3 Behind-the-Scenes Facts About the Fernie Rodeo Poker Video
Tuff Hedeman’s Championship Bull Riding tour returns to the El Paso County Coliseum this Saturday, February 4th.
A few years ago, three employees of KLAQ, KSII, and ESPN 600 (all Townsquare Media radio stations in El Paso) participated in a game of “rodeo poker."
In rodeo poker, contestants sit around a table in the middle of the arena. Actually playing poker is not a requirement. Then, a rampaging bull is let out of the chute.
Somehow, the bull KNOWS to immediately go and annihilate the poker table, along with anyone unlucky or stupid enough to be sitting there.
There’s a video out there of our employees (unlucky AND stupid) playing rodeo poker. The three co-workers were Cesar from KISS-FM, Brandon “Ice Cream” Cohn from 600 ESPN, and Fernando Cuevas from the Buzz Adams Morning Show.
The “Fernie Plays Rodeo Poker” video is famous now…but there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes info that has never been told before. I’ll share some of the backstories but, first, here’s the famous video.
1.) FERNIE WAS LEGIT TERRIFIED FOR HOURS BEFORE THE EVENT
Fernie and I were “backstage” at the rodeo for at least three hours to get ready for this. I had never seen Fernando like this before. He was so afraid he was trembling. All the color had run out of his face. And, this went on for hours.
For whatever reason, our rodeo poker stunt was scheduled almost at the end. Also, nobody could tell us exactly when we were going on.
All night long Fernie, stricken with panic had to watch every bull ride. He had to watch as several riders were brought out on stretchers to the ambulances that were mandatorily on hand at the County Coliseum.
Also, we were standing right next to the chute where the bulls come out of. I don’t know what gets these bulls in such an agitated, furious state. I never saw any cattle prods or, really, mistreatment of any kind.
But, we were standing about six feet away from one very pissed-off bull after another. This went on all night, with Fernie looking sicker, and paler, with each ride.
2.) THE ACTUAL PRIZE WAS ALMOST NOTHING
If you strain your ears, you can hear the PA announcer say what the winner would get. Two-hundred dollars! That seems really low, especially when you watch some of the other rodeo poker videos on Youtube.
I’ve heard that rodeo poker still exists but that Tuff doesn’t have it in his events anymore.
I mean, getting volunteers from the audience in the ring with an extremely angry, 1,800-pound animal sounds like a liability nightmare. Take a look at THIS mayhem from a different event:
I wonder what the pot is when they do “Bull Bowling”.
3.) NOBODY SAW FERNIE AFTERWARDS
There are so many things that make the Fernie Rodeo Poker video so memorable. The fact that Fernando IMMEDIATELY runs away. His terrified, shrill shriek. The fact that his shriek coincides perfectly with the music on the PA!
One thing you don’t see in the video is that Fernie was nowhere to be found after the stunt.
Obviously, he didn’t win the $200. In fact, NONE of our guys did. At the last minute, they brought in a “ringer”. I suspect it was one of the bull riders who had the night off because he was wearing one of the padded rodeo vests.
Also, he seemed unnaturally calm in the face of impending bovine-related doom.
The last you see of Fernie in the video is him climbing out of the ring and flat-out sprinting up the stadium steps of the Coliseum.
I like to imagine that there was a Fernie-shaped hole in the wall of the Coliseum, like something out of a Roadrunner cartoon.
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