Seriously? We usually hear this discussion off to the side of us when we’re working a trade show booth. You know, the newcomer to the business who is convinced that he can build a homemade mechanical bull and save all kinds of money. A few of these guys actually try it and if they manage even a modest replica of a bucking machine they decide they can get into the manufacturing business just as easy as can be.
It’s not quite that simple! There is a lot more to building a mechanical bull then putting together the mechanical parts. Need I mention safety? There is a lot more involved in building a mechanical riding machine (whether it be a bull, or other type of unit) than parts.
Here are just a few of the safety items that the standard “home bull builder” might forget.
1) The inflatable surround. Is it made of a certain weight durable material? How are the seams sewn. How deep is it? How large is the landing area? How does the inflatable fit over the motion base?
2) What kind of motor is required for the motion base? For the inflatable? What kind of power requirements will be required for these? Will standard outlets be sufficient?
3) Automatic shut off. This is extremely important for the bull rider’s safety.
4) What kind of materials are being used to prevent injury from the actual bull head or body?
5) What training is being offered to operators in order to prevent injury.
6) Will the machine pass certification in the different states?
7) What happens if the mechanical bull breaks during an event
8) Will the machine be insurable?
These questions can’t be ignored and to be honest, if you don’t have the correct answer for questions 1-7, it’s pretty unlikely you’ll be able to get insurance to operate your bull. The insurance companies have come a long way in helping to regulate the safety of the mechanical bull operator business. And this is a great thing for serious operators. No one wants to see an accident or serious injury no matter who the operator.
The best way to avoid this is to spend a little more and get a mechanical bull from a known manufacturer who stands by their product. The support itself is worth a fortune, not to mention the ease of getting insurance, marketing tips and repair parts available that can be shipped immediately if needed.
So, if you hear one of those conversations or see someone operating a homemade mechanical bull, you might want to seriously pay attention to what they are losing by trying to go the “easy” route.
A mechanical bull business can be a hugely profitable business that can grow larger year after year if it’s done correctly. If you’re considering buying a mechanical bull, take the time to do it right. You’ll be glad you did!