No bulls–t: Professional Bull Riders to compete on the flight deck of the USS Lexington

No bulls--t: Professional Bull Riders to compete on the flight deck of the USS Lexington


Cowboys, 2,000-pound bovines, an aircraft carrier, Texas.

Fires long-barreled revolvers into the air while screaming maniacally.

After a successful inaugural event in November 2020, the Professional Bull Riders are heading back to Corpus Christi, Texas, and onto the 910-foot flight deck of the famed Essex-class aircraft carrier USS Lexington (CV-16).

The second annual Professional Bull Riders Air Force Reserve Cowboys for a Cause, which is not a mouthful at all, kicks off Sept. 4 and will feature eight teams, comprising three bull-riders apiece, competing in a multiple-round tournament. Points are presumably scored for remaining on the bull and avoiding impalement. All good things.

Transforming the flight deck of the Blue Ghost into a bullriding arena reportedly necessitated the transport of more than 750,000 pounds of steel and dirt, as well as 15 miles-worth of electrical cable and wiring to facilitate a successful broadcast.

Footage from last year’s event can be seen below.

The Lexington, which was first called the USS Cabot, was renamed in 1942 to honor the previous iteration (CV-2) that sunk during the May 1942 Battle of the Coral Sea. More than 200 sailors were killed in that fight, which marked the first ever carrier versus carrier battle — one that dealt the imperial forces of Emperor Hirohito their first major blow of World War II.

Nearby U.S. ships rescued 2,770 of the carrier’s remaining sailors, and once evacuated, the Lexington was torpedoed by the USS Phelps to prevent her capture. She was found in 2018 sitting nearly 2 miles beneath the surface by an expedition crew led by the late-Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

The Corpus Christi-based Lexington, which could once carry up to 110 aircraft, accomplished over 493,000 arrested landings before being decommissioned in 1991 and moved the following year to its current location to become a museum ship.

J.D. Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.



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About the Author

Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.