Omaha Firefighter Turns Bull Rider

Tom Bartek has been preparing for the ride of his life. He's an Omaha Firefighter by day. Saturday night he'll be in full cowboy gear.

Bartek plans to drop down on a two-thousand pound brahma bull, grip the thick rope rightly wrapped around the animals shoulders with one hand, and hold on for 8 seconds when the bull wildly whirls and twirls away from the chute.


"I'm raising money for Muscular Dystrophy," he explained in an interview with Channel 6 News.

It's actually unfinished business for Bartek who attempted the same stunt last year and was slammed to the ground by a bull named "Slam."

"I lasted about three seconds and even though I was dazed, everybody said run so I did. The clown did his job and gave me time to make it to safety."

It was a painful experience but Bartek said, "It's probably the biggest rush I've ever had."

A trip to the doctor later revealed that his forearm was aching because the ulna was fractured.

Now he's back for a second chance and much better prepared. Bartek attended a bull riding camp in Pueblo Colorado and had a chance to climb on a bull 6 times to practice his newly learned skills.

Another drill is to ride a horse bareback with no hands. Core muscles are needed for balance much like riding a bull.

"My wife insisted that I attend the school. Not many wives would put up with a husband who decides to ride a bull at age 38 and then again at age 39."

Compared to last year, Bartek is much more comfortable with the challenge that lies ahead.

" I've got a lot of heart and a lot of try so hopefully that will translate into something positive. If nothing else it's for a good cause."

Last year he raised $3000 for Muscular Dystrophy and he hopes to surpass that amount this year.

To donate write a check payable to MDA BULL-A-THON. Checks can be mailed to Omaha Firefighters Credit Union, 4630 S. 143rd St. Omaha, NE 68137.

Donations can also be made online at:
A link is included with this story.

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