A mechanical bull ride simulates the experience of actually riding a bucking animal, such as a horse or a bull. An electric motor powers this game and the speed can be adjusted to make the bull easier or more difficult to hold on to. The floor around the equipment needs to be padded to help prevent injury. The proper mechanical bucking machine ride has a “Quick Stop” function so the mechanical bull can be stopped for any reason.
Mechanical bulls were originally developed as training devices for rodeo riders as they remove the unpredictable nature of a live animal. Although they are sometimes still used for this purpose these days they are more commonly used as an amusement ride. They can be hired for parties and social events and stationary models are frequently seen in bars, restaurants and clubs. Special models are available that are more suitable for children as the ride is not so erratic. The very best mechanical bull is a multiride unit that has attachments that can change the theme and entertainment value of the ride.
The mat surrounding the mechanical bull makes a huge difference in the safety of the ride. The mat needs to be custom fitted and be large enough and deep enough to prevent injury if the rider is thrown off the ride…and let’s face it, that’s kind of the point of the whole thing.
The ONLY kind of mechanical bull that should be used is one that is fitted with devices that ensure participant safety. This will be the “auto stop” control, a soft foam head and a properly fitted inflatable mattress. The electronic bull is superior to the hydraulic bull because it stops immediately. This will prevent injuries caused by a rider being struck by a moving bull when thrown. Some manufacturers, even many who promote “safe” bulls still don’t offer the proper safety features.
There are a huge amount of searches online for plans to build a mechanical bull. If an individual or company is considering building a mechanical bull they should be aware of the risks and consider that the cost of lawsuits can be much higher than the cost of a professionally manufactured bull.
In 2003 a man was injured after being thrown from a bull at Porter County Fair and his family sought $50 million dollars in punitive damages from the owner of the ride. They also brought a claim for unspecified compensatory damages. Now, his injury was caused by being thrown against a steel frame that was inside the mattress. Obviously an inflatable mattress would have offered better protection. There are probably many more contributing causes, but the basic point being made is that even with the best made bull there is always a slight risk of injury. And the fact seems to be, that tripping over your own feet can bring about a lawsuit, even though the fault belongs to the participant and not the operator.
So the question to ask is this, “Is it worth the savings of trying to build a mechanical bull when there is virtually no way an insurance company will take the risk of insuring it?” This is something for people to be aware of if they are thinking about building a mechanical bull. Homemade bulls won’t qualify for insurance because of the perceived risks that exist in relation to these machines. These bulls can turn out to be very expensive indeed if an accident occurs.
Galaxy Multirides (The Rodeo Bull Company) is a company that builds mechanical bulls that are SO safe, that there is no problem whatsoever finding an insurance company to supply coverage. They can provide details of a number of reputable insurance companies who can provide coverage against any accidents that might happen. This can bring peace of mind for any company that is considering operating a mechanical bull. Not to mention the fact that a fully insured bull will open the doors to a lot more business. Although buying instead of building may result in the overall cost of the bull being greater, when potential damages are taken into account, an insured mechanical bull is always the wiser option.