'If the PBR doesn't get your fire going, your wood is wet'. In 2004 journalist Josh Peter spent ten months trailing the jingling spurs, WWF-style pyrotechnics, colourful costumes and blaring rock music of the Professional Bull Riders tour from Jacksonville, Florida to the final two-stage showdown in Las Vegas, Nevada. The season started like any other: 800 cowboys risking torn muscles and busted bones as they battle for the chance to grab the million-dollar end-of-year prize. At each event success is measured in seconds - the eight most dangerous in sport. Climb on top of your bull and cling on till the buzzer and you register a score. Most riders fail. For these bulls, loaded into their chutes like missiles, are cross-bred monsters, one-ton beasts chosen for their ability to buck, whirl, rear and drop. Against the backdrop of an ever-changing leader board, Peter weaves the dramatic story of the 29-stop tour with those of the tour's personalities: the top riders and minor-league wannabes, the wives, fans, groupies, breeders, agents and, of course, the monster bulls themselves.
"Fried Twinkies, Buckle Bunnies and Bull Riders" is a richly detailed and highly entertaining introduction to the fascinating subculture that surrounds this high-octane and testosterone-fuelled all-American sport.
Josh Peter is a graduate of Northwestern University and award winning journalist. He lives in New Orleans.