Thurman Munford has been pulling the “Mechanical Bull” now for decades back before pulling was popular, overdone, and just another sport. Back then it was THE SPORT. It has sponsors. It had buy-in from the community. It had legendary pullers. It still does. Thurman is one such individual.
Out of the sport for a while Thurman started coming back in more relevant way in late 2013. I remember it like it was yesterday, Thurman came out at the Southern Showdown and drop seemingly ever weight he had on the ground. Later on in the class he would put 7 foot on the competition. In 2014, he re-assembled the Mechanical Bull into what it is today. It is now a tough running tractor that loves to gallop. The Bull is built for speed. It pulls like his driver lives, hard and fast!
In 2015, Thurman started out like a bull in a china shop, breaking tracks into pieces. The other pullers followed suit and began taking a win here, and there. You could say the pivotal moment in the season came in Madison in July. Thurman put the bull on course to win the event. But he was on the line.
Jump into 2016, and Thurman knows now what it takes every time out. So you would imagine that starting the season in his home town with a win, would be the stuff of legend. Clayton Sweeney took Todd Tanner??™s “Old Grandma” down the track in a good old curvy line of 350 feet, but if you drew a line, it would only come in at 299.30. Chad Nesselrodt was next and slightly less with a run of 298.31. Orange, Virginia native would pull 312.20 putting 13 feet on the other two pullers. Billy Rice would add his respectable distance of 302.99. And then came the Mechanical Bull.
Hard and Fast, Thurman let the Bull get some speed built up for the first 50 feet or so and then "BAM!", he was off and running. The tractor had a few hops along the way, but in the end he measured up at 315.04. The man from Zuni, just about 20 minutes away, took his hometown pull. Ask any puller, they want to win their hometown pull. The biggest thing about that 315 is, after it was laid down, the crowd went crazy! They knew, dare I say, willed their hometown hero to the finish and received the desired outcome.
Legends are not just born; they are made, forged in the fire of determination and sheer will.
Pictures from the event.