Listening Assignment: The Rodeo Circuit

The Rodeo Circuit: Bucking Bulls and Broken Bones

I never cared much for the rodeo, but perhaps I’m a sucker for Texas-themed stories.

This “All Things Considered” story focused on the rodeo circuit in Houston, Texas. The feature leads with a competitor and a doctor detailing the competitor’s injuries. Nothing too philosophical of course. Then the story’s second half focuses on Casey Colletti, a rodeo competitor who still gets back on the bulls despite a series of injuries. The most telling sentence is this: “Colletti, 26, might compete into his early 30s if he’s lucky.” Brutal.

The story really showed how much rodeo competitors look past the pain in an especially brutal competition that is very much a cultural institution in Texas. The producer does a fairly good job of incorporating the sound of medical treatment and the rodeo into the story. But the story also shows the life-long hidden cost of the eight-second ride and the determination of the competitors to ignore the damage they are doing to themselves.

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