Q: How did you get into bull riding?
A: My grandpa raised beef cattle, and I always had horses, so I went to a camp to learn how to do it at age 9.
Q: Bull riding camp... like going to sports camp?
A: Exactly like a kid going to sports camp.
Q: What city and state did you go to bull riding camp at age 9?
A: Olathe, Kan.
Q: Do a lot of kids do this?
A: Fifteen kids in my class that year.
Q: Would you let your son become a bull rider?
A: Not if it was up to me. I just know what I went through. It has given me many opportunities, and I have seen the world, but it is also very dangerous. If they want to on their own then I will support them.
Q: Have you ever had a significant facial or oral injury from riding?
A: Yes, I had reconstructive surgery on my nose from getting hit by a horn. Later I got two teeth knocked out due to a horn to the side of mouth.
Q: The name of the bull that smashed your nose?
A: Red Alert.
Q: Bull that knocked out teeth?
A: Perfect Storm.
Q: Were you unable to ride for some time?
A: I rode the next weekend!
Q: Do you avoid certain food or drink the day of or just before a competition?
A: I avoid beer and all alcohol before I compete; other than that I don't eat a heavy meal within three hours of performance time.
Q: You now wear a helmet. Do you feel more secure? Do you wear a mouthguard as well?
A: I wear both and feel much more secure -- like a football player wearing shoulder pads, you want to wear the most protection without hindering your performance.
Q: Is it a "bull riding" helmet?
A: InvinciBULL Bull riding helmet with a Custom NASCAR windshield.
Q: Do you floss every day?
A: No, more like two times a week.
Q: Your favorite food?
For more by Thomas P. Connelly, D.D.S., click here.
For more on dental health, click here.