An Important Training Device
When I was a kid I built a bucking barrel in my back yard. I didn’t know what I was doing and it was a rough looking piece of equipment with one post in the front and two in the back. I had to dig a 3 foot pit at the bottom because it kept hitting the ground. It didn’t really buck that well but I rode that thing everyday. I even offered my sister and niece $20 if they could buck me off so that I could have someone buck it for me. The point is that I knew that I needed something to help me train with everyday; I needed a practice device.
When I was older, I purchased my first bucking device called a Mighty Bucky. My friends and I wore that thing out! In fact, we had to buy another one after a year. It was better than my old bucking barrel that I built. Then I heard about Gary Leffew’s drop barrels and wanted to see how they worked. My step dad is a welder, so I asked him to build me a drop barrel. The first time I rode that drop barrel, I knew that this was the best practice device for bull riding. If you’re not familiar with a drop barrel, the barrel is positioned in front of the pivot point so that the barrel moves away from you as it goes down. It feels more like a real bull as it kicks.
Now, keep in mind that there is no practice device that will completely replace riding live bulls. However, a drop barrel will allow you to practice your technique daily in a safe environment, which is critical to progressing in this sport. It is important to do daily drills and ride practice bulls on a regular basis. One thing to keep in mind as you are training is to train the right way. You should have a professional show you the proper way to train to avoid creating bad habits. Also, occasionally take video of yourself training so that you can watch and critique yourself.
I have seen so many riders mistakenly think that they can simply ride one or two bulls a month and see the results they desire. Bull riding is a hard sport to practice because most of us can’t just go out and ride a bull everyday.
There a few different options out there for bull riding practice devices. Purchasing a drop barrel is not cheap. They range from $300 to over $3000. I will tell you about the ones that I recommend. The cheapest bull riding training device that I’ve found that is looks like it has the drop barrel motion is the EZ Buck for about $200. I have not personally used this device, but it looks like it will do the job for a decent price. They may not be available anymore. The most expensive and best option is an electric drop barrel endorsed by Gary Leffew called the Buckrite that costs about $4,000.
If you are skilled or know someone that is skilled as a welder, you can build your own drop barrel. There are a lot of different versions out there, so use your imagination. The main thing your drop barrel needs is to have the barrel positioned about 1 foot (12 inches) in front of the the pivot point. If you do build your own, I would love to see your design, please send me some pictures of your barrel.