World Champion visits Meridian
By By Jeff Byrd/staff writer
August 17, 2002
It's called rodeo and one of it's biggest stars was in Meridian Friday. Tuff Hedeman, four-time World Champion bull rider, greeted staff and patients at Rush Foundation Hospital.
Hedeman's visits have become a yearly occurance here in Meridian. That's because these days, instead of taking on ornery bulls, he is promoting the bull-riding game throughout the country. This week, he is the special guest of Harper-Morgan Rodeo being held at the Harper-Morgan Arena in Lauderdale.
The rodeo continues through Saturday night.
Donnie Smith, human resources director at Rush, says the hospital looks forward every year to Hedeman's visit.
Huffman, who lives in Morgan's Mill, Tex., says he started getting on cows at an early age.
Hedeman eventually was good enough to earn a college rodeo scholarship. He later turned pro in 1983. His pro career spanned 15 years with highlights being three PRCA titles which is the national sanctioning body for the Harper-Morgan rodeo. He also won one PBR (Profesional Bull Riders) title.
Bull riding is considered the most dangerous sport in the world. Hedeman can attest to that. He has had two major neck surgeries and one really bad encounter with a bull named Bodacious – one of the toughest bulls ever.
But it was his seocnd neck injury that finally forced Hedeman to hang up the spurs. He now spends his time producing bull riding events with the PBR.
We have 28 televised events. I also to event promotion and I do work for four western wear companies," said the nicely western attired Hedeman.
The basic problem with bull riding is that the riders are just 190-220-pound men. A bull can come in from 1,800 pounds to nearly a ton or more.