Enjoy The Rodeo!! And Watch Out For The Rampaging Bulls In The Parking Lot!! (UPDATED With Real Cowboy Goodness)

In a desperate attempt to attract attention -- or, perhaps, due to a mistake -- the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo added its own version of the Running of the Bulls yesterday.

As the official release from the rodeo puts it, "a bucking bull was able to get through two gates due to a gate malfunction on the first and during the closing of the second gate."

Rodeo spokeswoman Sarah Poole tells Hair Balls that the bull was named Hard Ball, which we guess is indicative of the big, clanging brass ones it takes to try to escape to the wild through a parking lot and across 610.

Two rodeo employees were treated for "minor injuries" and law enforcement officials "herded the bull away from people, to the employee parking lot, where a wrangler roped and contained the bull," the rodeo statement said.

Poole says Hard Ball was a "re-ride bull" who did not take part in that day's competition. Re-ride bulls are kept in reserve in case judges feel a cowboy's initial ride "did not perform at the level of other bulls in the competition and, therefore, did not give the rider a fair chance to earn a high score."

Leroy Shafer, head honcho of the rodeo, said the escape was a first. "In my 37 years here, we've never had an animal get through two gates and outside a building. We are reviewing security precautions and procedures to ensure that this will never happen again," he said.

Updated: The latest info from Poole pretty much speaks for itself:

The wrangler who roped the bull last night is "Bronc Boehnlein." When this broke out, he borrowed a horse and rope from a calf roper who was in the area and joined the pickup men who were trying to corral the bull.

He lives in Sacramento and has left Houston to return today to help his wife (a barrel racer) who is competing in a rodeo tonight and tomorrow.

He will not be on the grounds today or available to the media.

His first name really is "Bronc."

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Richard Connelly
Contact: Richard Connelly