Byrne’s been battling bulls for 12 years
Theresa Tayler/Metro Calgary
It’s hard to imagine that shin pads and knee guards would be much defence against a raging bull — but 35-year-old bullfighter Scott Byrne says every little bit of padding helps.
Byrne watched on Monday as bull rider Zeb Lanham was tossed about 30 feet in the air at the Stampede rodeo by an overzealous bull named “Wranglers Rock Star.”
“He hooked him, I don’t ever want to see that, that should have been me getting hooked,” Byrne said yesterday.
“As soon as he (Lanham) hit the ground, I knew I had to be there and we were — I’ve never seen anyone thrown that high in my 12 years of doing this.”
As one of Canada’s premier bullfighters, Byrne has been brawling with bulls across Canada for more than a decade.
“I started out riding bulls, but I was no good at it — I was terrible. I had an uncle who fought bulls professionally for 25 years and I took a course from him,” said Byrne.
He said there was just something about it that made him sure he wanted to do it, despite breaking bones, pulling muscles and getting tossed around like a rag doll by angry animals.
“It’s not a thing where I do it for the money. I do it for the camaraderie, and the cowboys to help them out. You put your body on the line for them so they can go on to ride another day,” said Byrne.
The father of two lives in Wainwright, Alta., and currently works about 25 rodeos throughout the year.
Byrne said he hopes to continue fighting bulls for a few more years.
“I don’t want to get pushed out, I want to quit while I’m on top,” said Byrne.
This year marked Byrne’s fifth appearance at the Canadian Finals Rodeo. He will be appearing throughout the Calgary Stampede.