Farmington— Cowboys gathered around the arena Saturday night to try their luck on bulls with names like Ringo, Pinwheel and John Wayne the Hurricane.

Their goal was to hold onto the bucking bull for eight seconds during the annual Buck'n Bull Bash, a two-day event that marked the start of the San Juan County Fair at the McGee Park Memorial Coliseum. It kicked off Friday and continued Saturday.

Jared Padilla wasn't sure he was going to ride in Saturday's Buck'n Bull Bash.

The 24-year-old bull rider participated in the bash Friday. Padilla said when the bull left the chute on Friday night, his foot got caught and he was dragged for 20 seconds before the bull finally fell on him, leaving him with a swollen calf.

But Padilla said his father, who rode bulls for about 13 years, didn't raise him to be a "wussy," so on Saturday he got on the back of Billy the Kid.

A few seconds into the ride, Padilla was on the ground and Billy the Kid turned on him, chasing him until the bull finally cornered him against the edge of the arena. Padilla escaped the only way he could -- launching himself off of Billy the Kid's horns about 10 feet straight up into the air and grabbing hold of the railing separating him from the audience in the stands. He held onto that railing until Billy the Kid left.

In about the four years that he has been riding, Padilla said he has never had anything like that happen.

"You got to ride your bull," he said. "You might as well please the crowd."

His mother, Barbara Padilla, was watching nearby.

"I've never seen anything like it," she said.

From her vantage point, she had a very limited view, but she saw the bull going after her son.

"All I could think of was the bull was going to stick his side," she said.

Ryan McConnel prepares himself before riding a bull during the New Country Auto’s Bunk n’ Bull Bash & Mini Bull Riding event Saturday at the
Ryan McConnel prepares himself before riding a bull during the New Country Auto's Bunk n' Bull Bash & Mini Bull Riding event Saturday at the Memorial Coliseum during the San Juan County Fair at McGee Park Fairgrounds. McConnel is a 2005 graduate of Bloomfield High School and is a member of the Professional Bull Rider Tour. (Jon Austria/The Daily Times)

Jared Padilla said being on a bull is like riding a hurricane, and he plans to continue doing it "as long as the good Lord lets me."

Other bull riders had better luck.

Jacob Spencer, a Bloomfield High School junior, was one of only a couple of riders to stay on his bull at least eight seconds. Spencer started riding bulls when he was about 6 years old. Then, he was a roper and some of his rodeo friends encouraged him to try bull riding. About five years later, Spencer announced he would stop roping and focus on his bull riding.

The move has paid off for Spencer, who has made more than $10,000 this year alone.

"I'm trying to make this a profession," Spencer said.

Hannah Grover covers news, arts and religion for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and hgrover@daily-times.com. Follow her @hmgrover on Twitter.