How mechanical bulls are made – Snorting nostrils, flashing eyes and heaps of kick and spin, the mechanical bulls we rent are the closest thing to the real McCoy.
Real rodeo bull riders numerous times comment on how close these bulls are to the real thing.
Hold on to your hat and saddle up, because this isn’t just your average mechanical bull ride. For Texas Sumo’s mechanical bulls, we chose the best manufacturer in the business. Our supplier launched its bucking bull ride manufacturing facility in 1977.
When Mechanical Bulls Were Invented
The simulated bull ride dates back to the 1930s. Bull riders trained on these devices. Then its appeal to every man’s sense of challenge and competition saw it showing up first in county fairs, then events, and eventually in bars. But before we get to the bar, we need to build the bull.
Ride ‘Em Cowboy – The First Known Mechanical Bull
The Bertrand Island Amusement Park in New Jersey featured “Ride ‘Em Cowboy” as the first known mechanical bull in the 1930s. Others credit Sherwood Cryer, co-owner of Gilley’s, as the inventor of the mechanical bull. His bull was the one used in the movie, Urban Cowboy.
How Mechanical Bulls Are Made: Welding & Steel
It starts in the welding shop, as the raw material comes in.
The steel is cut and welded to form the sub-frame of the ride.
Right now we’re going to put together the bottom of the frame.
From the bottom motor that creates the spin, to the top motor which gives you that kick and makes you fall off.
Starting at the bottom, imported from Italy, the main gearbox is mounted to the frame.
This is a .75 kilowatt motor.
Next, a driveshaft allows electrical power to be transferred from the lower gearbox to the head unit above.
All the wiring goes through for the power supply, for the buck motor.
Have a question about renting one of our mechanical bulls? Call (214) 357-7077
How Our Mechanical Bulls Work
The center shaft is an original design that allows the two motors to work in tandem. Built by hand, the spin motor is what gives the clockwise and counter-clockwise spin of the bull.
We install our center section…
The spin base sits on top of the frame, connected with a chain to the gearbox below, completing the spin motor.
Which allows the spin to be created at the top.
We’ve got this bull spinning, but what’s a bull without its buck?
It starts by attaching the pitch and roll arms to the second motor. Now the buck motor is attached to the spin motor, making this ride as close to the real thing as an urban cowboy would want. For dramatic effect, the buck motor also powers flashing eyes, steaming nostrils, and the kill-switch.
They’re all fitted with an automatic stop sensor that ensures that the instant that the rider falls off, the machine will stop instantly.
But safety hasn’t compromised the ride. Our mechanical bull manufacturer is known for the most realistic ride you can get.
We’ve had real rodeo riders numerous times comment on they like that it gives something close to the real thing.
The motion may be real, but right now it doesn’t look much like a bull.
We now move on to the fiberglass body
With a gel coat and three layers of fiberglass, the body takes up to 12 hours to cure.
Pop, hence why we call it popping.
Authentic Mechanical Bulls Made with Real Cow Hides
Now the body needs a coat. In this case, it’s a real hide.
Now there’s some skill to this because you’re starting with a cured skin from a real cow.
Make sure I got all most of my air bubbles out of here. I got to drill the hole out to accept the rope. Got to keep our riders as safe as possible.
The body ready, this bull just needs the head. Our bulls use a patented foam material called Sofolex. This material is very soft but incredibly durable to stand up to the rigors of the mechanical bull rental industry.
We put this fiberglass insert, and this is what gave us the head itself, it’s straight.
We pour in the expandable foam, which will fill in all the little gaps and everywhere.
After 18 hours of drying, the head and body come together.
We can now install the head and electronics, including the sensor.
Before they can head them up and move them out, this bull needs a corral.
Every mechanical bull ride that we make needs an inflatable cushion. We manufacture all our inflatable cushions in-house.
I’m going to hand-paint the fence onto it. I also have to draw the grain on it and mark out the lines.
It takes about 14 hours to put a round bed together. Okay, I’m done.
Now the ride can be sent to the next event. At the receiving end, after a short 15-minute setup, you’re ready to saddle up and buck.
The key thing is, when someone falls off one of our electrical bulls, I want them to get off with a smile and not crying.