Just over a month ago, the Professional Bull Riders Tour made a stop at the Covelli Centre in Youngstown. Not being real skilled with the finer points of this sport, I went with hopes of landing a few good photos and maybe learning something. Both things happened and then some. Don’t get me wrong, I would rather watch the Penguins or Cavs on a Saturday night in April, but gained respect for the people who risk their lives when they mount these bulls to see how long they can hang on.
Before the event started, I was chatting with Walt Vrabel who works security for many events at the center. Vrabel informed me that he knew one of the young men who would compete, Adam Geteman. Vrabel had Geteman as a high school student at Jackson Milton. He sung the praises of Geteman and how polite and well-mannered he was. My ignorance would have me believing that I would be the outsider, the outcast in the eyes of a bunch of Southern drawl-speaking folks who abused the English language every chance they got. I was as wrong as could be. Geteman was a very pleasant individual and vivid competitor. I asked him questions, things he said had never been asked by anyone before, and he responded humbly and honestly. Bull riding may not be your thing, but to see inside the angled drape of an Amish household would fascinate readers too. Here is what Geteman had to say:
Paneech: Adam, tell me how you get involved with something like this.
Geteman: It is something I have always wanted to try. A buddy of mine that I met out line dancing said he did it. So I went and trained with him, and the next week, I went through and did it. He broke his arm and has not done it since, and I have been doing it ever since.
Paneech: Do you travel all year with this group, or is it a certain amount of time, like a season?
Geteman: It’s pretty much all year around, every weekend. Personally, I only participate in the events that take place in Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania. It’s nice doing this so close to home, I have a ton of family and friends who came to see me.
Paneech: Explain the scoring and the system, I have no idea what you are trying to accomplish other than being on a bull for as long as you can.
Geteman: The scoring is based on two parts. Half is how you ride, and the other half is the bull. The bull is scored on how fast it turns in circles and how high he jumps and kicks. Riders get scored on posture and how well you control the bull. You get one ride, and then the Top 10 get put back through for a championship round. If you win, you get money. Some places hold a series, and if you win that you can earn a belt buckle. Everyone is after the buckle.
Paneech: How long can you see yourself doing something like this?
Geteman: I’m getting married in June, so I will try to stick with it for as long as I can. It started out as just an adrenaline rush, and being an adrenaline junkie, I am bent on getting better. The longer you do this the better it gets.
Paneech: Have you become friends with the other riders?
Geteman: Oh yeah, you see a lot of the same faces every weekend. Before you know it, you are going out to the bars with them and hanging out. I will be 24 in a week and have been doing this for three years, so I have grown up around some of these guys. We watch together and talk about our rides and the bulls.
Paneech: Tell me about injuries. What have you taken, what’s the worst you have seen someone else go through?
Geteman: I have been lucky, for me the worst thing I have gotten was a few scrapes and cuts. I have seen a bunch of people break bones. Unfortunately, I even saw one kid break his neck.
Paneech: Give me the percentage of people who compete that also chew snuff.
Geteman: (laughs) I don’t think I know anybody who doesn’t chew here. I chew Beech Nut right now. It’s a mixed batch, but most of the guys chew Copenhagen. That seems to be the cowboy thing, I gave it up for Lent, so I am using the pouch stuff for now. Going back to chewing is like falling in love all over again and my fiance got used to me not chewing, so I am trying to ease her back into it.