Sitting on a teeter totter, or seesaw, with a partner in an enclosed space while a charging bull is released into the area sounds like something out of a child’s nightmare. But today in Barnett Arena, it will take center stage as part of the Rodeo Rapid City entertainment.
The Bull Teeter Totter, as it’s being called, will be part of a revival effort by Sutton Rodeo as it celebrates its 40th anniversary of affiliation with the Black Hills Stock Show. Jim Sutton — a third-generation rodeo owner and organizer of Sutton Rodeo, the company staging the Rodeo Rapid City events — said the outfit hasn’t staged a teeter-totter event in at least five years.
“We’ve probably done it 40, 50 times, but it just seems like it’s different every time,” Sutton said. “We just got people asking what they’d like to see come back, and the teeter-totter is one of the things we heard a little bit.”
The teeter-totter, Sutton said, will be 22 feet long with the central base sitting four or five feet off the ground. When participants are on the teeter-totter, the person on one end will be high enough in the air to avoid the charging bull while the person on the other end will be on the ground. Once the bull changes directions and charges at the grounded person, the idea is for them to push off and propel themselves up and above the bull before it reaches them. Sutton expects that the participants will be two bullfighters, though finding someone willing to do it isn't easy.
“It’s kind of a dangerous deal,” Sutton said.
Highly entertaining, too.