High School students will have the opportunity to slide onto a bigger challenge when they compete at an event that for decades has traditionally played it safe when it comes to animal aggression.
The Maxwell High School Rodeo has added bull riding to the lineup this year to allow students the opportunity to experience an American rodeo tradition at its best.
The event has already been tied to the rodeo’s official theme, “Keep the Bulls mean and the Cars clean in 2017.”
Although school officials expect the six bulls contracted for the rodeo to buck, kick, spin, and twist a little differently than the cows primarily used for the rodeo in the past, they don’t expect students to be in any greater danger this year than before.
“From what I understand, (the bulls) are not that aggressive,” said trustee Tom Charter, who attended the Rodeo meeting earlier in the week. “They’ve been tamed-down a bit or are has-beens.”
The Maxwell Rodeo, on May 20, also includes a parade, car show, horseshow, steer roping, sheep riding for the younger kids, and all the other longtime events.
A special open bull-riding exhibition, which is a sponsored event, has also been added.
However, it is the addition of bucking bulls that has Maxwell Unified officials crossing their T’s and dotting their I’s when it comes to having enough insurance coverage and adult supervision at this year’s rodeo, as well as evaluating their facility, including arena fencing and holding pens, to make sure no bull escapes to areas occupied by spectators.
Business manager Danielle Wilson said adult supervisors will also have to make sure rodeo and parade contestants follow all established rules and guidelines.
The school has a $5 million insurance policy to cover any claims, she said, but any blatant disregard of the rules resulting in injury would require the district to incur a $50,000 deductible.
“It makes people’s jobs harder, but we have to abide by it,” Wilson said.
Following the rules means no one under 21 can drive a vehicle pulling a float; all floats carrying students under 18 must have 48 inch rail or handrail; and no student may ride in the back of a pickup.
During the rodeo, the school will have arena directors and chute directors who will be responsible for activities being done in a safe manner, officials said.
The stock company providing the bulls will also have adults to assist with the event.
Additional insurance coverage to add bull riding to the rodeo will be sponsored by a Maxwell citizen, officials said. ■