum and split it. Skip died eight years ago and to this day I only chew a half stick of gum.