KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Standing tall with square jaws and hardened features, bull riders are the last bastion of a romanticized American frontier. But the less glorious and every bit as dangerous job goes to the bull fighter.
"Once the guy comes off his bull, whether he's thrown off or he pulls his rope and gets off and hits the ground. It's our job to step in between the bull and the cowboy to get the bulls attention to lead the bull to safety away from the cowboy," explains bull fighter Joey Hackett.
Fellow bull fighter Jason Gibbs says he is driven by a sense of purpose to do the job. "For me I think it's just more wanting to help somebody. I'm more afraid that if I don't do my job somebody is going to get hurt and that scares me more than anything."
No matter how many times they enter the ring there is always some fear. "There's fear there every time you step out there. Because it's a dangerous sport, it's a dangerous event. And it's unscripted so anything can go wrong," GIbbs says.
Both Hackett and Gibbs have a long list of injuries from the job, but Hackett says there is a very good reason he does it. "When you get in between a guy and a bull and you take the bull away from him and the guy gets up and walks away unscathed and he comes up to you after the show and he tells you thank you, you did agreat job. That's why we keep doing this sport, because of the guys right there."