Over the weekend, several people were hit by a bull during a ‘Cowboy Pinball’ game at the “Bull Bash” in Owensboro.

The event was held at the Sportscenter Saturday night.

Shocking video is spreading on social media, showing where at least three people were hit by a bull during the ‘Cowboy Pinball’ game.

Those in attendance have told Eyewitness News that you had to show ID and sign a waiver to participate in the game.

Kevin Hildabrand went to Bull Bash with his family. He says the first bull ran its course without incident, but the second bull hit three people. 

“When he’d come out, he hit the first individual, he was a decent sized guy. He went flying. Then he turned around and hit the other gentleman, and he went flying. I know he did two or three spins, immediately he was rushed to the side,” he recalled. Hildabrand also says he would still go to Bull Bash, but without the ‘Cowboy Pinball’ game.

“I wish they would leave that to the pros. Even the pros get hurt. I don’t think any citizen should be down there, risking their life for $100,” says Hildabrand.

Southern Extreme Bull Riding Association (SEBRA) President Chan Canter released this statement to Eyewitness News:

“As the sanctioning body, we’ve received no complaints. A video has gone viral of a fairly common rodeo and bull riding activity and we’re trying to understand what it is we’re being asked to comment on.

Our organization, the Southern Extreme Bull Riding Association, sanctions the bull riding and barrel racing components of the event. That means we have specific rules and criteria that a producer follows in regards to how those sports are run and judged. But producers or the committees that hire them, can add all sorts of activities to enhance the event. That can include vendors, amusement rides and games, mutton busting where little kids ride sheep, dance contests for young or old and some producers hold activities like cowboy poker, cowboy pin ball or wild cow milking.

People enter bull riding knowing it’s dangerous. While it is not a part of the majority of events we sanction, people enter the bull poker or cowboy pinball knowing it’s dangerous. That’s what they are at the event for, to either watch or participate in something they find thrilling, like others go to NASCAR knowing the drivers could be seriously hurt in a wreck.

Like any extreme sport, bull riding is dangerous. SEBRA and other sanctioning organizations only look after the official sports that are part of the event. Some venues choose to hold extra events like bull poker or cowboy pinball where spectators are given a chance at some prize money by engaging with a bull. We have no control over whether or not spectator participation events are included in an event but most producers choose to do children-oriented activities when they add activities to their events. You will see both at events across the country sanctioned by other associations. The goal of these games is to be the last person holding your position and that person gets the prize money. A bull is going to instinctively challenge the people in the arena. They are not required or expected to stay in their spot until they are hit by the bull. Everyone knows someone could be hit by a ball and expects this from the competitors taking part to the people watching in the stands. While we never want to see someone hurt, like other extreme sports, we work in an industry where injury is common. No one competing should be taken by surprise that a bull charges at them and no one watching should be surprised if someone gets hurt.”

SEBRA Chaplain Scott Hilgendorff released this statement:

“I’ve entered wild cow milking before. It can be wild and dangerous but I entered it knowing I could get hurt, just to be able to to say I’d done it. You sign a waiver and take your chances while the crowd laughs, cheers and roars watching all the wrecks happening as teams try to wrestle a wild cow to the ground and fill a small bottle of milk. Maybe it seems stupid to people on the outside, but some would say the same about skydiving, base jumping or swimming with sharks. There are thrill-seekers out there, there are people who live vicariously through others who take a risk and there are people sitting behind computer screens who complain about everything and never experience anything.

No one is tricked into trying these activities or unaware of the risks. I’d never do it again, but I don’t regret that I did it or tried saddle bronc riding before moving into ministry full time. It gave me some fun stories to tell and surprises people who only know me as a ‘preacher.’

I’m personally glad no one was seriously hurt and as the chaplain serving many of these competitors, I’m relieved with every weekend that goes by not requiring checking on someone in the hospital. But I know sometimes it’s going to happen.

People watching a viral video may react differently and negatively with no context, understanding or interest in the sport.

Again, we have no desire to ever see someone hurt, but when a bull flips someone in the air, whether it’s during the bull riding or cowboy pinball, this should not come as a surprise to anyone at the sport and fans have been watching activities like this for generations.”

WARNING: You may find the video of this incident disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised. The video in the player above shows where three people were hit. The video below shows the full video sent to us by someone in attendance.

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(This story was originally published on February 18, 2019)