RENO, Nev. -- It's known as one of the the most dangerous sports in the world, but 40 professional bull riders from across the nation gathered at the Lawlor Events Center Saturday night to take their chances at the Professional Bull Riders Pro Tour.
For the past 17 years, AJ Hamre has made bull riding his career. Growing up on a ranch in Chico, CA, Hamre currently travels every week with the professionals to endure some of the most dangerous eight seconds of their lives.
"It's just our choice of adrenaline just like the guys in X-Games or another bungee jumper or sky diver like that, so just fits into the cowboy lifestyle," said the 32-year-old bull rider.
You won't find any barrel chasing or calf roping at this event. It's strictly bull riding and the first rule here is stay alive.
"Confidence is everything. You got to want to be there worse than anywhere else in the world," said Hamre.
Riders get to choose their bulls upon competition, but understand they're still at the mercy of their animal.
"The bulls really do enjoy what they do and how much they love this just like how much race horses like to run. We treat these animals with the utmost respect," he said.
Hamre also says that it's a bull's natural instinct to buck and kick in play; professional bull riding just helps showcase it.
"All we essentially do is put a flank strap on them which is just a little tickle."
Atmosphere means everything to them, which is why they came back to reno after a four-year hiatus.
"Reno has a very healthy following for this kind of event. The fans are crazy excited about," Tracie Smith, PBR marketing director, said.
"It's the wild west out here still and I'm looking forward to riding in front of them," said Hamre.
While there has to be a winner, for Hamre, the competition is never about going against each other.
"We're all good friends, we all talk about the bulls, we want to see each other do as best they can, because when you see someone else do good, you want to do good."