'Hardball' makes official Rodeo debut

HOUSTON Rodeo Houston is an annual tradition for Bill Bradshaw, but unlike in years past, he already knew one bull's name.

"I wish I could have seen it myself," he said. "I imagine there was quite a bit of panic going on."

It was Sunday when 2,000-pound 'Hardball' made headlines by busting out of his holding cell after getting rattled by passing chuck wagon racers.

Cell phone video showed Hardball attempting to get away, injuring two employees in the process. Once he made his way into the parking lot, he was roped and taken back inside, but not before growing the legend of Hardball.

"All those bulls are pretty bad in my book, so it's hard to grade one above the other," said Bradshaw. "But I'm sure he's got a little different kick than the rest of them if he figured out a way to get out of there and escape."

So Bradshaw made sure to watch Hardball's official debut at Rodeo Houston Wednesday, wondering how rider Tyler Thomson of Canada would fare.

Though Thomson hung on, Bradshaw said he's not sure if another bull will catch his eye as much as Hardball any time soon.

"It's a great story," he said. "Good for the Rodeo."

Thomson's 8-second ride on Hardball scored him 68.5 Wednesday, along with $1,000 and bragging rights for holding onto Hardball.

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