How I Became an Involuntary Rodeo Clown

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Years ago, I used to be the deputy event coordinator for this large weekend fundraiser that benefited the L.A. County Sheriff's Dept. - a rodeo of all things, where cops actually competed in rodeo activities for charity purposes.

Among my privileges was going inside of the ring to photograph these competitors in action. It was a large outdoor pen, and was literally constructed of old telephone poles. I stayed close to the edge, of course, but was still inside.

I'd been photographing calf roping, broncos, etc., and now it was time for bull-riding.

I heard the announcer call out the officer's name and the bull he was riding, named "Lucifer" (yes, his real name). Lucifer was all black and looked like some ancient mythological beast. He was enormous, weighed over one ton, and was considered the most aggressive bull in the entire pen, I later found out. The only thing that was missing was fire breathing through his nostrils.

So, out comes officer so-and-so and barely even three seconds later up goes officer so-and-so. I've never seen a human body get flung that way, just like a rag doll. Fortunately, he was okay and pulled to safety.

Suddenly, Lucifer slowly turned his head and gazed at me. That was my cue to politely exit the ring. He stood there, snorted, and eyeballed me and slowly started to walk in my direction. As I went to step over the telephone pole, my belt buckle got caught on one of its nails. I was stuck, straddling the pole, unable to move an inch. And it was caught, I mean, really caught. Lucifer focused in on me and turned his body in a charging direction, looking straight at me and slowly started to trot in my direction. I literally had seconds to exit this ring.

It would take me too long to unbuckle and remove the belt. I had a mere few seconds to do something before being gored and trampled by an over-one-ton angry beast. His trot soon turned into a gallop and he started charging. Not even the rodeo clown could divert his attention. I was a marked man.

It was one of those moments. I paused and stared Lucifer dead on, right in the eyes. Time seemed to slow. Out of the sheer necessity of the moment, I pierced into his soul, somehow, and landed this attention of "Bull, you're going to stop, whether you like it or not!" And all of a sudden, Lucifer stopped, dead in his tracks, no more than ten feet away. He froze there, not budging, while I undid the belt and took it off and stepped over outside of the pen. Lucifer seemed stunned, having no clue what made him suddenly just stop. I didn't either, honestly. All I knew was that somehow, I managed to stop a one-ton and utterly aggressive bull in his tracks by tapping into some latent ability.

The crowd was shocked. So was I. They cheered and I just raised my hand, my heart beating a mile per minute in my chest.

Lucifer then got distracted by the rodeo clown and was herded back into the pen.

I quietly went over to a booth, had a cold one and pondered what just happened in those few seconds where time froze solid.

It was the power of intention.


Emanuel Simonian