Rodeo is taking root in the heart of Europe, thanks to a breeders family

8 seconds. It’s an elusive moment in life, but there are times when 8 seconds last forever – for example, on the back of an 800-kilogram bull. Anyone who has ever tried to ride such a large, wild behemoth and experienced this incomparable feeling knows what it is like when the outside world ceases to exist and time becomes an incomprehensible concept.

Bull rodeo, which is a nationally-televised event with a high-prize money in the USA, is still in its infancy in Hungary, but every year it captivates more and more people, thanks to an enthusiastic Hungarian family.

A stars and stripes flag is waving on the caravan, and a western rider is sitting next to it. The heat is unbearable, straw bales stare up at the sky piled up next to the dusty road, girls in checkered shirts and cowboy hats pulled over their eyes walking around the ranch. The riders in their full battle regalia, some of them make a cross, mutter a quick prayer. And after looking around, they acknowledge with satisfaction that the arena is slowly filling up. The clowns are painted, the gate openers, the judges and the announcer are in place, the first bull is already in the stall waiting for the dance to finally begin.

If you think we’re somewhere in Texas, you’re wrong. The venue is the Hell on Hooves Ranch in Monorierdő, Pest county, Hungary, where the second round of this year’s bull rodeo competition – organized by the Hungarian Rodeo Association – is currently taking place. The association has been organizing national and international bull rodeo competitions in Hungary and Central Europe for years.

In 2022 two shows were held, one in Nagytarcsa, and the other in Monorierdő. I first arrived 5 years ago with a good deal of doubt, but with enthusiasm and childlike curiosity. The father of Hungarian rodeo and the president of the Hungarian Rodeo Association, József Nádori (alias Tyuxi) hosted me at the estate. He and his family have been engaged in livestock breeding for more than twenty-five years: they started with cattle, and then came the Quarter Horse.

The rodeo was kind of a childhood dream for Tyuxi: Spaghetti Western provided the impetus, and the dream became a reality more than 10 years ago. The organization got off to a rocky start however, because while the sport has a huge tradition in the United States, Tyuxi and his family had to gather information from the internet and newspaper articles…

Tyuxi proudly tells me that the number of spectators increases by 20 percent every year. He is the happiest about the fact that the show is spreading by word of mouth and the popularity of the sport is growing. Today, the number of riders increased to about a hundred. And to the skeptics, he can only say one thing: come and see that they are indeed capable of organizing high-quality competitions, here, in the heart of Europe – no need to travel to Texas.

Credits: István Fekete
IG @istvanakosfekete